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Alpharetta, Milton enter long-awaited parks agreement
by Rachel Kellogg
November 06, 2012 10:07 AM | 3015 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city councils of Milton and Alpharetta approved agreements Monday night establishing a regionalized parks system for both cities and dissolving all non-resident fees at current and future city facilities.

The change in fee structure will take effect Dec. 1.

“This agreement is another great win for the citizens of both communities,” said Alpharetta Council Member Jim Gilvin who was instrumental in negotiating the agreement. “Our citizens are neighbors, friends, and our kids attend the same schools. It makes sense that we find a way for those kids to be able to play in the same parks without some parents having to pay more than others for that to happen.”

Gilvin continued, “Citizens want local governments to work together to provide high quality services as efficiently as possible; to provide them with the best possible return on their tax dollar. This is another example of how Alpharetta and Milton are doing exactly that.”

Milton City Councilman and former Alpharetta youth football coach Matt Kunz helped broker the agreement.

"No longer will Milton residents have to pay extra money to play in Alpharetta's North Park, which is located entirely within the city of Milton," he said.

"This is an unbelievable win for everyone involved," said Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood. "The residents of both cities wanted it, the elected officials of both cities wanted it, the staff of both cities wanted it ... and now we have it.”

According to the terms of the agreement, the cities will annually negotiate a variable maintenance fee; for 2012, the fee is $325,000.

For that price, Milton residents can use all the city of Alpharetta programs and facilities they know and love without incurring non-resident fees, which can add as much as 75 percent to the cost of participating.

Alpharetta residents may also use any current and future Milton facilities without incurring extra costs. Included in the agreement is use of Bell Memorial Park, scheduled to be doubled in size and then programmed in part by Alpharetta's established leagues.

Milton's cost in the agreement will decrease incrementally as the city brings forward additional facilities and programs utilized by Alpharetta residents, said Milton's interim Director of Parks and Recreation Jim Cregge.

"We hear all the time from residents that they want their local governments to work together and improve the quality of life regardless of municipal borders," said Cregge. "We just figured out a way to make it work."

Present to speak at Alpharetta's City Council meeting, Kunz said Cregge, who spent years on Alpharetta's recreation and parks commission, was “the bridge” that brought the two cities together on the agreement.

Both cities voted unanimously in favor of the memorandum of understanding.

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