My vision of Transparency in Government Part 2

I believe that true transparency in government must go beyond meeting the “legal requirement.”  How many times have you been out driving and seen the mandatory ‘rezoning’ sign and wondered what was being planned?  Why can’t the city have a page on its website that lists everything being looked at for rezoning or for a variance?

Our current charter calls for agendas to be posted no later than (NLT) 24 hours prior to the meeting, I do not see why we can’t post it a lot earlier for the residents to see.  I have already mentioned that the agenda needs to be modified to make it easier for residents to know what is actually being voted on.  Additionally, all formal meetings, training, and any time the Mayor and Council are gathering to discuss the city’s affairs should be broadcast as early as the dates are set with notice of location and times.

I know that in Cobb County, there is a method whereby people submitting permits that require the approval of the county Planning and Zoning (P&Z) is made available at least to the Mableton Improvement Coalition.  This panel of pure volunteers research the permit request, the location, the potential impact of the area, and anything else that might help sway the decision and report back to the county P&Z with recommendations.  Recommendations I might reiterate coming from the community, not a politically appointed or county employee.  I want to do the same thing in Powder Springs.

Furthermore, much of the planning the city does originates in either the DDA (Downtown Development Authority) or the DAPS (Development Authority of Powder Springs).  Both are constitutionally established entities with the state of Georgia and are independent of the city government.  However, when the mayor (along with the city manager) chairs the DDA and the DAPS chair is appointed by the city, and once again, the city manager is very actively involved.  We never hear about those meetings, yes, the schedule and agendas are on the city website but so few people know about it or what they are planning.

If all proposals were made available to an Improvement Coalition run by the residents, then true research can be done.  I see a better way for Powder Springs’ residents and business owners to be kept aware of what is being planned, discussed, or looked at far enough in advance that they can provide input that truly matters.

Let’s keep Powder Springs growing and moving forward, but let’s have true transparency in government.