Published on February 21st, 2018 |0
J.P. Matzigkeit discusses his new role as Dist. 8 City Council member
In November, Chastain Park resident J.P. Matzigkeit won the Atlanta City Council District 8 seat, to replace Yolanda Adrean, who did not seek re-election. Prior to that, Matzigkeit was known as CFO of the global tech-fitness company Wahoo Fitness, and as the co-founder of the Chastain Park Conservancy organization.
Councilman Matzigkeit was named as this year’s chair of the City Utilities Committee. He will also serve as a member of both the Transportation and Finance/Executive committees.
In an interview with BuckheadView, the councilman took the time to address questions regarding why he decided to seek office; what he hopes to accomplish for the City of Atlanta and his district; and, how his family feels about him holding office.
He is not only focused on his district, but on the City of Atlanta as he responds to questions from BuckheadView and shares his views while starting his first term:
Q. Why did you decide to run for office?
A. “I believe if you truly care about something you need to be willing to step up to contribute. I live in District 8, I work in District 8 and our son goes to school in District 8. I care about District 8 and recognize the important role the City of Atlanta plays in our lives.
“I have 30 plus years of business and nonprofit experience and believed I could best continue to serve my community as a member of City Council. It is an honor to represent the constituents of District 8 and I look forward to working with them to continue to move our community forward.”
Q. What do you hope to accomplish for the city while in office?
A. “My goal is to be an advocate for District 8 and to help move our city forward. Atlanta will grow significantly over the next 10 to 20 years. I want the city, and District 8 in particular, to flourish as we grow. This means we need to focus on public safety, mobility, watershed infrastructure, city services and financial security.”
Q. What are some of your goals and objectives for District 8?
A. “On the campaign trail, I listened and learned what constituents want for our district and our city. My priorities grew out of these conversations and include police and fire protection, citywide mobility, clean water, well-maintained streets, efficient city services, vibrant parks and, of course, a Upload Filessolid financial base.
“Public safety is one of my top priorities. We must feel safe in our homes and in our neighborhoods. I will work to reach our citywide goal of 2,000 police officers and ensure our district gets the appropriate share of those officers. I will push to give our public safety officers the tools and support they need to do their jobs. This means assessing how Zone 2 police are distributed, effectively deploying technology, ensuring officers are housed in up-to-date facilities and treating public safety as a fundamental civic investment.
“I also want to provide District 8 residents the best constituent services possible. My office will always be open to questions or service requests. We will work to address such things as incorrect water bills and tire-destroying potholes. We will work to keep you informed and involved through a monthly newsletter, outreach to neighborhood planning units and neighborhood associations and by participating in community events.”
Q. Are there any legislative issues that you see directly impacting Buckhead? Do you foresee introducing any legislation?
A. “All city legislation directly or indirectly impacts Buckhead. On Jan. 16, I was proud to co-sponsor legislation to authorize the mayor to start the process of releasing the deeds to Atlanta Public School (APS) properties that the city still holds. This has been an area of contention between the city and APS for too long. I am eager to help resolve this issue.”
Councilman Matzigkeit addressed being Chair of the City Utilities Committee and as a member of both the Transportation and Finance/Executive committees. The Utilities Committee works with various City departments including Office of Sustainability, Department of Watershed Management and the Department of Public Works. The committee also tracks the budget, monitors cash flow and debt of the Capital Improvement Plan related to storm water improvements, storm water infrastructure maintenance and maintaining water rates.
Q. As Chair of the Utilities Committee, what are your concerns and what do you hope to accomplish? Do you see any improvements that need to be addressed? What do you hope to accomplish as chair of the committee?
A. “The City Utilities Committee plays a critical role in the health and well-being of Atlanta and the nearby communities that use its water. In the short term, the city must be responsive to concerns of current residents, from ensuring clean and abundant water to accurate and timely bills. Taking a longer view, we must ensure that our watershed infrastructure will support Atlanta’s population growth. The city needs to start preparing for this influx now, and as City Utilities chair, I will help lead this discussion.”
Q. You are also on the Transportation and Finance/Executive committees. Being on all three committees, how do you see it affecting Buckhead? And, are there any changes that are needed?
A. “We need to make it easier to move around Atlanta. Some projects—clearing bottlenecked intersections, resurfacing roads, filling potholes—can begin immediately with TSPLOST and Renew Atlanta money. Other projects—expanding MARTA, widening sidewalks and bike paths, introducing rapid transit bus lanes, developing regional and intergovernmental transportation infrastructure—will take longer. Both are crucial to Atlanta’s long-term growth and success.
“District 8 has several pending projects under the Renew Atlanta bond program. I will work with the community and city departments to ensure they are appropriately designed and completed. My office will also work with the Renew Atlanta team to keep affected residents informed of proposed projects and to provide notice of work before it begins.
“All of my priorities for the City and our district rest on Atlanta’s financial health. My predecessor, Yoland Adrean, fought to help our city recover from the Great Recession and she vigilantly tracked the city’s spending. As a member of the council’s Finance Committee, I will do the same. Taxpayer dollars need to go where they are intended. The city must invest in basic city services—trash collection, police and fire protection, clean water, transportation, and fair development—but these programs must be efficient and financially responsible.”
“In addition, I will utilize my experience in compensation, benefits and finance to appropriately work through several remaining pension and retiree healthcare issues, which represent over $1 billion in liabilities for the city, and develop solutions that are fiscally responsible and also fair for city employees and retirees.”
Q. Are there any infrastructure projects on the radar? Are there any matters of importance that will impact Buckhead, i.e. transportation, parking, etc.?
A. “District 8 will see new infrastructure projects over the coming months and years. In terms of traffic and street infrastructure, we will be developing the West Wieuca PATH and rebuilding the Power Ferry Bridge. We also have Renew Atlanta funds to spend on road paving and filling potholes to ease street traffic and damage to vehicles. I will look into improving our most congested intersection with synchronized stop lights, additional turn arrows, and eventually, a centrally-controlled light system.
“We also need to invest in our public safety infrastructure. I recently toured Firehouse 26 ([located at] Moores Mill and Howell Mill roads) and was shocked at the condition of the building. We need to make sure that the women and men who keep us safe are kept comfortable and safe in their workplace.
“Additionally, I will build on the neighborhood camera initiative Councilmember Adrean began. This program has proven effective at deterring crime and a valuable tool in catching criminals, helping to keep our neighborhoods, family and property safe.”
Councilman Matzigkeit was asked about his family’s feelings about him holding office and about Chastain Park Conservancy (CPC) that he co-founded. He mentioned that he is supported by his family in many ways as council member. His wife Linda is Chief Administrative Officer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and his son Grant is a junior at Westminster and an avid triathlete.
“As the District 8 council member, I will continue to be involved. For example, I am working with the Conservancy, the Chastain Park Partners and Chastain Park Civic Association on the West Wieuca PATH improvements, and my wife and I are hosting the Wine Chastain fundraiser for the Conservancy on April 21st.”
“As District 8 Councilman, I want to make it easier for all my constituents to access our city’s beautiful parks. That is why I’m eager to apply my experience at the Conservancy as an advocate for all the parks and greenspace in our district.”
Councilman Matzigkeit added that communication and resident engagement is a priority of his. “They are welcome to reach out to me with any concerns and can reach my office at (404) 330-6051 or jpmatzigkeit@AtlantaGA.gov. I will have a monthly newsletter to inform residents of any upcoming events, legislation, and important district news.”