Today Alpharetta-Milton Patch posts answers to questions posed to the two Alpharetta City Council candidates who face off against each other for the Post 1 seat. Council members serve four-year terms.
The answers have been unedited, other than to remove extra line spaces.
Not sure where to cast your vote? Check out the GA Secretary of State's My Voter Page.
1. Why are you running for office?
Simply put, I have been blessed with a wonderful wife and three awesome children, of which I give my wife the vast amount of credit for. My business career as a Partner with an international tax consulting and government services firm provides more evidence of my ability to lead and make a positive contribution to my community. My main reason for running for office, I want to continue contributing to our community’s advancement. I bring a wealth of financial management and accounting experience to the table that are critical skills to successfully govern. I also believe that my previous ten years on the Alpharetta City Council presents a record of significant accomplishments for our City that I feel proud to have contributed towards. I also want to see projects I had a large hand in become successful.
Voters deserve experienced leadership, combined with purpose and direction. My vision will be based on some key principles. I will require our City to remain a financially secured community, one which proactively invests in the safety of our residents and visitors, and one which offers a quality of life unmatched by any community in the country, all without increasing our tax burden.
2. What makes you different from your opponent? I'd like to know your differences, not what's "wrong" with your opponent.
Voters have a clear choice between my opponent and I in this election. Our credentials are starkly different. I bring a wealth of financial and accounting experience to offer up to Alpharetta once again, along with my credentials in public safety from being a fire fighter for 9 years. I am a father of three children and own a home in Alpharetta for almost 19 years. My opponent is a designer and does possess designer skills that I don’t have, and I will honestly say, are important from an arts standpoint in our community. He also is not a home owner, nor has he experienced the work of raising a family in today’s environment.
I think Donald is a good person and thank him for his service to our City. I am not running against my opponent, rather I am offering up my credentials that I believe can contribute greatly to the City’s advancement in the coming four years.
This election is critical because the decisions the Council makes over the next four years will set the course for Alpharetta's future. With the upcoming challenges on the horizon, which range from; protecting our home values, to ensuring your safety, to strengthening Alpharetta's position as an economic leader in the region; requires that your next Council person possess the credentials to help the city successfully chart its direction.
Here is my credentials:
• Managing Partner, Atlanta Office, Ryan LLC, an International Tax Consulting Firm
• Executive Vice President and Vice Chairman, Ryan Government Services LLC, a Firm Providing Cost Recovery Services to International, Federal, State and Local Government Enterprises
• Certified State and Local Tax Practitioner
• Board Member, Georgia China Alliance
• Served on the Alpharetta City Council for ten years (2001-2011)
• Alpharetta Recreation and Parks Board Commissioner – 1999-2001
• President and founding member of the Alpharetta High School Foundation
• Former Board Member – Ed Isakson/Alpharetta YMCA
• Former Advisory Board member of the Reinhardt College Police Academy
Patch: Both of you have held a City Council seat. What is your single biggest success as a council member?
Clearly, it is the management of our financial position and the work I was intimately involved in that achieved a Triple A bond rating for our City. A sound financial management model within any organization is key to allowing us the ability to bring other successes to the table. I worked my first two years as a City Councilman working on implementing transparency and improved controls on every tax dollar we were responsible for. The City, as a result, received a Triple A bond rating during my tenure and has received multiple financial management awards since that time.
Good sound financial policies, keeping our debt load significantly below our debt capacity and managing every tax dollar to obtain the biggest bang for our buck, is the fiscally conservative way I carried myself for 10 years as a City Councilman.
Our sound financial management and transparency to the taxpayers, has allowed us the ability to build the new City Center, complete Westside Parkway, attract Avalon and other key corporate investors to our City, allowed us to continually expand our Greenway System, provide for multi-million dollar annual investments in transportation improvements, and keep our Public Safety Department one of the most trained, most equipped and proactive forces around the country; without increasing the tax burden to our citizens. All this was accomplished and voted on during my tenure in office.
This only happens with a keen focus on managing our finances, and I plan to remain vigilent on our finances over the course of the next four years.
4. What do you think is the most important thing for a council member to remember about holding this elected position?
That your represent all people and that you strive to leave the City of Alpharetta a better place then when you arrived. Stewardship is a paramount principle I live by. I live by this principle in all that I do in life; whether it be with family, my career, my church, and contributing to my community.
5. What issues are important for Alpharetta at this time?
This election is critical because the decisions the Council makes over the next four years will impact the City for the next 40 years and set the course for Alpharetta's future. With the upcoming challenges on the horizon, which range from; protecting our home values, to ensuring our safety, to strengthening Alpharetta's position as an economic leader in the region; requires that your next Council person possess the credentials to help the city successfully chart its direction.
Key issues on the horizon that the next City Council will be dealing with are:
· Realizing the cost-effective completion of the new City Center
· Maintaining Alpharetta as a Family-Friendly Community, which will require maintaining and applying our existing Comprehensive Land Use Plan and Unified Development Code, to protect excessive density from creeping into our City and stopping from being over-burdened by apartment units that exceed our City acceptable ratios to single-family homes. This is of paramount importance, since many developers are looking to increase density and apartment units, claiming an economic necessity. We need to keep Alpharetta’s interests first and foremost and know that any development decisions we make will have a lasting impact on the environment of our City.
· Keeping our City safe from increasing crime potential by keeping Public Safety funding a priority.
· Realizing the successful completion of Avalon, which includes managing the increase in traffic flow proactively and associated public safety coverage required.
· We will be faced with the study currently being discussed by MARTA and GDOT to potentially extend the heavy rail service up the GA400 corridor to Alpharetta. Our City must be an active participant in this study to insure we drive the decision that is in the best interests of our City.
· We must deal with existing public transportation needs in the short-term
· We must continue to work with bordering Cities to coordinate road projects to help mitigate traffic on a regional basis; and,
· We will be reviewing the proposal for a Convention Center/Hotel that will take on great interests.
These are some key issues the next City Council will be faced with in the coming four years, that require vigilance and decisions that will reflect what we want our City to become.
Patch: What has been your biggest weakness as a council member? What did you do to overcome this?
My biggest weakness as a City Councilman was probably when I let my passion to do things right get the best of me. Although I have always worked hard on respecting all opinions, I have worked on becoming an even better listener. This has allowed my constituents to understand my positions clearly and know the basis of my decisions on their behalf.
• Married to Ann Marie for 25+ years. Father of Jenna (24), Douglas (22) and Matthew (20)
Doug and Family own a home and lived in Alpharetta for over 18 years.