JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – For the first time in nearly a year, the Johns Creek City Council met July 28 with a full quorum of seven members as freshly minted Councilmen Steve Broadbent and Bob Gray took their seats.
The two businessmen ran low-key elections and were also low-key about taking office. But that does not mean the pair are shy about the issues. They said they were ready to take on the issues facing the city.
“I think Bob and I bring unique elements – with some differences – to the council,” said Broadbent.
Asked what was first up on their plate, neither said he had a “burning” issue to address. Rather, it was getting down to the issues that they faced all through the election.
“Clearly I want to settle in a bit first. But the issues haven’t changed,” Broadbent said.
He ticked off fiscal management on a conservative basis; managing resources without raising taxes; a street repair program funded properly; maintaining public safety; and new parkland.
Gray agreed the issues are traffic, parkland and “uncontrolled” development.
“Those will be the issues occupying my attention as I come on the board,” Gray said.
Broadbent said constituents made clear what topped their list.
“No. 1 is traffic. That is what I hear most from people. Folks are complaining now more than 12 months ago,” Broadbent said.
Gray put a high priority on that as well. But the true solution is larger than Johns Creek alone, he said.
“I think there is a role for council to play in advocating for an issue that is above and beyond the immediate scope of the council, and traffic is one aspect of that,” Gray said.
“We can’t solve that independently of the neighboring communities,” he said. “That is unrealistic. We are going to have to cooperate with North Fulton and to a degree Forsyth.”
The city center is a major issue before the city, and both councilmen see that as something requiring more study to “get it right.” But both support the project to create more “buzz” in the city’s downtown area.
Broadbent wants to know more about the consultants who will lead the process. But he considers it a big opportunity for the city to make gains in both the economic development and quality of life sectors.
Parkland is another issue before the city that needs attention sooner than later, they said.
“Rogers Bridge is a project I’ve supported from the very beginning,” said Broadbent. “I think it is a great addition to the city. Obviously, it has to be tempered by the cost.”
As it stands, there are no costs associated yet, Broadbent said.
Gray has parkland rated high as a city need.
“To support the quality of life the city has enjoyed over the last 20 years that I have been here, more parkland is necessary to support at least the level of recreation programs that we’ve enjoyed,” Gray said. “We have essentially the same three or four parks we had 20 years ago. But the population is probably triple or quadruple what it was 20 years ago.”
The city needs more capacity. To acquire that land will require a sense of urgency, Gray said.
Both councilmen advocate conservative spending. To that end, Gray said he would like to have a “clear view” of the city’s long-term financial model coupled with long-term capital program.
“I think we need a comprehensive list of those capital needs for the city beyond that for a citywide road resurfacing program,” Gray said.