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Flowery Branch candidates have new city hall concerns
Incumbent Chris Mundy, Michael Justice not sold on project
Chris Mundy
Chris Mundy

A new Flowery Branch city hall would help merge city offices and ease overcrowding, but getting to the point of construction is another matter for Flowery Branch’s Post 1 City Council candidates.

The project, which is in preliminary engineering, “would not be my top priority at this time,” Councilman Chris Mundy said.

“Once the final cost of the project is determined, I can then make a better determination if we are making the best fiscal decision for the city. It has been my experience that initial project costs tend to change.”

His challenger in the Post 1 election on Nov. 3, Michael Justice, said he believes “we need better (city) facilities. … However, we don’t need a $5 million city hall.

“I think we need to be much more efficient and be better stewards of the city’s finances and focus on giving value to the taxpayers.”

A new city hall has been discussed for years in the South Hall city, as offices are scattered about town and current City Council meeting space can get especially cramped.

The topic came up recently as city officials are applying for a state grant that would help extend Pine Street from Church Street to Railroad Avenue. The new city hall is part of downtown redevelopment plans.

Otherwise, “repaving roads are a big deal in the city,” Justice said.

He also points to the need for improvements at Jim Crow Road/Gainesville Street and McEver Road, where Hall County and Flowery Branch have worked on joint agreements.

“I personally believe the city gets more value from just fixing problems like that, as opposed to building a monument in downtown,” Justice said.

He has problems with the “grandiose design” of the Lights Ferry Connector roundabout under construction. It will feature a landscaped center with granite pavers and the town’s backlit name in brushed-aluminum letters.

Mundy said he wants to see the improvements at McEver — a main traffic artery connecting Buford to Gainesville — get going after the connector is finished.

“It is an important project to the city in that Gainesville Street is in dire need of resurfacing and the intersection at McEver Road needs turn lanes to improve safety,” he said.

Otherwise, “I would like to see the city address any other road surfacing needs before looking to take on another large road project.”

Mundy said that with the completion of a project extending sewer from Gaines Ferry Road at McEver to the city sewer plant on Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway, “I believe we should allocate sewer usage to residents and businesses of Flowery Branch before serving interests outside the city that fall within our sewer service area.

“Right now, the city is well below its sewer capacity ...but we need to be diligent in planning for future projects.”

Justice said believes “there should be great advantage given to city residents and that should be used as leverage to get us some more commercial development.

“If you want our sewer, you want to be annexed, and the difference in price should be so much you would be stupid not to be annexed.”


Early voting

Where: Hall County Board of Elections and Registrars, lower level, Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday through Oct. 30.

Also: Voters may cast ballots 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 24 at at the North Hall Community Center, 4175 Nopone Road, or Spout Springs Library, 6488 Spout Springs Road, Flowery Branch. Voting is also available at the Government Center on Oct. 24.

Contact: 770-531-6945

 

Michael Justice

Age: 50

Family: Wife, Michelle, and stepdaughters, Bridgitte Sifton and Samantha Sifton

Occupation: President of MICA Health Inc., a health care software and services company.

Education: Bachelor of Science in communication and a Master of Business Administration in management and health care, University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.


What makes you qualified to serve on the City Council?

“My ability to listen to people with diverse opinions, understand complex issues, research a topic and quickly develop a way forward — a guiding principle or a vision. I have had to do this my whole life as a business leader. Education and experience does help.”


What are your goals if elected?

“Increase the value that the city’s residents receive from the city of Flowery Branch. Work to make the city of Flowery Branch relevant in the lives of its citizens. Today, many of the city’s residents have no clue as to what the city does, and in most cases would not be happy if they did know. I hope to help change that perspective through communication, and a focus on the needs of the citizens and away from monument building.”


Chris Mundy

Age: 45

Family: Wife, Erin, and son, Davis

Occupation: Senior product manager for Infinity Property and Casualty Corp.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in risk management/insurance, University of Georgia, and Master of Business Administration in finance, Georgia State University  


What makes you qualified to serve on the City Council?

“As a lifelong resident of southern Hall County, I believe my intimate knowledge of the area would continue to be an asset to the council. I also believe my finance background and insurance work experience is a benefit to the City Council, especially with the upcoming budget planning for the city.”


What are your goals if elected?

“If re-elected, I will work to increase the city’s tax base by adding more businesses to the area and hopefully lessen the tax burden on the city’s residents. Also, I believe one the biggest issues facing Flowery Branch today is the impending growth. I want to ensure the council is planning and addressing the growth in such a way to maintain the standard of living we currently enjoy. I want the people of Flowery Branch to have the services and resources it needs to continue to grow and prosper and our citizens (to) have the quality of life they deserve.”

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