Back to the Future
O.k., let’s start by saying that not everything that I write gets published. Back during the Flowery Branch council race, I submitted a brilliant article called “House Divided” that talked about the camps that had been established in Sterling with the Mayor and Councilmember Richards both sporting Mary Jones and Damon Gibbs signs in their yards with Candidate Gibbs sporting a Mary Jones sign. The point being that Jones was firmly in the Miller, Gibbs, Richards camp. The Truth, however, has a mind of his own and the article found its way onto the cutting room floor.
You may remember that there was some static concerning the qualifying dates for the special election to replace Council Member Yardley. I was told that the dates were specifically set so there wouldn’t be a “second chance” election. Supposedly (pp.9), Mary Jones and Damon Gibbs committed to not run again if they were defeated. For Councilmember Gibbs a “second chance sweepstakes” never became an issue because he won; for Councilmember Jones….
Now Flowery Branch has a council without Fetterman or Swafford who appear to have been the two fiscal hawks. With the free reign, the council decided to grow senior staff. This shouldn’t be a surprise to those who remember the Mary Jones reign when the city decided to purchase a large portion of Main Street (pp.7), or to those who remember the Miller administration purchasing most of the remaining portions of Main Street with the factory purchase. However, the people of Flowery Branch should be concerned.
The Times reported that the new Finance Director for Flowery Branch will be making $66,500. I think that we can assume that benefits will push this close to $100k. That means that the top 3 salaries and benefits for City Officials (Manager, Planner, and Finance) will add up to over $350k. To put the salaries into context, let’s take a look at the property taxes from the city’s largest development, Sterling on the Lake. Let’s say that there are 700 homes in Sterling and the average home price is $275,000. With the Flowery Branch milage rate set at 2.837, the property tax from Sterling only covers 62% of the top 3 salaries.
Instead of spending money on roads, the new council lead by Councilmember Jones and Mayor Miller, decided to spend some more money on staff. It seems like the good ole days are here again.
Hugh Hall County Akston