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Flowery Branch sets 2012 goals to handle citys growth
Gibbs sworn in; March 6 set for vote to fill open seat
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FLOWERY BRANCH — In a year-opening address at Thursday night's City Council meeting, Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller called on the city to focus on several improvements, such as stormwater and transportation, in 2012.

"Flowery Branch is well positioned to accommodate future growth," he said. "However, we are not without our challenges."

He specifically said he would like to see the council and staff "revisit the stormwater study for the downtown area and relocation plans for the public works department."

Also, "the (city's) recent downtown transportation study has been placed on a shelf and become an afterthought," Miller said.

"If we are going to be the hub of economic growth in Hall County once the economy turns around, which many have predicted, we must take that study off the shelf, dust it off and lay out a timeline of implementation and the ways to fund that implementation."

The city handled other housekeeping matters in starting the new year, including the annual reappointment of City Manager Bill Andrew, City Clerk Marja Burney and Buford law firm Carothers & Mitchell as the city's legal counsel.

Burney swore in Post 1 Councilman Damon Gibbs, who defeated incumbent Amanda Swafford in the Nov. 8 election, to his first four-year term.

"I want to thank my family and friends through the campaign process," Gibbs said. "That was a much more difficult process than I ever imagined.

"I'm very grateful and humbled by the opportunity given to me by folks in Flowery Branch. I'm really excited about the possibilities of what we can accomplish over the next four years. I'm very optimistic about Flowery Branch and its future."

Chris Fetterman, who won the Post 2 seat Nov. 8, was scheduled to be sworn into his second four-year term Thursday night, but he resigned Tuesday because of a job transfer to Florida.

The council gave its first approval to an ordinance setting qualifying and a March 6 special election to replace Fetterman.

The ordinance calls for qualifying to take place from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 25-26 and 8 a.m. to noon Jan. 27 at City Hall. The qualifying fee is $144.

Advance and absentee voting would start Feb. 13.

The ordinance's final approval is set to occur at the council's Jan. 19 meeting.

In other business, the council elected Councilman Joe Anglin as mayor pro tem, meaning he would serve as mayor when Miller cannot.

And Andrew said he plans to give a mid-fiscal-year update on city finances and other activities at the Jan. 19 meeting.

He gave a brief preview of that, saying the city has been able to hold down costs and is ahead on expected revenue.

"Right now, the budget is looking very healthy for this time of year," Andrew said.