Kevin Madden served for four years on the Peachtree City Council, losing a reelection bid to Gretchen Caola last November. He is running to regain that slot in the wake of Caola’s move out of the city.
Born in Jamaica, N.Y., in 1950, Madden and his wife have three children. He has been an officer of the Fayette County Democratic Committee and served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Beginning in 1998, he has been owner and president of Global Airlift Services, a private air cargo company headquartered in Peachtree City.
Below are questions from The Citizen and the candidate’s answers following each question.
QUESTION 1: The City Council this year declined to roll back the millage rate for city property taxes even though we are experiencing the worst inflation in the last 40 years. The resulting surplus will be 50% of yearly expenditures rather than the required 31%. Do you agree with their vote? Why or why not?
ANSWER: During my tenure on the city council (2018-2022) we lowered the mileage rate twice. This inflationary year would have been the ideal time to lower it again.
QUESTION 2: The previous City Council voted to abolish a popular decades-long moratorium on constructing more multifamily housing, despite the fact that — without rezoning — the city is considered by many to be “built-out.” Give your position on the council eliminating the moratorium and explain your position on building more multifamily housing. Specifically, will you vote to build multi-story apartments in the city? Why or why not?
ANSWER: The constitutionality of the moratorium on multi unit housing was highly questionable. If the property was already zoned for multi family, then a prolonged unwinnable legal battle with developers was not in the best interest of our taxpayers.
We did not approve ANY apartments on the council I served and I would NOT approve them today.
QUESTION 3: The City Council has voted for land zoned commercial, industrial, and office/institutional to be rezoned for residential zoning. Do you agree with that strategy? Why or why not?
ANSWER: We need to keep the areas zoned industrial/commercial to attract the right businesses to bring our percentage of revenue generated from our business base from 20% to an ideal 25% as prescribed by our PTC founding fathers.
QUESTION 4: A majority of the City Council recently approved changes to the city’s comprehensive plan that would allow developers an avenue to build more multifamily housing in mixed-use and stand-alone formats across the city. Do you agree with the changes to the comprehensive plan allowing more multifamily housing and why? If you do not agree, would you vote to remove the recent changes to the comprehensive plan? Why or why not?
ANSWER: I participated in the review of the comprehensive plan as a member of the Steering Committee. It is only a plan with ideas generated from our citizens and nothing is written in stone.
Each request for new or revised development in our city should be looked at individually and judged on its merits or lack there of.
QUESTION 5: Many residents have spoken out against the concept of “mixed use” developments — defined as multi-story buildings with retail on the ground floor and multi-family or condos on second- and even third-story buildings. Would you vote for that concept? Why or why not?
ANSWER: See answer four above.
QUESTION 6: Do you foresee the need to build any new government facilities in the city? If yes, what would you like to see built, and explain how you would fund the construction and the annual maintenance and operations?
ANSWER: I see no need for additional government facilities. We added on space when needed during my tenure and carefully maintained the ample structures we have and this should continue.
QUESTION 7: Will you support annexations to increase the size of the city? Why or why not?
ANSWER: Any annexations should be considered on a case by case basis. Do they add to our city’s character? What will the additional costs in first responders/ infrastructure (sewer-path system, etc.) be to the citizens?
QUESTION 8: The City Council has been criticized for restricting citizen comments in council public meetings, both the limited time allowed for each speaker (twice less than 55 seconds per speaker) and the limited number of people allowed to speak. The council divided the allotted 20 minutes by the number of speakers, rather than extending the 20-minute limit. Where exactly do you stand on allowing citizens who make an effort to attend a public meeting to be able to comment? Would you vote to extend the time allotted for the public to speak rather than cut each speaker’s time to fit within the limit? Why or why not?
ANSWER: Every citizen has the constitutional right to speak their minds and bring their questions to be addressed by their elected officials. A reasonable amount of time should be allocated to all.
QUESTION 9: Have you read the city charter and ordinances for Peachtree City? Why or why not?
ANSWER: I have read the charter for my own edification and as assignments in my municipal government classes.
QUESTION 10: Have you read the Georgia Open Records law and the Georgia Open Meetings law? Why or why not?
ANSWER: I have participated in numerous classes (over 70 hours) given by the University Of Georgia Carl Vinson School of Continuing Studies for elected officials. On all topics involving those mentioned as well as ethics, emergency preparedness, municipal finance and others.
QUESTION 11: Do you have any comments on your positions on issues facing the city?
ANSWER: The issues facing our city are immediate and require an experienced leader with the institutional knowledge to begin on day one!
Candidate for Post 3