A Fresh Perspective on the Future of Monroe County, Georgia.
edited: Friday, November 18, 2005
By Niki Collins-Queen
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Friday, May 03, 2002
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See more about Bud Queen’s objectives and why he was a Monroe County Commission Candidate in 2002 below this article.
Bud Queen, a retired contracting officer with the Georgia National Guard, was a lifelong resident of Cobb County, Georgia before he moved to Monroe County in 1998. While living in Cobb County he saw firsthand how the furious pace of growth and development leveled hillsides, buried acres of soil under asphalt and concrete and choked the Chattahoochee and its tributaries with tons of dirt and other pollutants each day.
Queen recently decided to run as a democratic candidate for Monroe County’s District 4 Board of Commission Seat as he thinks he can help Monroe County not make the same mistakes. He says it’s important to encourage new housing development, business and industry in Monroe County but it should be balanced with effective planning. Housing developments, industrial growth and road improvement should be issues for the whole community not just for engineers and developers.
Quality of life, historic heritage, neighborhood preservation, environmental impact, noise levels, traffic speed and congestion should also be taken in consideration.
Most people in Monroe County want prosperity and the real growth that inevitable result from it. With growth everybody wins—with sprawl there are mostly losers. Metro Atlanta discovered the hard way that you can end up with sprawl without growth.
Forsyth and Monroe County have a treasure-trove of assets. Let’s zealously preserve these assets and not make the same mistakes.
Forsyth and Monroe County have history, pleasant neighborhoods, natural beauty and green space even near the heart of Forsyth. Downtown Forsyth is convenient to motorists and pedestrians with its compact and efficient layout. We should move forward with roads, infrastructure projects and businesses that enhance these assets and rethink ones that threaten them.
New industry belongs in Monroe County’s industrial areas not out in the fringes. We might explore the possibility of implementing an impact fee as the primary means of finances for infrastructures needed for development. We might also use the next sales tax to stabilize property taxes instead of subsidizing unrealistic growth.
When we use the existing infrastructure more effectively we have real growth without sprawl. We would boost the county’s tax base and make it easier for the poor to find good jobs nearby.
Monroe County has a treasure-trove of trees. When trees are needlessly cut down or forests mismanaged we loose more than trees. We loose a climate regulator, an oxygen producer, a pollutant filter, a topsoil replenisher, an erosion and flood controller, a water shed and habitat protector and a way to spruce up the community. These services are free of charge, without them these functions must be provided by the government.
Temperatures rise as tree canopy’s shrink forming urban heat islands. The 60% loss of natural forest in metro Atlanta the past 20 years has increased the temperature up to nine degrees. Trees should be an essential partner for the Monroe ecosystem.
Uncontrolled growth means increased pressure on Monroe County’s watershed. Without better water resource planning both the quantity and quality of the counties water could suffer. The dirtier the source of water the better chance for poison at the tap. Bacteria, viruses and other parasites are for the most part removed. But chemical pollutants are removed at a much lower rate, ranging from 0-90 percent.
Poorly managed construction sites that cause too much sedimentation and human and industrial waste are threatening the fitness and survival of our wetlands and estuaries. Pollution disrupts nature’s balance by supporting algae which depletes the oxygen without which marine life cannot survive.
Queen became familiar with EPA regulations and best management practices while overseeing construction sites as a government contracting officer. He thinks he could put this knowledge and experience to work in Monroe County.
He is the 2002 president of the Georgia Wilderness Society and an active member of the Altamaha/Ocmulgee Riverkeeper Association. He is married to Niki Collins-Queen, an author and retired children’s mental health counselor. They have two children, Buddy and Karen and one grandchild, Drew. Queen is proud of what Monroe County and the City of Forsyth have to offer and wants to assist in making Monroe’s growth and expansion as smooth as possible. He says it would be an honor to serve the people of Monroe County.
MORE ABOUT BUD QUEEN’S OBJECTIVES:
Progress & Preservation: Position the Monroe County infrastructure to allow for effective planning and maximize use of resources (Tax Dollars). Include a comprehensive plan to preserve the quality of life, historic heritage and neighborhoods. Provide a number of proactive methods to improve the communication between the Monroe County government and the public.
Growth without Sprawl: Review the existing land use plan in relation to growth changes in population. Start a future land use planning program. Look toward a 15 to 20 year pattern for both North and South Monroe County to control growth and limit sprawl.
More Business and Jobs: Bring fiscal responsibility and progressive leadership into the county spending process. Use sales taxes to get the county out of the red and into a sound financial base. Improve the county’s assets so viable business entities will want to locate in Monroe County. More jobs is essential to sustainable growth.
Affordable Housing: Stabilize and reduce the dependency on property taxes and support the construction of family dwellings based on the land use plan. Press forward on a good water and sewage program that will also enhance home development.
Decrease Property Taxes and Wasteful Government Spending: Maximize use of existing funding sources. Make no additional spending decisions except for emergencies until financial debt has been liquidated. Use the sales tax to liquidate debts as much as possible. Use Bond loans as a last resort and for as short a period as possible. Use Grants and Government subsidies when available. Use impact fees to improve the infrastructure. Maximize the benefit of our tax dollars by spending them on projects that are necessary and beneficial.
Protect Monroe County’s Natural Wetlands, Waterways and Air Quality: Make plans for development that includes protection of existing wetlands and have natural buffers along waterways in development areas. Monitor the environmental actions of the surrounding counties for possible negative impact on Monroe County. Aggressively comply and enhance the Georgia EPD rules on water and air quality.
Create Sustainable Financial Base: Provide sound leadership, remove the county debt and bring new business into the county. Use impact fees for infrastructure and use sales taxes over property taxes.