Below are answers to some questions that i’ve been asked as I worked up towards announcing my candidacy. If you have any addition questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d be more than happy to answer you.
Where do you see Doraville headed in the next 5-10 years?
I believe that Doraville is currently lagging behind it’s neighboring cities, such as Brookhaven, Chamblee, Norcross, Peachtree Corners, and others. I would like to see the same economic growth that is happening to these cities also happen in Doraville. That growth won’t come about accidentally. It takes strong and experienced leadership within Doraville to help make this city a place where developers want to work. Furthermore, there are numerous large, undeveloped pieces of property within Doraville which are ripe for redevelopment. Mistakes have been made in the past and these properties are sitting vacant while major growth happens all around us. The past two years has seen unprecedented interest in redevelopment in Doraville. I believe that the current council, myself included, as well as our new staff are greatly responsible for the improved impression that our city has on developers.
I see Doraville’s schools falling behind as well. While we do have a new elementary school on the edge of our city, many of the students that attend area not Doraville residents. Most of our schools are need multiple large repairs (roofs, a/c, mold remediation, etc.) and many are utilizing old trailers to house students for classes. As the father of a four year old boy, I find this unacceptable. Although the city council of Doraville has no direct control over what the Dekalb County School Board does with it’s budget, I believe that city leaders can be a voice for their citizens.
Why run for City Council?
Being a city council member is no walk in the park. You are under constant public scrutiny and while people are quick to bash any mistakes made, they are slow to offer praise. As a 10+ year resident of Doraville and a two-year council member, I believe that my skill set as an architect can, and has, been put to use helping guide the city. I’m not just a Doraville home-owner, I’m also a small business owner, husband, and father here in the Northwoods neighborhood… so I have a lot at stake within the community. Working these past two years on council has been challenging, exciting, educational, and, I believe, helpful to our community. I’d like to continue working with my fellow council members to help guide Doraville over the next four years.
What are your qualifications?
As a practicing architect, I have a unique set of skills that lend itself well to helping the city. Architects act as mediators between clients and builders, helping to guide projects to fruition. We work hand-in-hand with property owners, real-estate agents, builders, and end-user clients to create projects which benefit all parties involved in the project. These skills that I have acquired over the past 20 years are perfect for working with the other city council members, the mayor and the city staff. I have two degrees from Georgia Tech, a Bachelors of Science in Architecture and a Masters of Architecture. I am also an Eagle Scout, having earned this honor in my hometown of Randolph, New Jersey. The past two years on council has taught me a great many things and with those two years under my belt, the next four years will be even more effective, efficient, and prosperous for the city.
What are your thoughts on the mill rate and homestead exemption?
I was recently asked by a resident about my thoughts on our tax rates here in our city and I thought I’d take a moment to outline them here. Our current mill rate is 9.75 (0.0097500 mills) out of our total tax bill of 45.29 (0.045290 mills). Our current homestead exemption is set at $25,000. This means that only 21.5% of your total tax bill goes to finance the city. The rest goes to schools, the county, fire, hospitals, storm-water, and sewer. There are a few reasons that our tax rate is so high and our homestead so low, but it mostly stems from the previous recession when there were thousands of city residents paying zero (yes, zero) in city taxes, which forced a previous council to raise the mill rate and lower the homestead to make up for this large budgetary shortfall. When combined with a lack of large commercial development over the past 3-4 decades and failing infrastructure, our city needs the mill rate to stay where it is for the time being. Myself and another council member are currently working to raise the homestead exemption, which will help combat taxes for home owners. Once there has been largescale re-development in the city and new businesses can help offset the tax burden, we can look at lowering the mill rate to be more inline with neighboring cities. While the the idea of lowering the mill rate from 9.75 to 7.0 might seem appealing, this could cripple our city in both the short- and long-term. While every home owner could use the extra $100-$300 this tax drop could bring, the city could really use it as well. The current council has been using your tax dollars to pave roads, repair and improve sidewalks, revitalize our parks, re-staff our city government, woo new development and improve our city in a myriad of ways. I believe that it would be shortsighted to lower the mill rate at this time and I stand by me decision earlier this year to keep the mill rate where it is.