In November, citizens of Norcross will cast their votes for three posts on the city council. In the weeks following up to the election, Patch will be covering all the candidates running for Norcross City Council. This week, we spotlight Ross Kaul.
Norcross City Councilman Ross Kaul has been living in the city of Norcross since 2006, and he's been on the council since 2009.
In the two terms he's been on the council, he's worked on a number of projects, including the annexation of southeast Norcross and the paperless initiative for Norcross City Hall. More recently, he also spearheaded a ban on tobacco use on city property, which the council voted in favor of in May and repealed two months later.
In November, the incumbent will be running for his third term on the council, this time against former councilman Keith Shewbert. Patch spoke with Kaul this week on what his plans are for the future of Norcross, if elected again.
How long have you been living in Norcross?
Michelle and I moved to Norcross in October 2006; just in time to volunteer with the Christmas Tour of Homes. We were so amazed over how inviting and kind everyone was to us. Just two months and we felt like we had lived here for years. We were constantly invited to parties and social gatherings, lots of opportunity to meet so many. We knew; we had found our home.
What inspired you to run this term?
After four years on the city council, I like what’s happening in Norcross, and I like being involved in the transition. My having a seat on the council offers a unique position for me to help make it happen by giving back to our citizens! The dividends of planning, vision and hard work are beginning to emerge and it is heartening to see.
Signs of Norcross moving forward are obvious with the streetscaping, the planters, benches, sidewalk music, lights, revised signage along with all the other downtown amenities. Lillian Webb Park, re-designed Rossie Brundage and Thrasher Parks are among the best advertisements any city could boost. More visitors are enjoying the amenities Norcross has to offer. We are on the right path.
What are some of the notable projects you've helped or spearheaded in the past?
- Paperless Initiative for City Hall ($100k + annual savings / green initiatives)
- Information Technology (IT was underfunded - hired staff increased budget)
- General Fund expenses $12.9 million (2008) reduced to $7.8 million (2012)
- General Electric “SmartGrid” Meter (wireless viewing of electricity usage)
- Lillian Webb Park Completion
- Thrasher Park Major Renovation
- Rossie Brundage Park Renovation
- Annex Southeast Norcross (promotes safety, property values and increase tax digest)
- Support of “Service Delivery” lawsuit settlement (double taxation)
- Supporting Green - ARC certified Gold community / LEED certification
- Streetscaping - Downtown and Gateways
- Connectivity (sidewalks, enhanced walking and bike trails)
- Support for “Safe Routes to School" (children's health / safety advocate)
- Support for “Livable Center Initiatives” (citizens involvement for future growth)
- Norcross "911" Emergency Call Center (formerly Gwinnett County)
- Supporting Economic Development initiatives (thousands of new jobs/200 new businesses)
What are some of the immediate things you want to work on if you win the council seat?
My immediate task is re-development of the Lillian Webb Park area. Recently, I joined the parking committee. We must handle this growing issue giving our citizens proper space for parking.
What are some of your long-term goals for the city?
I have become more involved with connectivity (walking/biking trails) for our citizens. We have two plans in place for review; 2030 Comprehensive Plan (early 2010) and the Parks Master Plan (late 2010). Both are very well thought-out visionary works, but they will need to be reviewed in light of our recent 33 percent increase in size with annexation.
Why should the city vote for you?
My commitment is clear and my accomplishments are evident. We've enjoyed abundant success during my first two terms as your councilman. I will continue working to build upon our achievements through asking our citizens to come together for a shared vision or purpose. This will continue creating value for all of us.
Are you voting for Ross Kaul in the upcoming election for the Norcross City Council? Tell us in the comments.
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