2012-2015 ANNUAL REPORT
strategies build relationships promote the equestrian lifestyle protect & preserve open spaces provide responsible & responsive government structure economic growth
Staff spent the first two years of the 2012-2015 City of Milton Strategic Plan determining how best to implement and track the five strategies carefully crafted to reflect the collective objectives of citizens and elected officials in 2011. It was a matter of incorporating the Strategic Plan into the way we do business, and required analysis of the roles and responsibilities of each department to best understand how each task fit into the Strategic Plan. As we moved into our third year of the plan, it was apparent our Strategic Plan had become institutionalized at every level of Milton’s organization. Everything we do can be tied to one of our five strategies. The hard work accomplished in the first two years of the plan
has allowed us to refine the strategic “road map” and focus on projects to move Milton into the future. This report reflects the strides Milton has made during 2014 towards the goals articulated in the city’s first Strategic Plan. The action items are reflected in the way we do business, and in the fact that many projects cross multiple strategies. For this reason, this report will reflect what we have accomplished as a whole in 2014 rather than by individual strategy.
infrastructure welcome to milton signs
Community Development staff, with the help of city volunteers, installed two “Welcome to the City of Milton” signs in 2014. They serve to build relationships and a sense of community with residents while espousing the city’s rural brand.
occupational tax revenue
key success measure 2012
key success measure cost
milton’s first roundabout In August 2013, Baldwin Paving Company, Inc. began intersection improvements for a roundabout at Hopewell Road at Cogburn and Francis roads. The City of Milton awarded the construction contract in the amount of $786,606.
thomas byrd house The City of Milton held its first official groundbreaking ceremony in July to celebrate the renovation of the Thomas Byrd House (formally known as the Hopewell House), a Civil War-era home planned as a senior and event center. The 2.5 acre site, which contains the nearly 4,000-squarefoot, two-story home, dates back to at least the mid-1800s according to local historians. Senior Services North Fulton will occupy the home during normal business hours thanks to a 2012 agreement. When
not in use by seniors, Milton will utilize the space for city-sponsored events and pursue facility rentals for special occasions. The City of Milton pur-
chased the Thomas Bryd House from foreclosure in 2011 for $250,000 in order to save the site, which is believed to be one of the oldest in North Fulton.
bell memorial park The Bell Memorial Park expansion project groundbreaking was held in August. This ceremony marked the kick-off of the $9.4 million expansion of Bell Memorial from a 12-acre park with four baseball fields to a nearly 30-acre multi-use facility with both passive and active recreation options. The new park design will have four dedicated diamond (baseball/softball)
fields with centerfield dimensions of 180, 200, 200 and 280 feet. There will also be two rectangular fields lined for football, soccer and lacrosse. The second field can also be set up as a 200-foot, fifth diamond field. Programming between spring, summer and fall will vary the configuration of four diamonds and two rectangular fields versus
five diamonds and one rectangular field. Three input meetings were held for residents interested in the proposed Bell Memorial Park expansion project. Additionally, staff contacted representatives from 11 stakeholder groups representing sports leagues, trails enthusiasts, equestrians, local neighborhoods and more to conduct focused research.
future city hall In May, Milton’s City Council approved the issuance of a $10 million revenue bond in order to fund City Hall in historic downtown Crabapple.
longer be used to lease property taxpayers do not own - an important step to ensuring the most value for resident dollars.
The bond means Milton taxpayers will not have to levy additional taxes or fees to build the municipal complex, set to open in April 2017. In addition, city funds will no
The City Hall complex, which will be located between Crabapple Road and the existing Braeburn development, is slated to include offices, council
chambers, meeting areas for residents and a town green for expansion of special events in Crabapple. As plans for the project become available, residents will be able to view them and chart the project’s progress via the city’s Web site and several anticipated public meetings.
milton as a place to live source: icma national citizen survey
good or excellent
key success measure
2012 & 2014
good or excellent
milton as a place to retire source: icma national citizen survey 2014
broadwell road pavilion The Broadwell Road Pavilion, which began construction in October, will feature a 40foot by 52-foot open pavilion with a large stone fireplace, restrooms and storage facilities.
Milton’s plans for the property include a farmer’s market and food truck event, Christmas in Crabapple and various other special projects. The site is located at 12615 Broadwell Road.
engagement At the second annual volunteer appreciation luncheon held in March, the City of Milton honored its volunteers of the year.
The honorees included: Volunteers of the Year: Jack and Francia Lindon The husband and wife team of Jack and Francia Lindon are founding members of Milton Grows Green (MGG), starting their volunteer engagement in 2007. In the seven years since, Francia has been instrumental in the city earning the Atlanta Regional Commission’s CREATE Award and helping Milton become a National Wildlife Federation Community Habitat. She also serves as communications chairwoman and secretary for MGG, creating logos, signage, brochures and branding. Jack serves as chairman of MGG, organizing household paint and chemical collection events, providing logistics for the annual Earth Day Festival, launching the Adopt A Stream Program, and planning the yearly Rivers Alive cleanups in the fall. Parks and Recreation Volunteer of the Year: David Winsness David Winsness is the founder of EagleStix La-
crosse Club, now the second largest recreation program in the City of Milton with 225 girls. EagleStix, founded in 2011, takes athletes as young as four to the high school level in both recreation and advanced levels of play. Special Honoree: Peyton Jamison Longtime Milton volunteer Peyton Jamison currently serves on Planning Commission, Better Together and is the president of the non-profit Crabapple Community Association (CCA). In addition to his regular volunteer duties with the city, Jamison was instrumental in launching the revamped Crabapple Fest
in 2013 due to the city’s partnership with CCA. Board and Committee Members of the Year One member of each of the city’s volunteer boards or committees was nominated by the staff liaison as representative of the year. These honorees included: Better Together: Teri Harrison Planning Commission: Paul Moore Design Review Board: Marty Littleton Board of Zoning Appeals: Gary Willis Historic Preservation Commission: Travis Allen Disability Awareness Committee: Tass Welch
better together Milton’s citizen volunteer committee, Better Together, began in 2011 with the goal of building a more welcoming community in Milton where residents of all abilities have the opportunity to participate. The group meets twice-monthly at Bethwell Community Center to plan projects and activities for the community under the direction of Wayne Boston. These volunteers are known as Community Builders. In 2014, Better Together initiated a new program – monthly mailings of welcome packages to new Milton residents. The package includes a welcoming letter from Mayor Lockwood and a copy of the latest Newcomer’s Guide created by the Innovation and Engagement Department. Each new family is encouraged to contact a Community Builder with questions or to request additional information about the City of Milton.
The group hosted the first of many Business Connection events in 2014. They have worked with various local businesses to introduce their particular product or service to the Milton-area residents. Four of these events have been held since October. “Living Room Conversa-
tion” meetings are organized and hosted by Better Together, as well. These events have included such guest speakers as Shaun Verma, MD Junior; Kimberly Brock, Author; Jim Bell, Milton Fields; Cindy Ringwall, Rotary Club of Milton; and most recently, newly-elected Fulton County Commissioner, Bob Ellis.
citizen survey As part of ongoing efforts to improve service to Milton residents and business owners, the City of Milton conducts a Citizen Survey through the National Research Center every two years. A citizen survey was conducted in 2014 and is considered a key success measure tied to the city’s 2012-2015 Strategic Plan. In addition, the results are used, in part, to help guide the city’s future priorities and budgeting. The survey was randomly sent to 1,200 residents and was available online.
This survey was compared to the previous edition, conducted in 2012, to determine what trends, if any, were occurring. Overall ratings in Milton for 2014 generally remained the same. Concerns regarding new development in Milton and affordable quality housing were reflected in the survey. Aspects trending upwards from 2012 included Milton residents feeling the economy had a positive impact on their income, voting in local elections and recommending Milton as a place to live. Ninety percent of residents rate the overall quality of life in Milton as either excellent or good.
milton’s police service source: icma national citizen survey
good or excellent
milton’s fire service
source: icma national citizen survey
good or excellent
quality of milton’s services source: icma national citizen survey
good or excellent
key success measure
teen impact program In late June Milton’s Municipal Court launched the Teen Victim Impact Program, an educational initiative to reduce teen traffic violations and death in car crashes. Milton Chief Judge Brian Hansford brought the program to Milton after learning of its success in reducing teen fatalities in other jurisdictions.
signed to give judges an educational initiative in lieu of or in addition to fines and probation. It was developed in 2006 and is used by a number of court systems in the metro Atlanta area. The objective, say its creators, is to get rid of the “It won’t happen to me” mindset and reinforce the need to wear seat belts.
Drivers under the age of 21 accused of traffic violations in Milton may now attend the two-hour Teen Victim Impact Program in lieu of the six-hour defensive driving course traditionally offered to reduce driver’s license point deductions. Any Milton resident or his or her child may also take the course for no cost any time it is offered. Classes are held monthly.
The program contains: • Real-life stories of teens killed in car crashes, including the cause of the crash and how it could have been prevented • A texting video • Seatbelt videos • A teen car crash victim or family of a victim share their story • A question and answer session
The Teen Victim Impact Program is de-
key success measure
Held the first Saturday in October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in historic downtown Crabapple, Crabapple Fest is a partnership between the City of Milton and the non-profit Crabapple Community Association (CCA). The popularity of this event has tripled in the last three years to an estimated 30,000 attendees. The fall festival included: antiques and art from nearly 100 juried vendors a music and entertainment stage games, rides and activities for kids an Oktoberfest Biergarten a game day screen featuring SEC college football action
citizens government academy The City of Milton hosts a monthly, video-on-demand Citizens Government Academy hosted through the city’s YouTube page. In the short videos, Jason Wright discusses topics pertinent to Milton residents, including the city’s history, its government structure, how it budgets, and much, much more. Installments cover virtually every aspect of the city’s municipal operations, including sections reserved for hot topics that arise throughout the project. The aim is for busy residents to engage with and learn about government on their terms, away from City Hall and public meetings.
police outreach Milton’s Community Outreach Officer, Ara Baronian, had a busy year engaging residents. You are likely to see him at Milton-sponsored events, in addition to events sponsored by individual neighborhoods. Baronian also visited schools, day cares, churches, HOAs, Rotary groups and Scout troops to give presentations on safety, car theft prevention, active shooters, police interaction and cooperation, defense and crime awareness. In addition, he
organized and taught several Law and Justice Program classes at Cambridge High School. Baronian hosted one of the most popular city programs, a 10-week Citizens Police Academy class, attended by dozens of residents. He also gave seven women’s safety presentations various groups. Lastly, Baronian joined the Milton Community Alliance for Mental Wellness, as well as helped organized the suicide prevention event “Race to Nowhere.”
conservation ICMA study As the economy began to recover, the home building industry became more and more active in Milton. In 2014 city officials and residents realized that steps must be taken in order to preserve the rural landscape that sets the city apart from its neighboring cities. As a first step towards the understanding of conservation options for the City of Milton, an ICMA Leadership Team was consulted to determine innovative strategies for green space protection. The study was conducted over a period of several months and resulted in a report outlining various conservation opportunities available to the city.
land disturbance permits 2014 2012
conservation consultant 2013
In its ongoing effort to pursue smart growth strategies and conservation of the cityâ€™s unique rural character, Miltonâ€™s City Council approved an agreement securing a long-time conservation professional to help create the cityâ€™s first Conservation Plan. Laurel A. Florio, a Milton resident, brought to the city decades of experience as consultant, land specialist and educator for a host of environmental protection organizations.
conservation plan An open house hosted by the city and led by Tom Daniels, a professor and conservation planner at the University of Pennsylvania hired to draft the plan, allowed residents to learn about and give input on the direction of conservation in Milton.
new residential permits 2012 321 317
conservation subdivisions As part of the city’s ongoing green space preservation efforts, Milton held a public open house and workshop in October at City Hall to discuss the concept of conservation subdivisions. Led by Randall Arendt, noted author of numerous books on conserving land in municipalities, including Conservation
Design for Subdivisions: A Practical Guide to Creating Open Space Networks and Growing Greener: Putting Conservation into Local Plans and Ordinances, the open house and workshop allowed residents to learn about and give input on the direction of conservation subdivisions in Milton.
rezoning moratorium Milton imposed a rezoning moratorium to hold the status quo while staff worked with the community to ensure growth patterns were keeping with the style the community wants for its future.
Council members voted to stop accepting applications for 30 days on rezonings in the following classifications: • Community Unit Plan (CUP), • Neighborhood Unit Plan (NUP),
• Transitional Zone (TR), • Single-family dwelling (R-2 and R-2A) The rezoning moratorium remained in place until January 2015.
opportunity key success measure
new business licenses 2013
business license renewals 2012 | 700 2013 | 756 2014 | 783
key success measure
economic development William (Bill) F. O’Connor III joined the City of Milton as Economic Development Manager, the city’s first, in January, 2013. At the time of his retirement in December, 2014, he had set the groundwork for a fruitful partnership between the city and its business community. O’Connor launched the city’s first Economic Development Strategic Plan in June, laying out a set of economic development activities for a year. He de-
veloped a comprehensive inventory of existing businesses, revealing Milton has approximately 800 existing businesses, with about half being home-based. Future goals include an inventory of all available retail and commercial space, as well as “how to” guides for those wanting to establish a business in Milton. Sarah LaDart joined the City of Milton as the Economic Development Manager in December of 2014.
awards safest city For the second year in a row separate independent researchers named the City of Milton one of the safest cities in Georgia and the United States. Home security experts Safewise ranked Milton third in its list of the 50 Safest Cities in Georgia with populations over 5,000. The company based the ranking on findings from the FBI’s “Crime in the U.S.” report. Real estate data resource company NeighborhoodScout.com ranked Milton 46th in its list of 100 Safest Cities in the U.S. with populations over 25,000. NeighborhoodScout.com also used data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program.
Milton was one of just three Georgia cities to make the national list. For the second year in a row separate independent researchers named the City of Milton one of the safest cities in Georgia and the United States. Home security experts Safewise ranked Milton third in its list of the 50 Safest Cities in Georgia with populations over 5,000. The company based the ranking on findings from the FBI’s “Crime in the U.S.” report.
Real estate data resource company NeighborhoodScout.com ranked Milton 46th in its list of 100 Safest Cities in the U.S. with populations over 25,000. NeighborhoodScout.com also used data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program. Milton was one of just three Georgia cities to make the national list.
human resource award Milton’s Human Resources Department won the Small Agency Achievement Award from the Georgia Local Government Personnel Association (GLGPA). According to the group, Milton won the award for its ability to produce a high level of service.
Department Director Sam Trager, who came to Milton in 2009 to shepherd the city from its contract with CH2M HILL OMI to a more traditional model of government, said it was a tremendous honor to be recognized.
improvement city hall renovation
It was decided in early 2014 to consolidate all departmental lobbies into one large area to better serve Milton residents. This new concept meant months of construction and rearrangement of city hall, as well as public safety facilities.
The end result has enabled better service and easier access for Milton residents who
require in-person assistance. Included in this project was the renovation of Miltonâ€™s two fire stations and police department space to allow each department to house their staff in unified spaces. The project was designed and managed in-house by Miltonâ€™s City Architect, Bob Buscemi, and Assistant City Manager, Carter Lucas.
68% user increase 93% user increase New Web site users source: google analytics
defined contribution plan Early in 2014, council decided the cityâ€™s defined benefit plan for Milton employees had the potential to create future risk. At its direction, the Human Resources Department moved to a defined contribution plan, which shifted the risk away from the city. Those employees enrolled in the defined benefit plan were allowed to remain on the plan; however, all new employees have access to the defined
contribution plan only. The Human Resources Department also made cost effective changes to the payroll system. By transferring to Payroll Strategies at a cost savings to the city, the employees enjoy access to their benefit and payroll information from any device, anywhere. It includes improved reporting and is more efficient than the previous system.