Johns Creek has a consistency problem.
Prior to the vote on TSPLOST, residents were told that all projects were simply budgets, and that no project could move forward without the review and approval of City Council. More than 6 months after TSPLOST was approved by the narrowest of margins, residents were told that those projects could not be changed, and that the city had no discretion on whether or how to proceed with their definitions.
The case against discretion was most recently played out regarding the TSPLOST project to widen Jones Bridge Road. A majority on City Council voted to authorize City Staff to explore a handful of options to help alleviate traffic congestion on Jones Bridge Road. That majority decision was vetoed by Mayor Bodker based on an interpretation that the city has no discretion over TSPLOST projects (despite the fact that he was the lead voice prior to the TSPLOST vote stating that City Council would have to review and approve any project before it could move forward).
During the City Council Meeting on Monday January 28, 2019, Councilwoman Endres and Councilman Bradberry had questions for City Manager Warren Hutmacher regarding the TSPLOST project for “New Location Road”. That project is meant to provide improved mobility in Johns Creek Technology Park. As it turns out, City Staff has authorized work to study two separate concept options, exercising discretion in the process that residents have been told does not exist for other projects.
The City of Johns Creek spent $35K on options for “New Location Road”. The two options include:
Bell Road to Johns Creek Parkway
Bell Road to Technology Circle
Documents provided to residents, information distributed and communicated during the Public Input Meeting on September 12, 2018, as well as information on the city website all document two different options that have been explored. This information has been on the city website for well over 6 months.
When questioned about the two options presented, City Manager Hutmacher explained that Concept 1 (Bell Road to Johns Creek Parkway) was “a mistake”. Despite being referenced as a “mistake”, that same information persists in material presented to residents as well as in multiple places within the city’s website.
So these questions need continued clarification:
Does the City of Johns Creek have some discretion over TSPLOST projects as residents were promised in advance of being asked to vote on the referendum, or are we now handcuffed to projects defined by a committee that were never submitted for the review and approval of our elected City Council?
Why has City Staff allowed discretion on the “New Location Road” TSPLOST project, but stated elsewhere that there is no discretion available (e.g., Jones Bridge Road Widening)?
Why were residents and City Council told that City Council would have to review and approve projects before the vote, but then told that there was no discretion allowed after the vote?
The residents of Johns Creek deserve better - consistency, transparency, and honesty. Our current process is evidence of a lack of all three.