Category Archives: City Hall

Can You Trust The Johns Creek Herald?

The Johns Creek Post also asked the Johns Creek Herald a few questions.  Here is their perspective on their job.  Answers were supplied by the editor Hatcher Hurd.

1) It frequently appears you have a very close and cozy relationship with certain elected officials in Johns Creek and other municipalities. Do you feel an obligation disclose this to the readers?

The question implies that we do not give fair or balanced information to our readers because of our relationships with elected officials. Of course we know the city’s elected officials well and regularly communicate with them – that’s been Appen Media’s job since 1990, and with the city since it was incorporated. Public officials are representatives of the people who elected them, so our ability to accurately communicate the opinions and priorities of those in office it is an asset to the Johns Creek community.

2) What criteria is used when the Johns Creek Herald decides to praise one council member and chide another publicly?

We report facts. We don’t take sides in our news coverage. If we do pen an opinion it is placed on our opinion pages and labeled as such with the author’s name clearly identified.

3) Does the Mayor automatically receive free space for opinion letters, such as who he is supporting, in elections? (Ex: John Flores endorsement)

No, but we do offer city and government officials a courtesy guest column on rare occasions if it is for the public good

4) The City is on track to pay over $25k for advertising to the Appen this year, in addition to $182k in past years. With such a lucrative relationship with the city, do you feel an obligation to disclose this to the readers?

We are always happy to be transparent with government spending in our publications. It is also part of the city’s public records. Our records show the City of Johns Creek spent $18,977.50 in legal advertising as required under the law in 2015 and $18,148.75 in 2016. For display advertising (things like festivals and special events) they spent $6,628.10 in 2015 and $18,952.10 in 2016. Both numbers represent <1% of Johns Creek Herald’s revenue.

5) How does the revenue the JCH receives from Johns Creek affect the criticism that may or may not be made regarding important issues?

It has zero affect on our coverage. We strive to be fair and balanced and write to inform the public.

6) I regularly pull the FOIA records logs and have yet to see your name requesting documents in the past 2 years. How and why do you circumvent the proper method for acquiring documents with the city?

As it pertains to the city, a FOIA request is not the “proper method”. Most of the time we simply ask for the information we seek from the department responsible for the information. If there were ever a case that we were not given information that we feel the public has a right to, we would certainly make a FOIA request.

7) What research does the JCH do in matters such as the Traffic Lights, to affirm that indeed they are the best money can buy? Where is the documentation to support such statements?

Most purchases of equipment are done through state contracts. Georgia, like many states, submits for bid a whole range of equipment such as police cars and a range of other products that will allow it to get the best price.
The state ensures that the equipment meets its required specifications. Vendors typically allow counties and cities to participate on the state contract. Obviously, the state can negotiate a far better price than an individual city or county. The state also ensures the products are of good quality. It would be beyond our means to test and evaluate all of the equipment and materials the city buys. And rather pointless also.

8) Does the City of Johns Creek get to review stories before publication and offer suggestions or modifications?

No. The only times we would offer any kind of a review or partial review would be for a complicated issue like an annual budget to verify line items and numbers are accurately labeled and correct.

City Council Work Session & Hearing Agendas: Monday 4/27

April 27, 2015
Taylor Farms Conference Room
12000 Findley Road, Suite 400
5:00 p.m.

As set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the City of Johns Creek will assist citizens with special needs given proper notice (7 working days) to participate in any open meetings of the City of Johns Creek. Please contact the City Clerk’s Office via telephone (678-512-3212) or email at should you need assistance.

1. City Manager
a. Review of the Bid Proposal for the Strategic Economic Development Plan
b. Update on Newtown Park Ampitheatre Rental Policy and Fees
c. Update on City Elections
2. Public Works
a. Review of Point of Traffic Congestion – City/State Streets
b. Discussion on Becoming a Georgia Purple Heart City
3. Fire
a. Review Insurance Services (ISO) Classification
4. Legal
a. Discussion on Privitazation of Streets at the Estates of Deer Chase


April 27, 2015
City Council Chambers
12000 Findley Road, Suite 300
7:00 p.m.

As set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the City of Johns Creek will assist citizens with special needs given proper notice (7 working days) to participate in any open meetings of the City of Johns Creek. Please contact the City Clerk’s Office via telephone (678-512-3212) or email at should you need assistance.

1. Consideration of April 13, 2015 Work Session Summary and Council Meeting Minutes
1. ACTION ITEM- Consideration of Privileged Resolution recognizing Eagle Scout Gerrick Young Huang of Troop 3143
2. ACTION ITEM- Consideration of Privileged Resolution Recognizing Fire Department Field Apparatus Operator Richard “Vern” Hadaway on his Retirement
3. R2015-04-11-Consideration to approve amended Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Pelham for Inmate Housing
1. Privileged Resolution for Eagle Scout Gerrick Huang- Mayor Mike Bodker
2. Recognition of FAO Richard “Vern” Hadaway
3. Presentation of New Officers – Chief Ed Densmore
4. Recognition of Canine Vest Donations- Chief Ed Densmore
1. R2015-03-08-Consideration of Resolution approving Newtown Amphitheater Rental Policy and Fees
1. O2015-04-13- PUBLIC HEARING AND Consideration of an Ordinance to Amend the City of Johns Creek Zoning Map regarding RZ-15-004-Assisted Living Facility-C-1 Conditional to C-1 Conditional 10565,10575, and 10595 Medlock Bridge Road, 10600 Block of Parsons Road Change zoning conditions to allow for the construction of an assisted living facility totaling 107,265 Square feet

City Council delays Election over Cost & Candidate Quality

At the Jan 12th City Council meeting, Bob Gray & Steve Broadbent expressed concern over the cost of the Election and Candidate quality.

uncle_sam_recruiter1They felt the 10 weeks since the announcement of Brad Raffensperger & Kelly Stewart’s resignation was not enough time to find qualified citizens to serve.

Councilman Gray was concerned if sufficient candidates would run given the cost & notice.

Councilman Broadbent also expressed the election is an expensive proposition and wants to give candidates more time to prepare for an election.

Councilman Gray stated he felt confident in the decision making abilities of the 5 council people.

Councilman Lenny Zaprowski was the sole Councilperson advocating a March Election, basing his decision on the Charter, stating the City is to be Governed by 6 Councilpersons & a Mayor.

Councilman Zaprowski also expressed delaying the election is ‘Politicizing’ it and the Council should not wait.

The Council voted to hold the Election in November, with Zaprowski voting for a March Election.

Johns Creek has a highly educated population, yet members of Council think it will be difficult to find 2 qualified candidates among the 76,000 residents.JC educated population stats

Johns Creek’s has double the national average of Bachelor’s degrees and Graduate degrees.

USA edu population

Johns Creek is flush with cash in its reserves, currently stockpiling about $30million. According to Money Magazine, Johns Creek is the 13th highest-earning city in the United States and is commonly known as the wealthiest City in Georgia.


Is There a Price Tag for Democracy?

There has been much hullabaloo about whether the City of Johns Creek should hold a Special Election to fill the 2 seats vacated by Kelly Stewart & Brad Raffensperger who both resigned to run for the State House. vote

The City has released a quote of $200k of previous election cost & runoff. This number naturally puts off citizens for approx 5000 Votes.

The City also put out an online survey, (does not work) inquiring if they should pay & conduct a special election.

I spoke to Dwight Brower, Fulton County Election Chief for the following info.

Election Costs & Ways to Reduce it:

  • The JC cost will be significantly reduced as City of Atlanta is having a Special Election in March.
  • Contracts will be executed and Johns Creek would essentially ‘tag on’ or Cost Share for overall Election.
  • Contract Costs include Labor, mailers, ballots, testing & machine delivery & retrieval, etc.
  • The City Council could reduce the number of polling places in the vote. Currently have 19 locations and can be consolidated to 10 or so to further reduce costs. Mr. Brower further indicates this is for runoff & county level. City can change the charter to consolidate locations.
  • Each Polling location costs approximately $1750 / day.
  • The City could NOT opt-out of early voting, which is required to be 3 weeks long if done, but could utilize a City of Atlanta location or have 1 single location in Johns Creek.
  • Absentee Voting would take place and ballots be mailed 21 days before the election.

The City Council has had 2 seats empty for a significant amount of time in the past 3 years.

Reasons for a Full Council & Special Election

  • Charter states 7 for Balance of Power.
  • Mayor has Absolute Veto Power with only 4 Council Members. 5 is needed to Override a Veto.
  • Unforeseeable event (illness, accident, etc) could reduce the council to 4 or less.
  • Possibly No Budget impact if done conservatively with 10 locations, 1 EV and absentee voting.
  • City allocated & saved $50k with the recent video streaming contract. That could be utilized to fund a modest March Election.

So is a Modest, Low-Cost Election better then None?


*Updated Corrections in Blue*




Urban Design Associates Selected to Bring the City to Town

City of Johns Creek is moving forward with plans to hire the firm ‘Urban Design Associates’ to design a commercial district & downtown. The area is approximately 800 acres, including Tech Park from Abbotts Bridge Rd up to McGinnis Ferry Rd.

Elements the Commercial district is desired to compose of is:

  • City Center
  • Retail & Offices
  • Green Gathering Space
  • Mixed-Use for night & weekends


Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 11.08.23 AM


The following image is an example of their work in Seattle WA.


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The City allocated $250k in the Budget for this project proposal.



Source: City of Johns Creek

Video Streaming Approved!

Last Monday Night’s City Council marked a milestone for the new City Council by voting to approve video streaming of all City Hall Meetings, such as Work Sessions & Hearings. The Videos will be archived on the City website.

The previous City Council refused to fund this common practice of video streaming that is found in area cities & local governments around the Country.

Citizens who’ll benefit:

  • Those who work elswhere
  • Parents of small children
  • The less-abled
  • Seniors and Assisted living residents
  • Large number of Male Perimeter Church Members. Every Monday is Men’s Night & Fellowship .

Video Streaming Features:

  • Multiple Cameras for different Angles
  • Ability to Zoom in on Presentations
  • Bookmarking for Agenda items to watch specific topic
  • Work Session will have 2 Cameras for Live Streaming
  • Additional Portable Single Camera to use for Events such as the Founder’s Day Parade
  • Green Room Capable to Film Welcome Videos for Delegations, etc

The City allocated $150k in the 2015 budget and have contracted $100k for the system. Maybe they can take the $50k they saved and use it toward a special election?!


Related Post:



Founders Day Parade – Weather Cancelled

founders_dayFounders Day Parade will begin 10am Saturday, Dec 6th.

State Bridge Rd will be Close from Morton Rd to Kimball Bridge Rd.

Roadblocks will be from 8am-12pm.


Spectators will need to use other roads to get to the 1.4 mile Route.

Weather will be a comfortable 65′ to watch the Floats and Festivities. Possible rain in the morning.



Photo Source: City of Johns Creek


Meet the Candidates & Forum: State House Rep Election

 The JCCA is hosting a forum Monday, December 8, 2014 for the House of Representatives District 50.  
The special election will be on January 6, 2015 to fill the vacant seat for District 50.
The JCCA candidate forum will be for all 5 candidates so the Johns Creek voting community may meet the candidates and listen to their answers to questions.
The Candidate Forum will be held at the Thornhill Clubhouse.  Candidates will arrive by 6:30pm and we will begin questions at 7:00pm.
Please join us if you would like to hear the answers to questions posed. 
When  : Monday, December 8, 2014.  
Where : Thornhill Clubhouse
 9200 Waits Ferry Crossing
 Johns Creek, GA  30097
Agenda :     – Meet-and-greet     :   6:30 PM – 7:00 PM
                  –  Forum                  :   7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

                  –  Meet-and-greet     :  8:30 PM – 9:00 PM 

All candidates have agreed to attend:
Christine Austin
Brad Raffensperger
Royce Reinecke
Kelly Stewart
Paul Troop

Source: JCCA

Logo Cost $82k. Roll Out Total $232k+


The City contracted North Star Destination Strategies in 2013 for $82,000

The Full Roll Out of implementing will cost an additional $150k.

These costs cover City Hall Interior Signage, Car/Truck Decals, Shirts, & Public Works Signage Phase 1: Park entrance & Overhead Street Signs.

Not included in these calculations is the Public Works Wayfinder Signage and Gateway Signs. Those costs could easily add up to an additional $100k or more depending on materials, size and such. This would require City Council approval to design and construct.

North Star Logo contract Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 9.12.16 AM

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 9.12.29 AM Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 9.12.39 AM Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 9.12.59 AM

Source: City of Johns Creek