You are a hardworking taxpayer, it's your money, so you should have a say about how it is spent. This is not a new idea, and has in fact been around since the 1990s and is currently used in 1,500 communities.
Participatory budgeting gives ordinary people real power over real money. While the City of Clarkston’s annual budget is about $4.1 million, a small portion of the discretionary budget, at least $10,000 should be set aside on an annual basis to allow for the people to vote on what projects they want to fund.
As Mayor we successfully completed the first "Community Budgeting" effort, where residents came together to propose projects and vote on how to spend $10,000 of your tax money to improve the community.
- read more about participatory budgeting in other cities here - http://www.participatorybudgeting.org/about-participatory-budgeting/what-is-pb/
Take back our community from excess traffic and create a walkable and bicycle friendly city. A recent report by the Atlanta Regional Commission, shows that walkable urban and suburban areas have a huge impact on economic growth. We can grow our economy, and create more and better paying jobs here in Clarkston, while improving the air quality and health of our residents. http://www.atlantaregional.com/about-us/news-press/press-releases/new-study-walkable-urban-communities-having-huge-economic-impact-on-growth-and-development-in-metro-atlanta-and-nationwide
Much is already happening in the way of improving our Walkable Score in Clarkston. We are in the early phases of a $5 million+ streetscapes project that will transform downtown Clarkston. Read more here: http://www.visualizeclarkston.com/
We've also completed our Livable Center Initiative (LCI) 10 year transportation plan, that lays out millions in infrastructure improvements that will make Clarkston a cleaner, healthier and safer community. Read the plan here: https://clarkstonlci.wordpress.com/
We are very proud of our green spaces in Clarkston. Between Milam Park, 40 Oaks Nature Preserve, and Friendship Forest - Clarkston's green spaces offers recreation, urban agriculture and nature trails.
We will continue to enhance our recreational area at Milam Park so neighbors can enjoy tennis, soccer, dog walking, baseball, kickball and swimming throughout the year.
We are working with the Global Growers Network at 40 Oaks Nature Preserve, adjacent to Milam Park, and, just down the hill from the Clarkston Community Center, to further clear out all of the invasive kudzu, bamboo and privet, restore the creeks water flow and promote more urban agriculture in this true gem of Clarkston.
Friendship Forest has undergone a tremendous rehab in recent years, thanks to the work of Clarkston residents Vinh Glover, Martha Brown, and Councilman Warren Hadlock. This is the city’s only bird sanctuary and wildlife wetland and refuge. Friendship Forest is in the midst of a 10 year master planning effort that will further enhance the natural habitats and encourage passive recreation and birdwatching.
You can join the Friends of Friendship Forest on Facebook here - https://www.facebook.com/pages/FRIENDS-OF-FRIENDSHIP-FOREST/120956564591232
Our police work better when they get to know the residents. More time spent engaging the community builds bonds with those who serve to protect us.
Our police department is a community police force. We strive everyday to interact with business owners, neighbors and visitors to help keep our streets safe.
We are currently launching a 3 year (grant funded) Community Oriented Police Officer position that will seek to reduce violence among our youth in certain ethnic communities. This position will add more open arms for the youth in our community, and build nonviolent conflict resolution programs.
We should fund a Citizens Patrol Academy (very similar to other communities in the Atlanta area) that empowers local residents to learn more about community policing and trains them to be an organized extra set of eyes and ears out in our neighborhoods.
Finally we should seek to reduce speeding in our city by instituting a traffic lottery to reward safer driving.
Wait.. did you just say traffic lottery?? Yes, indeed. This is an innovative solution for understaffed police forces that patrol high traffic areas. Using an automated camera system and radar detector, our police can spend less time chasing down speeders and red light runners, and more time patrolling and interacting with our neighborhoods and apartment complexes. The lottery comes into play, when on a scheduled but random basis, the camera catches a driver who obeys the laws and provides a cash reward for following the rules in our city.
Watch a short video on the traffic lottery idea - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iynzHWwJXaA]
I am proud to report that the finances of the City of Clarkston have never been more sound. As a result of recent annexation efforts at the General Assembly, Clarkston has grown in size and budget, while simultaneously reducing property taxes and shoring up the rainy day fund for the future. Our current budget projections call for an 8 mil reduction in property taxes over the next 2 years.
We know that you work hard for your money, and we will hold ourselves personally and individually accountable to make sure that taxpayers money is spent in a wise and effective way.