At their North Fulton Municipal Association meeting last week, Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle and Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos asked Kenneth Dobson, administrator of the Fulton County Economic Development Division, to meet with economic development managers in north Fulton cities and consider their resources when planning projects and initiatives for the county’s economic development.
Dobson said the division, which was launched a little more than a year ago, will continue to work on building relationships in north Fulton.
During his presentation to the north Fulton mayors, Dobson mentioned how south Fulton can look to north Fulton for examples of how to bolster its economic development. North Fulton benefits from Ga.-400, while south Fulton needs to build up its transportation avenues, especially Highway 29, he said.
“Transportation and mobility will be key to economic growth as we go forward in the 21st century,” Dobson said. “We believe that transportation will be the new economic development engine of the future.”
He said north Fulton also benefits from an infrastructure of broadband fiber optic technology, while south Fulton could work on developing a cluster of businesses in the green technology industry.
North Fulton mayors also discussed desires for the Development Authority of Fulton County to communicate better with their cities.
The development authority granted Avalon, a mixed-use development being built in Alpharetta, a tax abatement after the project was approved without first discussing it with city officials, Belle Isle said.
“We had to find out through the news,” he added.
Galambos and Roswell Mayor Jere Wood both said the authority did consult individual cities in the past, but not much anymore.
“What bothers me is you’ve got a non-elected body making tax decisions about somebody else’s taxes,” Wood said. “That’s the worst combination in the world. They don’t answer to anybody directly and they make decisions about what our tax revenue is and we have no direct recourse.”