No fluff, just facts

Meet Johns Creek City Councilmember Chris Coughlin

Chris Coughlin moved to Johns Creek in 2009 for the same reasons you probably did - safety, family friendliness, great schools, and diverse culture. However, after reviewing the decisions of the elected body, Chris encouraged the city to use data-driven decision making to make effective policy. Guided by data, cost‐benefit analyses, and novel best practices, Chris sought to be an example of how science can be more powerful than money. While Johns Creek elected officials commonly spend over $30k to $80k to get elected, he chose to show how it could be done using only 10% of their spending. Essentially, using data to do more for less.

After being elected, Chris has applied this viewpoint to ensure that the residents are getting the most value for their tax dollars, while ensuring the city maintains its greatest asset, a high quality of life. Chris’ resident-first priorities have focused primarily around fiscal responsibility, government efficiency, utilization of novel, technology-based traffic solutions, and protecting our parks and schools. See the Accomplishments tab of some of the progress over the past two years since being elected.

Chris Coughlin's Action Plan for Johns Creek

  • Ensure that the “vision” for the city, and the corresponding government policies, does not negatively affect property values (or, even worse, our actual properties) for those of us living in Johns Creek through fighting overdevelopment, unwanted mixed-used developments, billboards, development authorities, easements, displacements, eminent domain for the “collective good,” cronyism, political intimidation, etc.
  • Since we’re always as ranked as the safest city in Georgia by independent research firms, we need to ensure we continue to support public safety. For example, we’ve added police officers, implemented the Retired Officer Program, added body cameras to our officers, and funded (and near construction) the new fire station so we can raise our families here with little worry. We’re a community that follows the law, invests in and protects our property, respects our neighbors and their property, and want the best for the families that call Johns Creek home. I don’t see that culture changing and, with the support of our public safety, I believe we’ll continue the status as the safest city in Georgia for the foreseeable future.
  • Apply strategies to address traffic congestion through technology and alternative means. We have had substantial success in using analytic methods to address intersections where we can improve mobility and safety, driven in part by the intersection prioritization policy we passed earlier this year. We’ve appropriated funds for the first four intersections on that list for FY2020 and will continue to work through those intersections to improve community mobility. We’ve also applied this data-first mentality to light timing signalization (i.e., setting benchmarks, adjusting the timing algorithms to improve throughput, and show demonstrated efficacy of adjustments when comparing new data against the benchmarks). We’ll continue to partner with innovative collaborators like Waze (see Accomplishments tab) to bring technology to the residents at a reasonable cost to alleviate the burden of congestion in this city. I currently have a couple pilot projects in the works where we’re partnering with tech firms to bring technology to this problem to continue to address the problem with novel technology. We need to also continue to pursue multi-modal lanes to allow pedestrian, cyclist, and golf cart access throughout the city when applicable. Continue to support the most effective TSPLOST projects with 8 of 10 in Tier 1 moving along in some project status like concepts, engineering, and construction. Three of those projects have been designated in construction status with the completion of some of the first few projects coming soon. However, with induced demand, the current belief that we can widen our way out of this problem is antithetical to science and history so we need to address the intersections, light timing, and other methods to get out of our cars before we widen every single road in Johns Creek as some desire.
  • Ensure the $130 million in additional tax revenues are efficiently and appropriately allocated to the parks and capital infrastructure so we can reduce our spending in other areas of our general fund.
  • Implement the parks plan to ensure the community has adequate space for active and passive recreation. Namely, Morton Road Pocket Park, Phase 1 of Cauley Creek Park, Linear Park, enhancements of current parks and Autrey Mill Nature Preserve, etc. are tasked within next couple of years.
  • Currently working on additional alternative means to fulfill gaps between current parks funding and total park desires (i.e., $30 million vs. approx. $58 million). Through some of my past work, we’ve already raised millions with novel investment methods and bond premium issuance. Once Phase 1 of Cauley Creek construction commences, look to pursue additional funding gaps through capital campaigns, non-profit grants, and sponsorships for Phase 2 and Linear Park.
  • Implement sustainability initiatives (e.g., ARC’s Green Community Program, Tree City USA, Historic Preservation Ordinance, etc.) to both save the city money long term and preserve our greenspace and local environment.
  • Reduce millage rate by 15% over 3 year term depending on inflation/deflation. – COMPLETE as of 8/16/2019 per supported reduction to 3.552. Will ensure taxes will remain as low as possible while improving levels of service, which is a common promise in which I’ve delivered.
  • Enact ranked-choice voting to reduce our city election costs by $80k annualized. Indirect benefits of ranked-choice voting also include less negative campaigning, more engagement, and less influence of monetary impact (e.g., less likely to “buy” elections as we see is common here in JC).
  • Address the stormwater concerns through partnerships with other jurisdictions, ACOE, and novel development technologies (e.g., check dams, infiltration vaults, and pervious surface for trails and parking lots, etc.) potentially tied to zoning requirements.
  • Continue to implement community development initiatives (e.g., successful implementation of 2018’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan, tie zoning and land disturbance processes to CLUP, town center master plan, multi-modal policy, etc.) that are essential for smart and sustainable growth in Johns Creek.
  • Continue to implement technological and statistical best practices to improve our return on investment. Through my initiatives over the past couple years (see Accomplishments tab), I’ve researched and performed cost-utility and benefit analyses to save or add millions of dollars in our budget. I have more initiatives (e.g., procurement methods, voluntary revenue streams, reduction of wasteful spending) that I’m currently working to implement in first couple years of a new term.

Check out his Facebook page here for additional detail on his action items. Alternatively, send him an email at to set up a time to chat about any topic.