HomeAlpharetta NewsAlpharetta City Council approves $200,000 design contract for North Point Mall area...

Alpharetta City Council approves $200,000 design contract for North Point Mall area revitalization

Alpharetta, Georgia – On May 20, the Alpharetta City Council gave the green light to a $200,000 design contract aimed at revitalizing the area around North Point Mall. The contract was awarded to Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects, a New York firm with an Atlanta office, to create a plan that includes public streets, spaces, trails, and green infrastructure. This plan will serve as a guide for future developments in the area. The firm has previously worked on projects such as Riverside Park in Roswell.

Kathi Cook, the Community Development Director of Alpharetta, stated that the new plan will complement the city’s investment in the Big Creek Greenway by connecting streets and fostering a walkable community around North Point. She mentioned that the city had considered three different landscape architecture firms and chose Starr Whitehouse because they offered the most competitive bid. Although the city had sought grants for the redevelopment project as early as 2018, it did not receive any external funding.

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The implementation of this design will lead to the construction of new public areas by private developers. According to Cook, developers will be expected to design and build necessary infrastructure like trails connecting to the greenway. In exchange, the city will offer them credits against public impact fees.

Proposed 2025 budget

On May 20, the City Council discussed the proposed budget for fiscal year 2025, with Finance Director Tom Harris leading a detailed presentation. The budget forecasts a rise in both expenditures and revenues, increasing by about $10 million to a total of nearly $164 million, up from $154.2 million in 2024. Despite the increase, the city plans to maintain the property tax rate at 5.75 mills, a figure that has been unchanged for approximately 15 years.

In the proposed adjustments, 0.059 mills will be shifted from the city’s debt service levy to its operating levy. Harris explained that this shift would benefit homeowners, as the city’s homestead tax exemptions do not cover the debt service levy, potentially saving them around $90,000.

The budget also proposes the creation of seven new full-time jobs across various city departments. These include a fire training lieutenant in the Department of Public Safety, a procurement manager in the Finance Department, and an administrative assistant for the Municipal Court. Additionally, the budget outlines changes in city staff salaries, which would cost about $914,000. Last fiscal year, the city allocated $1.7 million for similar salary adjustments.

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The budget proposal, released on May 3, can be accessed in its entirety on the city’s website. The City Council has scheduled three public hearings for discussion of the budget in June. The initial hearing is set for June 3 at 6:30 p.m. The next two hearings are both on June 24, with the first at 11:30 a.m. and the second at 6:30 p.m. Following the last hearing, the councilmembers will cast their votes on the proposed budget.

The city’s fiscal year 2025 begins on July 1 and runs through the end of June 2025.

Leander Thorne

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