For the upcoming Snellville City Council election in November, Patch is running questionnaires answered by the candidates.
Three seats are open on the council: Post 3, 4 and 5. Incumbent Councilman Mike Sabbagh is running for re-election for his seat, Post 5, which has been challenged by candidate Barbara Bender.
Name: Mike Sabbagh
How long have you lived in Snellville? 22 years
Educational background: Masters of Science
Family: Married to Rita Sabbagh, the only wife I have known of 26 years. We have three young men.
Military background: None
Occupation: DOT Engineer
How many terms/years have you served on the council? I was elected as city council member November 2009 by majority vote.
What inspired you to run for re-election? My principles; giving back to the city. Having lived here for over two decades, I find it important to take part in the leadership of the city. I see a host of projects needing attention such that the least I can do is represent the citizens by bringing these issues and concerns to the forefront and center to be addressed and voted on.
What are some of the notable projects you've helped or spearheaded in the past? One of the last visible projects was the Summit Chase Lower Johnson Lake. Here I worked long hours in bringing the city, the HOA and most citizens to the table where an agreement has been finally reached to repair the pipe under the street along with the HOA’s repair to the Dam Riser pipe. I believe we all will enjoy a new lake and fully operational soon.
I helped create a final design of the town green and town centre. Worked with many of the designers, provided the necessary feedback and made sure the design was a suitable one for our city.
In addition to the town green and the town centre I have interviewed many candidates to fill the vacated city manager position. A good man; Butch Sanders accepted the position.
While on council, I reviewed, addressed and voted on the new police department building, the new public works building and the new improvements to the Briscoe park fields for the use of our citizens. Other projects include the LCI, working with the CID on several projects including the alignment of Cambridge and McGee roads.
What are some of the immediate projects you want to work on if you win the council seat? How would you accomplish them? My top priority is sidewalks, especially near South Gwinnett High School. Time and time again I see children walking on the main highway to get to their classes because either the sidewalk is narrow or does not exist. We need to address this decaying infrastructure and ensure we have properly constructed sidewalks to allow safe passage. Other projects on my list include passive parks in the city.
This can be done by applying for and receiving monies from the safe route to school grants. We need our government to step up to this mission and make this happen. As many of the readers know, all my children attended South Gwinnet High School, and I have been engaged in their activities in the school, thus I know firsthand what it means to get to and back home to school safely.
What are some of your long-term goals for the city? How would you accomplish them? My long-term goal is to see that a properly designed continuous flow intersection (CFI) is built at the intersection of [Highway] 124 and Highway 78 to help ease the traffic congestion. This project is known as Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) project STP-0006-00(439) Gwinnett County, P.I. No. 0006439, Continuous Flow Intersection (CFI) on US 78 at SR 124 and improvements to Henry Clower Boulevard. By ensuring a great partnership with the state, GDOT and GwMA to address this and other projects we can certainly achieve properly designed and well-built highways and other highly visible projects on time and with the proper funding dedicated to such projects.
I chose this city two decades ago and enjoy its many offerings and most importantly the police presence, safety and the leadership. I learn daily from the best and I am looking forward to working with the police department, managers and department heads to ensure that none of the safety elements of our city is hindered in any way, thus affecting our business, guests or citizens.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing Snellville, and how would you approach it? As we all know, the economy took a large hit on our city and many aspects of it contributed to the decline of the housing, forced many foreclosures and closed many businesses. My goal is to work closely with our economic director, planning and zoning manager and our city manager to help promote the city and bring in the right business to our town. I still insist businesses need to remain in the business district and not inside our subdivisions and that is why I will always vote no to crematories’ permits or construction requests aimed at or near our homes.
Do you want to add anything? As many of readers know, we have a divided council split on political point of views. I have no problem with different opinions, but I encourage all including the leaders to engage into productive and constructive conversations. Addressing the future of the city is key. As a longtime resident raising my children here in the city, I believe in the city and its future. Please accept my humble contribution and reach out to me any time to help answer any of your questions. Together we can bring the necessary stability and strong growth to our home sweet home.