JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – A second familiar face has stepped up to run for one of the vacant Johns Creek City Council seats. Nancy Reinecke, who ran for council against Karen Richardson (third candidate Cori Davenport won), has announced she will seek the Post 6 seat vacated by the resignation of Bev Miller.
Steve Broadbent, who also has run for council in the past, announced last week he will run for Post 4 vacated by Ivan Figueroa.
Reinecke, who presents herself as a fiscal conservative, said there are at least four immediate issues she would ask the City Council to address if elected:
• Prepare a general budget for the upcoming year that reflects citizens’ priorities;
• Prepare an infrastructure maintenance plan that defines needs, schedules and funding;
• Correct and improve the Johns Creek City Charter and Ethics Ordinance;
• Improve how the council interacts with the city manager and staff.
“The first thing I will do when elected is to visit with the mayor, each councilmember and senior members of city staff to discuss [budget] challenges, and any others that they see, to establish a common understanding and basis for taking appropriate action” Reinecke said.
“I will carefully study the annual budget of Johns Creek to verify that funds are allocated consistently with citizens’ priorities and identify opportunities to free up funds that could be used for meeting other pressing needs,” she said.
Reinecke also said it is important to implement multi-year budget forecasts that capture commitments to spending in future years. She will insist on using existing road and other infrastructure condition studies (such as for sidewalks and trails) to implement a sustainable infrastructure maintenance plan “that integrates needs, schedules and funding sources in a fully thought-out manner.”
“Any repair or construction project should include funding to maintain it. That is why our roads have deteriorated so. They were never properly maintained,” she said.
Reinecke also wants to address lessons learned over the past seven years concerning how the city functions.
“I propose starting from where the City Charter Commission left off making needed changes in a process that includes extensive community participation,” she said. “In addition, I would like to improve the quality and completeness of the City Council work session packets to support better decision-making.”
The city does a poor job of communicating the thought processes that go into council’s decisions. Often there is no discussion at council meetings because council has already “discussed the issues” in work sessions.
That leaves residents in the dark unless they have attended work sessions on a regular basis. Even then, there is little discussion even at work sessions, Reinecke said.
Her longer-term priorities for the city include protecting the character of Johns Creek and improving parks and green space.
“I would like to foster business without destroying the character of Johns Creek, which is what attracted residents and businesses to the area in the first place,” she said. “Two-thirds of total city revenues are already being collected from commercial sources, and as we have seen, during an economic downturn, a lot of city revenues dependent on business go away.”
While only 20 percent of the tax base is commercial, the rest being residential, more than 65 percent of the revenue comes from franchise fees, permits, licenses, sales tax as well as commercial property tax.
“Traffic congestion and over-development can discourage business too. I agree with Mayor Bodker that we need to focus on attracting high-end office business to Johns Creek,” she said.
Another area Reinecke said needs improvement is the city’s parkland deficit. Johns Creek has and is continuing to experience considerable development. What has lagged is the priority given to parks and green space.
“We need to act before the land is all consumed,” she said. “We were deficient in park space when the city was formed, and there is a lot of pressure on our existing parks to meet demand.
“I would pursue opportunities to enhance the Rogers Bridge Trail, and to work with Fulton County to create park-like spaces and trails connecting the Spruill Library to the Autrey Mill Nature Preserve,” she said.
Zoning is another area Reinecke wants to improve. The city now has considerable experience working with its zoning process and she would like to work with the community to investigate how this process can be made better.
“It may be helpful to include a city budget impact analysis on police, fire, road and sidewalk maintenance, storm sewers, lighting and other costs in zoning evaluation reports. I support sound zoning decisions that respect the citizens of Johns Creek and don’t worsen our traffic and safety issues,” she said.
Reinecke would support revisiting the city’s transportation plan to ensure better integration with the land use plan.
The Nancy Reinecke file
Family: Husband Royce of 37 years and 2 daughters
Education: Bachelor’s degree in food science and nutrition, University of Massachusetts; Master’s degree in medical science, Emory University.
Public service: Fulton County poll manager, 8 years; Johns Creek substitute teacher