It looks like Commissioner Lutz reciprocated and paid a visit to his fan club, a.k.a. the Flowery Branch City Council, this past Thursday; but they didn’t seem too pleased to see him. Unlike when the club made the trip up to Gainesville and sat quietly in the audience, Commissioner Lutz choose to speak to the council and according to reports (Report 1, Report 2, and Report 3), he didn’t seem to be received with any Christmas goodwill.
The mayor seemed to take particular offence claiming that Lutz, a former City Council member and current Commissioner, is “fighting us tooth-and-nail on everything we try and do. I think it’s sad that our citizens aren’t represented better than that.” Far be it for me to try and understand the dynamic between the Mayor and Commissioner, but it seems like even when Lutz was on the council (example, example, and example), he was against the city being in the land speculation business.
Now, it appears, the City of Flowery Branch has committed to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $325k of County Taxes and only $148k of City taxes to lay groundwork for…. something. The only real reason given for the purchase was that, “City leaders were drawn to the purchase out of concerns that piecemeal acquisition by land speculators would ensue, and any development would be contrary to the city’s existing Old Town and commercial redevelopment plan created in 2007.” Huh?
While I hate to take sides in this conflict between the Mayor and the Commissioner, it seems to me that the Commissioner did a better job explaining the issues in his two minutes than the whole council (including the mayor) provided for reasons to make the purchase in their unlimited amount of time. Nitin Nohria, Dean of the Harvard Business School, said; “When all other means of communication fail, try words.” For the sake of Flowery Branch and Hall County, I would hope that the City and Commission would start a constructive dialog. In this case, however, I would suggest that the City begin since they don’t appear to be saying anything constructive at all.