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City Manager: Sandy Springs' Main Competition is Alpharetta

During his talk at a Sandy Springs Rotary Club luncheon, John McDonough explained that Sandy Springs and Alpharetta are quality cities that offer different benefits.

Developers say there are two places high on the list of people considering a move into metro Atlanta. According to Sandy Springs City Manager John McDonough, it’s Sandy Springs and Alpharetta.

“ from a undeveloped land standpoint that they can offer,” said McDonough. “And we have quality of life, public safety and public transportation.”

The City Manager reflected on Sandy Springs successes, since incorporation, during a luncheon with the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs, on Monday. He said, practically every week he receives a call from someone - a mayor, city council person or even a reporter from another city - asking him to explain the concept of outsourcing government services.

McDonough reviewed the recent process of selecting new contractors to Rotary Club members and guests.

Last year the city lost $5 million in revenue but because of the anticipated annual savings of $7 million from the new contracts, the city was able to invest $2 million in infrastructure, he said.

Referring to the revenue loss, McDonough said most other communities probably would’ve had to cut services. 

The City Manager brought the audience up-to-date on several road projects, including repairs to Morgan Falls Road, which the mere mention of received applause.

“The street is in terrible condition,” he said. Work will likely go out to bid next week. Improvements to the rocky road include sidewalks, streetlights and landscape installation.

The city is also close to awarding the contract for widening the Roswell Road bridge. Although most work will be done on nights and weekends, traffic will be ugly on Roswell Road and both ways on I-285, McDonough said. Widening the bridge could take a year.

If you’re wondering, the Abernathy/Johnson Ferry Road project has another 16-18 months to go.

Northridge Road at Ga. 400 is scheduled for a $7 million improvement. That project may not be under way until 2013.

McDonough acknowledge that the city needs to improve transportation.

“We’ve invested heavily in that,” he said. “Our focus has been on intersection improvements, traffic management, stabilization, timing and synchronization.”

A big problem is infrastructure. There is not enough infrastructure for the number of vehicles on the road, he said.

A luncheon attendee asked the status of a decision on Gwinnett Tech in North Fulton. Sandy Springs is competing with Alpharetta and other cities for a local campus.

McDonough was uncertain of who made the short list and said a decision could be three to six months away.

David Davis July 22, 2011 at 11:12 PM
Our biggest competition isn't Alpharetta but ourselves. Sandy Springs is uniquely positioned to become one of the areas most desirable places to live and do business. We have great homes and neighborhoods. We have the best police and fire protection in the Atlanta area and good public schools that are trending the right direction toward great. For the most part, the experiment in privatization is working well and reportedly residents are pleased with the roads, parks and sidewalks and other services. The fly in the ointment unfortunately may be the tendency of politicians to want to build monuments to government - city halls, government complexes, technical colleges - over the objections and at the expense of the quality of life of their constituents. For example, it is incomprehensible to many who wanted to break away from Fulton County's iron fist that Sandy Springs leaders would one day actually advocate displacing a tax generating, 40 year business or my personal favorite, the Waffle House, in order to build a big government edifice, but that is apparently what some are proposing. Sandy Springs was supposed to be a city that valued the private sector and responsive, transparent government. We can be a great city if we hew to those founding principles, scale back these large capital projects and place government buildings that are necessary on the least valuable land rather than the most valuable.

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