MILTON, Ga. — Serving as intermediary between Milton and its businesses is Sarah LaDart, Milton’s economic development manager.
LaDart is responsible for the recruitment and retention of businesses within the city and ensures that Milton supports a business-friendly environment.
And if you are seeking to start or maintain a Milton business, LaDart says she is here to help.
Recently, LaDart said she facilitated a building permit for a business owner who needed to quickly secure her permit because of a seasonal inventory issue.
“Working with the business owner, Milton building officials and the city’s fire marshal, we were able to educate the business owner about what was needed and help expedite her building renovation,” LaDart said.
When a resident or business owner has an issue or the city’s ordinances do not allow the business’ plans, LaDart is responsible for vetting the issues. She said she works to ensure the city’s codes are business-friendly, if the city can find middle-ground with a business and what can be done legally while still adhering to Milton’s vision for its commercial makeup.
“My role as a business advocate and an intermediary is meant to facilitate continuous improvement,” she said. “I always tell people I’m the business complaint department for the city. When we know better we can do better.”
LaDart also recently spearheaded three special projects for Milton.
She led the charge to revise Milton’s alcohol ordinances, geared to provide businesses with another outlet to serve their customers. The Milton City Council passed the ordinance changes at its May 15 meeting (see pg. 4).
She is also working to develop a small business incubator whose aim is to bring together the entrepreneur, capital and experienced start-ups to grow Milton’s businesses. LaDart also works with the Metro Chamber to recruit entrepreneurs and companies to Metro Atlanta, which she says also has a positive impact on Milton.
A graduate of the University of Tennessee, LaDart worked with the city as a member of the Progress Partners team, the development arm of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce.
After taking off a few years to start her family, LaDart joined Milton part-time in 2014 before taking over as the economic development manager full-time in 2016.
She said working for the city is a privilege.
“[Working for Milton] means that I have a responsibility to each taxpayer to earn my position every day. I accidently told someone, ‘on my drive home this morning,’ calling Milton City Hall my home. That’s how much working for the city means to me,” she said.
It is also a privilege to work for a city management team that leads by example, she said.
“When we say we value integrity and excellence, it is pretty cool to be able to honestly say that it’s more than just a poster on our wall.”