One candidate has more political experience than the other, but both say they’re motivated by serving the Flowery Branch community.
“I think my work … isn’t over,” said City Councilwoman Monica Beatty.
“In the last few years, I have built relationships with the business owners and the citizens of Flowery Branch. We have worked hard with the redevelopment of the downtown area. I think this is key to making Flowery Branch one of the most desirable areas for new businesses to start and others to relocate.
“The sales tax revenue and other investments made by these businesses will help to ensure lower property tax rates for citizens in the future.”
Amy Farah, who is challenging Beatty for her Post 5 seat in the Nov. 7 election, said she wants “to make sure the city makes decisions that are fiscally responsible and also … enhance the community and make it a place that remains desirable.”
Farah said she’s also interested in the continued revitalization of Old Town, as the area around downtown is known.
“I think it’s important that we continue to work on this project while at the same time avoid going into further debt doing it,” she said. “I would like to see us look into the idea of a grant — for example, Main Street Grants, which is an initiative across the nation that provides funding for doing exactly what our goal is to downtown: bring more businesses and people there.
“Another idea is to find a private partner who can help us develop Old Town but who is also committed to preserving the small-town feel. Innovation is going to be key here — we have to think of ways other than using general funds to do this.”
Beatty said she hopes the redevelopment of downtown “will be a main issue for years to come.”
“It will be a long road, but the investment is important to the future of Flowery Branch,” she said. “It will create a central hub that all cities need if they want to be a desirable live, work, worship and play community.”
The Regions Bank employee said she also would like to “continue strengthening the (city’s) infrastructure.”
“Roads, sewer, water and other parts the city plays a role in are important to the smart growth of Flowery Branch,” she said. “When re-elected, I am going to make sure we stay on this road.”
“Now is the time. We stayed lean during the recession because it was the responsible thing to do for our citizens. That being said, I will not raise tax rates to do this.”
She also supports selling the current City Hall to developers once the new building off Railroad Avenue is completed.
“I am not a fan of the city being in the landlord business,” Beatty said. “We need to start finding private partners to buy these properties and using them to help enhance the downtown area.”
Farah said another key issue for her is to “revisit the budget and identify ways to save money to earmark for road maintenance.”
“This seems to be a common concern, and it’s one that affects all parts of Flowery Branch,” she said. “Repaving roads is very expensive, and currently there is limited money from the general fund going towards this project.”
Farah, assistant professor of teacher education at Georgia Gwinnett College, said she’s looking forward to the completion of the Interstate 985 interchange at Martin Road, or Exit 14.
“I believe it will provide opportunities for commercial growth that could benefit the city and increase revenue,” she said.
Asked why they believe residents should vote for them, Beatty said, “I enjoy serving people. I have a servant’s heart. Before elected to the council, it was mostly through my church where I served.
“But since (being) elected, I have enjoyed meeting and talking with folks to help them figure out solutions for their issues and how to maneuver through the city departments and procedures.”
Farah said, “I am well educated and interested in serving others. I have a true desire to help make the city a place where people want to come to visit, shop, eat and play.
“I am willing to advocate for the best interest of the city and its citizens. I will ask tough questions, seek feedback and thoroughly research before voting on an issue.”
Flowery Branch City Council, Post 5
When: Early voting begins Oct. 16; Election Day is Nov. 7
Where to vote: Flowery Branch City Hall, 5517 Main St.
Education: Lanier Technical College, Free Chapel’s Elijah Prayer House counseling
Occupation: Regions Bank employee
Political experience: Flowery Branch City Council since election in July 2015
Education: doctorate of education, Liberty University, Lynchburg, Va.
Occupation: assistant professor of teacher education, Georgia Gwinnett College
Political experience: first run for office