“2013 stands to be the biggest year for the city of Johns Creek in public projects,” he said. “Not only does this impact our everyday life here, but it has a real impact on the city’s curb appeal.”
This year, the public works department has planned several intersection improvement and capacity improvement projects on Jones Bridge Road and on Old Alabama Road. Projects are also planned for improvements at Newtown Park and Shakerag Park.
The improved “curb appeal” may create good impressions and help attract new companies to the city, Bodker said. While the city approved 351 licenses in 2012 for new commercial and home businesses, the mayor said Johns Creek needs to continue to attract more business.
Right now residents contribute 79 percent to the city’s tax digest, while commercial businesses only contribute 21 percent, he said.
“Without progress on this issue, we’re going to limit growth,” Bodker said.
He asked those attending the State of the City program to invest in Johns Creek Advantage, an organization established to bring economic development to the city. He also asked residents to contact their legislative representatives and encourage them to move forward with the charter commission’s recommendations for changes to Johns Creek’s charter that could help out the city financially.
Language in the charter currently restricts Johns Creek from changing the property tax rate or going after bonds to fund public works projects unless a majority of all eligible voters in the city approve. The city council and the charter commission have suggested amending the wording in the charter so that the majority of voters who actually participate in the election would be the deciding factor.
Bodker said there is a need for about $38 million worth of resurfacing projects in the city. With a $45 million budget, all of those projects cannot be completed without significantly cutting city services, he said.
“Right now, we’re at a point where we have not gotten to the neighborhoods,” Bodker explained. “It’s one of the things that I honestly lose sleep about. I don’t like the fact that there are neighborhoods that are 20 years old that have never been repaved.”
Changes to the charter have to be passed by state legislature.