Fayette resident heads Fairburn city government


Tom Barber has spent a career managing people and money. Today the Certified Public Accountant and long-time north Fayette County resident is continuing that career as the City Administrator in Fairburn.

A younger Tom Barber and his family moved to Fayette County in 1968, where he attended Fayette County High School and was selected “Mr. Senior” in 1973. Barber left Fayette in 1978 but returned with his family in 2000.

Familiar with both the public and private sectors, Barber’s background in finance includes serving as president of Tom Barber, Inc. software services, a stint as controller and operations manager for local manufacturing firms, a financial consultant and, on the government side, in positions with the cities of Macon and East Point.

In was in East Point that Barber served in capacities including Director of Administrative Services and Interim City Manager.
Barber was selected as Fairburn’s City Administrator in January.

“I’ve been well-received. And I came here not fully knowing the city but I’ve been shocked at the opportunity for growth that’s here. If I stay here 10 or 15 years I could do some serious damage,” Barber said with a chuckle, clearly referencing the city’s advantageous geographical positioning along the I-85 corridor and the implications for continued, positive growth as the recession winds down. “Growth is coming and we just have to get ready for it.”

Barber during his comments wanted to talk more about Fairburn and its opportunities than about himself.

The city-owned college campus on U.S. Highway 29 just east of downtown, home of Georgia Military College and Brenau University, is continuing to draw increasing students, Barber said.

“GMC is growing and Brenau is getting close to opening its nursing program,” Barber said, noting that the schools will need more space in the future to accommodate growth. GMC continues to draw approximately 25 percent of its students from Fayette County and 10 percent from Coweta County.

Asked about any progress to the immediate historic downtown area where a structure fire destroyed several building a year ago and led to the closure of Oz Pizza, Barber said changes are in the works. The owner of the destroyed buildings has donated that land to the city. The City Council in the coming weeks will decide what to do with the vacant area between the existing buildings, said Barber, adding that the city has approximately $1 million in available bond money to make improvements to the downtown area.

As for the building on the corner of Hwy. 29 and Campbellton Road that housed Oz, the building’s owner sold it to a development company and it is currently undergoing rehabilitation. That rehab will take about six months and will lead to the return of Oz Pizza, with the company having signed a lease for the location, Barber said.

Barber also referenced the large Ga. Highway 74 commercial master plan between Oakley Industrial Boulevard and Milam Road developed several years ago just prior to the recession.

“The company that developed that plan in 2006 is no longer in existence,” said Barber. “But I think it’s only a matter of time and it will come back.”
What is coming soon are two gas stations. One of those will be a RaceTrac station on the west side of Hwy. 74 between the entrance to the Meadow Glen subdivision and the Peachtree Landings Apartment Homes complex to the north.

The other will be a QuickTrip station on the east side of Hwy. 74 across from Meadow Glen.

Yet another facet of what Barber sees as pertinent to Fairburn’s future is recreation.

“I want Fairburn to become a regional recreation provider,” said Barber, explaining that the upcoming acquisition of the large Duncan Park complex from Fulton County, along with potential sites in other areas in the city, could help pave the way for the city to become a regional draw for sports such as football, little league and tournament baseball, swimming and tournament softball and soccer.

For Tom Barber, it is a short drive to work every morning from his nearby home in north Fayette. And all along the way he sees potential for the city he says is positioned for the future.
Barber and his family live in north Fayette County. His children attend Sandy Creek High School.