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City Council Tackles Packed Agenda

From rezoning and special permits to intergovernmental agreements and two charter amendments, Peachtree Corners city leaders had a full plate at its Tuesday night meeting.

The City Council didn't slow down Tuesday night after Monday night's big announcement that the City would enter into an agreement to purchase the 20+ acres across from the Forum.

City leaders spent the evening on matters that ranged from rezoning requests, ad valorem tax agreements with the county to the city's new Comprehensive Plan.

Diana Wheeler updated the Council on the Comprehensive Plan that just kicked off last month. The city's first public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 21 from 7-8:30 p.m. at City Hall.

This is an opportunity for citizens to provide their input on what they'd like to see in Peachtree Corners in the next 20 years. There's more information on the city's website along with a link to an anonymous online survey for residents to complete.

In new business the council considered amending the city's charter to reduce the required two readings to one reading. The purpose would help streamline the process said Bill Riley, the city's attorney. A referendum is not required in this case as "it doesn't change the form of government," explained Riley.

And due to the changes after the Service Delivery Strategy lawsuit was settled with Gwinnett County, cities must now enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the county for police, fire and other services. The county established "special service districts" which are used to collect tax monies to pay for those services. The Peachtree Corners charter has no provision for special service districts which requires the city's charter be amended.

"Our charter never contemplated that there would be a special service district," explained Riley. The council approved a resolution requesting State Rep. Tom Rice to introduce local legislation to allow the city to enter into Intergovernmental Agreements with the county for police and fire services. There will be no additional fees for these county services.

The Council also moved forward on an action item to establish another intergovernmental agreement with the county to collect the proceeds from the new Title Ad Valorem Tax that goes into effect March 1.

The council heard a first read to consider an Ordinance to establish an Economic Development Program which will offer incentives for job growth and new business for the city. The information was presented by Nick Masino, Senior Vice President, Economic Development & Partnership Gwinnett for the Gwinnett Chamber.

The City Council approved the rezoning request for the Peachtree Parkway Project that would add restaurant, retail and office space near the Piedmont Bank located on the corner of Peachtree Parkway and Medlock Bridge Road.

And council also approved a special use permit to allow a truck fleet maintenance facility on a business located on Amwiler road.

During the Public Comment period Mary Jean Harrison introduced herself as the new manager of the Peachtree Corners Gwinnett Library branch and invited everyone to drop by.

And Mim Harris, a Peachtree Corners resident addressed the City Council to express her disappointment over the "lack of transparency" by the city government. "The City-Lite model has been abandoned," she said and expressed her dismay that property had been purchased without a referendum vote.

"I felt like from the beginning information was not being put forth, and I'm truly disappointed," she told the Council. "I'm one very disappointed citizen, I hope you can restore my faith."

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Ali Stinson February 20, 2013 at 01:25 PM
I am greatly concerned about the proposed changes to the Charter. We were told time and again that to charnge the charter would require a voter referendum and that all the candidates supported that as the only means to make changes. Now we find that the council can change it by simply passing an ordinance or having the State legislature amend it. The council has abandoned all the principles they campaigned on. They are poised to spend millions of dollars on property, take out long term debt, and now change the charter via ordinance and legislative fiat all in the name of "doing what's best for us". At every turn they grant themselves more power and cost us more money. Their interpretation of the charter continues to expand what was supposed to be a very limited and very focused set of services and powers. Is there a councilperson on this panel willing to stick to their promises?
Rusty Taylor February 20, 2013 at 06:19 PM
I proposed that they buy the property across from the Forum and take on a developer as a partner to develop it into something that would bring in needed tax dollars. If they could build something that could be rented they could pay the debt down quick and then sell out after paying the debt off and put that money into the city coffiers. The problem with what was going into that space was the fact that it would have put a big strain onto the school system and a good school system is PARAMOUNT when you are dealing with the value of real estate.
William H. Weresch February 21, 2013 at 01:17 AM
Why is the cost of the land purchase undisclosed? What steps were taken to assure that there is no financial connection between the members of the new city government and the sellers of the land in question? Do they have any legal fiduciarty responsibility? Have we just changed the land transaction greased palms from the county commissioners to the city ones???
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew February 21, 2013 at 03:20 AM
The "lite" is fading fast, if it hasn't flickered out already... That sucking sound you hear? It aint the BOC...
Michelle L. February 21, 2013 at 04:08 AM
Zoning, Code enforcement, and Trash That was the promise. American politics as usual. Lie to get elected. Spend money they don't have and tell us we are too stupid to understand a contract, and that we just need trust them because they know better what's good for us. Business as usual in Gwinnett County. Is this really what all those who voted "yes" wanted. Well you got it.
Tina Russo February 21, 2013 at 04:23 AM
I attended the meeting Tuesday evening. Afterwards, Mayor Mason thanked Mary Jean Harrision, the new manager of the Peachtree Corners Library for attending, but not only did he not thank Mim Harris for her contribution, he completely ignored her. I guess this is a normal reaction for politicians when being critized.
Paul J February 21, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Hope all you yes voters are happy. Article in the Gwinnett Daily Post said they don't expect taxes to rise after the acquisition. Of course they got that info from the same folks that promised us less than a half a mil in taxes to get started. Then came out the the 1 mil budget. Great going voters. You gave a bunch of homeowners association power mongers real governmental power. Now wait for the slide into high taxes! How do we undo the city??? I bet the vote would go the other way now.
Judy Putnam (Editor) February 21, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Paul, I've not read the GDP story but the Q&A which was posted on Patch on Tuesday explains how the city intends to finance the land purchase - by issuing 10-year bonds which will not affect taxes.
Deborah Parks February 21, 2013 at 03:22 PM
Are we certain the council was on firm legal footing when the agreed to issue bonds without a public referendum? This from the Georgia Municipal Association Handbook for Mayors and Council members: "Generally, the Georgia Constitution limits indebtedness to 10 percent of the assessed value of all taxable property located within a municipality. 2 This provision also states that no new debt may be incurred without the assent of a majority of the qualified voters voting on the question of whether the city should incur the debt.
Deborah Parks February 21, 2013 at 03:29 PM
MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT: There will be a special called City Council meeting held tonight at 6:00 at City Hall. The Comprehensive Meeting will follow at 7:00.
Judy Putnam (Editor) February 21, 2013 at 04:35 PM
Deborah: Rather than trying to speculate whether or not the city was on "firm legal footing" when proposing to issue bonds to pay for the property, I think you should pose that question to City Hall. I would suggest you begin with the city manager, Julian Jackson. City Hall's number is 678-691-1200.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew February 22, 2013 at 03:47 AM
Just catch the response in writing

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