Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul mentioned crime, neighborhood protections and volunteerism at his eight annual State of the Metropolis speech.
The occasion was held Sept. 14 at The Westin Atlanta Perimeter North and hosted by the Sandy Springs Perimeter Chamber of Commerce.
Crime is prime of thoughts for a lot of Sandy Springs residents, Paul mentioned.
He mentioned it’s been arduous to recruit law enforcement officials to the town. Sandy Springs gives a $7,000 signing bonus and a housing allowance and nonetheless can’t rent sufficient officers.
“We’re recruiting officers all throughout the nation. We’re going to Portland, Seattle, Austin, locations like that the place law enforcement officials have been underneath monumental stress and challenges,” Paul mentioned.
The mayor additionally spoke concerning the spirit of volunteerism within the metropolis, referencing Solidarity Sandy Springs, a meals financial institution fashioned through the pandemic that has 1,700 volunteers and has served 30,000 meals.
“We are able to’t lose our sense of group engagement in Sandy Springs,” Paul mentioned. “Our non-profit and non-governmental organizations present important companies to our metropolis, and in flip, want our help. The identical sense of group that led to the very creation of Sandy Springs can also be what has stored us from intervals of decline that has impacted so many different cities across the nation. We are able to’t lose sight of that.”
Some nonprofit teams in Sandy Springs are challenged because of the pandemic, Paul mentioned, asking the enterprise group to step up.
“These nonprofits which might be struggling, they want our assist. They’re irreplaceable. We’ve misplaced Heritage [Sandy Springs]. And that was an enormous loss to our group. We can not afford to lose any extra,” he mentioned.
Paul additionally spoke concerning the metropolis’s dedication to defending neighborhoods all through Sandy Springs.
“I’ve this philosophy that most individuals put their life financial savings of their dwelling. While you put your life financial savings into one thing, you must have an inexpensive expectation that the town, the native authorities is just not going to make use of rezoning to transform the character of your neighborhood,” Paul mentioned.
Paul, who’s up for re-election within the November election, confronted some questions from his challenger on the finish of this system.
Dontaye Carter, who has certified to run for mayor, mentioned his workers polled metropolis residents and 83.3% of those that responded mentioned housing affordability was their prime concern. The second concern was COVID-19 and the town’s response to it.
“I’m inquisitive about what are plans going ahead for the town with regards to housing affordability? We’ve had two consulting companies which have are available and offered plans. And in addition what are we going to do going ahead at this level with COVID? I’ve received a 3-year-old daughter, and I’m very involved she will be able to’t get vaccinated,” Carter mentioned.
Paul reminded the viewers he had served as an assistant secretary for the U.S. Division of Housing and City Growth. “My drawback with most housing subsidies is that they do an excellent job of enriching the owner [and] do completely nothing to complement the tenant,” he mentioned.
So many individuals are unable to afford homes, Paul mentioned. In Sandy Springs, firefighters, law enforcement officials, hospital employees and lecturers can’t attain the American dream of proudly owning a home, he mentioned. The town is making an attempt to assist protect some reasonably priced homes (these within the $400,000 vary), which are sometimes focused for redevelopment into higher-priced houses.
Talking about COVID-19, the mayor mentioned Sandy Springs has adopted the altering science through the pandemic. Metropolis employees have been inspired to get vaccinated.
“The primary factor that we will do proper now, [which] is rather more efficient than the masks we’re sporting immediately, is a jab,” he mentioned.
Carter requested why the mayor didn’t impose a vaccine mandate, to which Paul mentioned he doesn’t have the authority.
However Carter mentioned underneath a 1905 Supreme Court docket case, Jacobson vs. Massachusetts, the mayor has that authority. That case handled the state of Massachusetts requiring all adults to get a smallpox inoculation after an epidemic swept by way of the Northeast in 1901, topic to a $5 high quality. The court docket dominated adults may very well be fined.
“We will see,” Paul mentioned.
Metropolis Council would wish to vote on and approve such a measure. The mayor solely votes in case of a tie, Communications Director Jason Fornicola mentioned.