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Milton updates traffic calming policy, removes cost share

Sara Leaders at Milton City Council

Milton Public Works Director Sara Leaders presents a new traffic calming policy at the Feb. 6 Milton City Council meeting. The updated policy removes the city’s cost-share agreement and the provision for homeowners associations that allowed them to bypass the supermajority petition requirement for neighborhood support.

MILTON, Ga. — Milton residents now have to fully fund traffic calming measures within their subdivisions after the City Council voted Feb. 6 to end a policy to help share costs.

The action ended a program that provided the city pay half the costs of measures taken by neighborhoods to mitigate speeding on public streets.

Going forward, applicants, defined as having the authority to act on behalf of a subdivision or study area, will be responsible for all bidding and construction costs after the Public Works Department approves the traffic calming request.

Milton City Councilman Rick Mohrig said the cost-share agreement was unfair to Milton taxpayers.

“We're asking people who live on open roads and other subdivisions to use tax dollars to subsidize that subdivision,” Mohrig said. “I don't believe that there should be a burden, that we go to other taxpayers and say, ‘We need to pay for this.’”

In addition to the cost-share agreement, the City Council also eliminated a provision for homeowner’s associations that allowed them to act on behalf of their subdivisions without the 67 percent petition requirement for neighborhood support.

White Columns

The decision comes in the wake of action within the White Columns subdivision, where its homeowners association purchased and installed four radar feedback signs with city staff approval, but without seeking community input. The White Columns HOA then sought reimbursement from the city after discovering the cost-share agreement.

Over the course of several City Council meetings last year, most White Columns residents advocated against its HOA for acting on their behalf. Some appreciated the measure, noting excessive speeding throughout the neighborhood.

The Feb. 6 agenda item received one emailed public comment from White Columns resident Adam Hollingsworth urging the City Council to rethink the new policy.

“Have you sought to meet with and hear from HOAs across the city of Milton? Or is the proposed ordinance change being driven only by a single project and a single HOA and opposed by a single member of the City Council?” Hollingsworth asked in the email, alluding to Milton City Councilman Paul Moore, a White Columns resident.

In August, an ethics panel determined that Moore committed three of seven ethics violations when he voted to defer a decision to provide city funding for traffic calming devices inside his neighborhood.

Milton Public Works Director Sara Leaders said the city will still offer neighborhoods resources for passive measures in education, like temporary radar signs and message boards, and traffic enforcement without the need of a petition. Applicants can also request warning signs and other safety measures unrelated to traffic calming, like stop sign evaluations, without a petition.

Because neighborhood streets are city property, Milton City Attorney Ken Jarrard said the City Council still has “plenary authority” to make them safe.

New summer camp

In other action at the meeting, the City Council approved the fee-collecting process for a newly created seven-week summer day camp that will be held at the Milton City Park and Preserve Community Center, which opened in April 2022 after extensive renovations.

“The purpose of the Parks and Rec Department and its programs we offer, such as this camp, are to create fun and positive experiences for our residents and community,” Milton Parks and Recreation Director Tom McKlveen said.

The camp, scheduled for June and July, will see 50-plus kids each week. Camp activities include daily swimming, arts and crafts, sports, movie time, games, outdoor education and nature hikes.

The camp cost is $150 a week for residents and $225 for non-residents.

McKlveen said any city program qualifies city employees for a 50 percent discount off the resident registration fee. Milton residents will have dibs on registration, then registration will open to city employees and non-residents.

Reach Amber Perry at 770-847-8334. Follow her on Twitter @ambermarieperry