It came as no surprise that Councilman Steve Broadbent would reverse his position of road widening of Jones Bridge Rd. Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker is expected to Veto this agenda item, this Monday night 12/10/18.
As Mayor Bodker's staunch supporter and loyal block vote, Mr. Broadbent changed his opinion and vote to mirror Mayor Bodker. And we must now conclude that another of the Council Members have "Flip-flopped" as well. Will it be Council Member Zaprowski or Council member Lin? Or both?
The will of the residents of Johns Creek was to seek more alternatives for Jones Bridge Road besides widening to four lanes. City Council approved seeking additional alternatives as well, voting 5-2 to do so.
Both Bodker and Broadbent are in favor of moving forward with widening a road that has face steep opposition from area homeowners and subdivisions. Previously, City Council Members had been told that they would have the Final Word on what projects were approved and implemented in Johns Creek.
Prior to TSPLOST passing in the Georgia Legislature, residents of Johns Creek were not seeking a 17 million dollar a year tax increase for roads for a five year period. We continue to ask ourselves who initiated the pursuit of TSPLOST in the first place. Considering the efforts put forth by the Mayor of Johns Creek, we can only assume that he was one of those who sought additional tax revenues any way he could get his hands on them, without having to say that he voted for or supported a tax increase.
The Georgia Gang, a group of people that gather weekly to discuss political issues, gives all the credit to Bodker, who was there at midnight to work behind the scenes to get the bill passed. The funny thing is I cannot recall the City Council of Johns Creek asking him to pursue this. I cannot recall residents of Johns Creek making public statements at Council Meetings asking him to pursue this. By using his mayoral connections, Bodker exploited and pursued what he wanted-more tax revenue: potentially $ 87 million dollars in tax increases from his constituents to spend on transportation projects. A tax you passed upon yourself and not at the hands of elected officials, as they would like for you to believe.
But it doesn't stop there, That's only the beginning. After informing the City Council that TSPLOST would not likely move forward for a vote if the Johns Creek City Council did not vote to approve it, there was a U-Turn. From one point of view to the other, Bodker flipped and told the Council we must participate, or the residents of Johns Creek would be taxed but get nothing in return. What did he say? We had the "proverbial gun" to our head.
It gets better still when a hastily prepared list was presented to City Council by Public Works to vote on included projects that Bodker has been pursuing for several years. There was little if any time for residents to review and dissect the complicated, multi-tied project list. And, after all, residents still felt that the City Council would have the final word. But they were misled. Here is not only the City Council but the entire City of Johns Creek being misled on this issue.
Bodker stated vehemently :
"Council Member Zaprowski, just so you understand these projects are budgets. The reality is not one of them will move forward until this Council approves the concept AND plan."---Mayor Mike Bodker
Today, Bodker states that these were NOT just budgets and that this City Council must pursue them exactly as stated or the City could be sued. We must ask why would a Mayor with so many years of experience mislead not only the residents of Johns Creek but those sitting beside him on the City Council? Seeking alternatives is something that should be done in every case. The hastily prepared project list has many projects unpopular and unneeded.
And we must ask ourselves how do we know when Bodker is actually telling us something that is factually correct? Why aren't the members of this City Council furious at the continuously misleading statements that Bodker has told?
The icing on this delicious treat we are being given is that this Mayor actually stated that because sales taxes are a regressive tax, Johns Creek would be a net beneficiary of this sales tax. While it might be true that based on the overall income the sales tax might take less of a percentage of total income, sales tax is NOT an income tax. Sales taxes are based on what you spend. Someone with a background in accounting should clearly know this.
Rest assured, a high-income city like Johns Creek spends more on taxable items than lower-income cities. And remember food and other necessities are tax-free. Johns Creek residents are a loser in the proposition, rest assured.
At some point, this City Council will realize that Mayor Mike Bodker will do whatever he can to get his way. It's been made quite clear that whatever needs to be said to get something past the Council will be said. And unfortunately, too many have followed his lead on these issues.
From working with the State Legislature to the crafting of the project list to telling the Council and Public that they would have the final word, Mayor Mike Bodker has been the key. Are we now to believe that all of those efforts somehow accidentally painted us into a corner in such a way that we must transform Johns Creek into an overly paved City the majority simply do not want?
Who are the losers in all of this? The residents of course.
Seeking alternatives for each project is the only way to be sure we are doing the best thing for our community. Ignoring alternatives is just wrong.
What's Bodker's argument? That you, the residents approved the list when you voted for the TSPLOST tax. But you did not see those projects listed on the ballot, did you? Nor did you see the projects of every other City in Fulton County did you? Yet that is what Bodker claims you were voting for. And if you thought that the City Council would have the final say, as I am many others did, Bodker now says that you are wrong.
Yet he is the one who told us that in the first place. After the TSPLOST passed, the narrative changed. Voters were now stated to have approved the TSPLOST projects. As a voter, were you informed that you were voting to approve all the projects not only in your community but in all of Fulton County? Of course not.
How can anyone have confidence in a City Government when these are the types of things happening? At what point does the City Council say enough, Mayor Bodker?
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