• Jay Lin: Violated his Taxpayer Protection Pledge

    By Staff
    September 11, 2016
    Many of you may recall the flurry of mailers from the last City Council election. Jay Lin spent tens of thousands of dollars on Giant postcards stating "No tax increases" &  is "committed to holding the line on spending and rolling back the millage rate". Yet, Jay Lin: Violated his Taxpayer Protection Pledge and voted for every tax increase that came his way.
    Below is a mailer from his campaign indicating he sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. This document is a PROMISE "to oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes."


    Councilman Jay Lin was sworn in January 2016

    Since then he has voted for 3 tax increases:
    1) Voted to Allow an IGA for TSPLOST on the ballot - Largest tax increase EVER in Johns Creek
    2) Voted to place a $40 million Park bond on the ballot
    3) Lin made a motion for keeping millage rate same (which was a 3% tax increase) He Voted AGAINST reducing the millage rate (which reduced taxes)
     Here is a link to the video from the millage rate vote. Watch Jay Lin in action.

    This is NOT the first time Jay Lin has fallen through on his campaign promises.  He struggled to attend Council meetings not that long ago...

    We reached out for comments from Jay Lin's election opponents. Todd Burkhalter did not reply. Below is from Chris Coughlin.

    "While this doesn't surprise me as we often see our elected representatives vote against their campaign rhetoric that got them elected, I'm surprised in this instance that Councilman Lin has flip-flopped so quickly in his term.

    I'm also confused of why, in the same meeting, he thought we could cut the budget by four to six percent, but then was the one to motion to increase property taxes by approximately three percent.

    As I've developed a friendship with Jay following the election, I'd encourage him to clarify his positions and philosophy as that would be in the best interest of the citizens, and come in line with the positions he espoused on the campaign trail for the remaining three years of his term."

    - Chris Coughlin


    Finally, end your thoughts on Jay Lin: Violated his Taxpayer Protection Pledge to [email protected]



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    John Bradberry

    When politicians don’t vote the way they promised or campaigned, it leads to the distrust and cynicism and apathy that we see.

    Jacqueline Bass

    I think the major problem is that politicians make promises to not raise taxes because WE make that an issue. It's unrealistic and unsustainable. We all want services and amenities in our city. We have to pay for them. It's simple math.


    A person is only as good as his word. When he/she violates his pledge he/she loses all credibility. It's not all about saying what you need to to get elected...its about governing as you promise.


    Of course we make it an issue. Look at the money governments waste. Certainly we don't want to give more money to them to waste in the future.

    Consider the difference between the ESPLOST and other taxes. Before ESPLOST passed, we already saw the results of the our dollars we had been spending on education. What did the voters do?

    Because we saw the Return on Investment, we voted in ESPLOST.

    We are still waiting to see the results of the have a billion plus dollars that Johns Creek has spent over the last ten years.

    If a politician has to mislead the voters to get enough votes to win, and then goes against that very platform in the first year, what exactly have we elected?

    What else has Mr. Lin misrepresented? High density housing? Zoning issues? Central Business District?

    Perhaps we are so jaded that we think all politicians lie to get elected. But we do have choices and we do get to make them.

    Lin's opponent, Mr Coughlin, tried to tackle the issues these politicians have not wanted to address, and that was all in his first meeting: Business taxes, traffic, City Charter. Mr. Coughlin contributed more in one meeting that Lin has done all year.

    It's up to us, the voters to hold these officials to our standards, and not have them forcing their standards upon us.

    Mr. Coughlin, where are you? Please forgive us for not supporting you for the full term.

    We will pay that price in our wallets and in our City Budget.

    Jacqueline Bass

    I agree with you in principle. However, I don't agree that all government is wasteful. It's a tired line that is out there and people like to run with it. Take the parks bond, for example. Many are protesting it saying the city doesn't have any real plans, which simply isn't so. There are plans and there is a budget, formed from real estimates provided by professionals that care about improving our city in various ways. There is a lot of long range visioning that takes place and many just don't have the patience to accept that or even try to understand it. The parks bond is a good thing, yet the misinformation I keep seeing out there is really disheartening.


    There is no plan for the Parks Bond. Have you seen the plans? They are vague at best. They are working against the clock, and they admitted as much.

    The professionals are hired from outside because we do not have the experience on our staff to do anything ourselves. They will be long gone before the first bag of sand hits the playground. And our staff is some of the highest paid in the region.

    Why the rush for the Parks Bond? Why the $40,000,000 value on the bond?

    Because that is what the experts said they could extract from us and have it pass. Had they said more, say $60 million, or $80 million, they would have gone for more. Watch the work sessions, and see the process.

    And despite not having a list of specifics to present to us, it's more important to get their hands on the money.

    Haste makes waste. There's a reason it's true. If this parks bond passes, we'll see it up close and personal.

    Trust us is their motto. Trust must be earned. So far it has not been.

    Jacqueline Bass

    I'm sorry, but you are incorrect. There is a plan; I've seen a part of it. I'm one of those professionals who has contributed to it - one of those "experts" whom you suggest is trying to extract money from you just because we can (though I contributed all my efforts in doing so as a volunteer, not as a paid professional). I'm also a Johns Creek resident and taxpayer. I'm also on the board of a non-profit that helps run one of our parks, which is a volunteer position I've held for many years. I won't be long gone, as you so say. I'm committed and invested and have lived in this area raising my children, improving our city buildings, and contributing to our community since 2002. So are the other wonderful hardworking people I work with at the non-profit. Many of them have family roots in this area for that go back generations, and all of us care deeply about the area.

    You commented on another thread concerning our city's heritage. How can you suggest we not support this bond if you think the city should protect our heritage? How do you suggest they protect what we have left if not through stewardship? This is a public purpose that benefits our citizens. Parks, whether recreational, passive or cultural, provide enrichment to all of us. The bond also goes towards protecting additional lands from future development, which we desperately need in Johns Creek. Look what has been lost so far in the absence of proper planning. But also look at what has been saved. Several years ago there were people commenting that the historic Newtown School should be torn down calling it an eyesore because it was shuttered and not being used for quite some time. Now look at it. It is a vibrant community center benefiting seniors, and other community members through programs and activities. It adds interest and beauty to our landscape and serves as an anchor for surrounding activities in Newtown Park. Concerned community members saved that school. Fulton County saved that school. The City of Johns Creek saved that school. I know this because that was my preservation project.

    Please try to learn more about what this bond actually represents. It is important and I fear you have not gotten the full picture of its value for our citizens.


    Well spoken, thank you.


    I am also a long time resident of Johns Creek as well. Do not take it personally. I am talking of the paid professionals that the City has to hire to come in and tell us what we need to do. I am talking about the highly paid staff on Findley Road. From the CBD to the Bonds people who had to tell us how to poll and come up with the bond amounts. We have spent a ton of money for those "professionals".

    I also suggest you go back and read the Land Use plan we had in 2001 citing what we had hoped to have by 2015. We were trying to preserve the rural character of this area.

    Larger lots and less density were the direction and not smaller lots and higher densities. Johns Creek made a U Turn somewhere.

    I'll also point out you did not need a bond to save Newtown Park or to create what it is today.


    We are going to spend from 33 to 71 Million dollars. Where is the detail?

    Is this $40 million dollar bond just a down payment? Or payment in full?

    If this City Council wants $40 million, they should be much better prepared than that grid of projects that has been shared with the voters.

    How do we protect what we have left historically?

    I think that horse has left the barn.

    That is an unfortunate truth.

    Jacqueline Bass

    The bond amounts were based on the city's budget for planned projects. These budgets were developed, in part, as a result of cost estimates that were provided with development plans for parks.These estimates were provided by consultants, paid and volunteer, and by City staff. This is not a new concept or even an unreasonable one. If the City has determined through their constituents that a certain project would be beneficial, why is working with consultants, again - both paid and volunteer - a concern? By augmenting their planning process by working with specialized consultants, they ensure they're making informed decisions.

    Some of these plans - such as the land use plan of 2001 - don't always get implemented in full because new information becomes available that shows there may be a better way to develop an area for future growth. Higher density development isn't necessarily a bad thing when compared to lower density build out on larger lots. The trade off is usually cluster developments of smaller lots, with a larger, cohesive parcel of open space being designated for public use by all. The alternative results in lots of properties with larger yards that are private. The value to the public is in how you look at it.

    Newtown Park may not have required a bond, but the development of Newtown School used CDBG funds, which some people have criticized given it brings the federal government into the mix. There are always people who are going to question the approach to a project, one way or the other, if they don't support it or don't learn about the details. As for learning more details about the projects being funded by the parks bond, there is a meeting this Thursday that will provide a great opportunity to do just that.

    Yes, unfortunately, the decisions and lack of planning in the past have resulted in a significant loss of historic resources in our area. This extends back to the years way before Johns Creek was even a city, however. Today, we need to make decisions that protect and interpret what we have left, and promote future growth that we all enjoy. If you take a closer look, there are still places left to protect. Supporting projects that seek to do this, like some of those that are covered by the bond, is an important step in that direction. This bond will help preserve cultural landscapes, historic buildings and structures, open space, and environmentally sensitive resources, among other things.


    @Jacqueline Bass

    Point of correction. The bond amounts are ACTUALLY based on what would likely pass from phone surveys with likely voters.

    Some council members wanted a bigger number, approximately $90million and that was not feasible to pass on the ballot.

    If you look at the amounts on the general park list, those are STARTING numbers, NOT the total cost.

    If you follow city meetings, it is important to note that the council passed a resolution for the option to pay the reserves back $22million for the prior park purchases of the TPA retention ponds and Cauley creek sewer facility & land.

    If that is done, then $18 million is left for park improvements. Which could cost us $36million once the bond is repaid.

    Jacqueline Bass

    I appreciate the clarification on the bond, itself. However, please note that I said the budgets were based, in part, as a result of development cost estimates for the slated projects. They weren't made up numbers without a plan, as has been suggested by some people frustrated with the mere idea of the bond. Also, my larger issue with the original post was the suggestion that we shouldn't be raising taxes for this purpose, or supporting candidates that suggest we do. I think it is unrealistic and unsustainable promise to ever suggest that a growing community can thrive without every raising taxes.


    @Jacqueline Bass

    In the Parks & Rec design open house last month, consultants had 3 designs for each pocket park, and the residents got to put a dot sticker on their favorite.

    No prices were listed on the designs. When asked about cost, they'll get to that later, in October.

    There were some very neat plans, but it is hard to decide without a price tag.

    Choice A may be "nicer" than choice B, and if it is $10million vs $2million, residents may prefer choice B because of the cost variable, because that one was pretty good too.

    So is the City rushing this? Absolutely and council members have stated so on the dais. They rush most things and with incomplete information.

    Further more the park bond would have no effect on the Cemetery. According to FOIA documents, Fulton County has funds allocated and dispensed to the City categorized as Special Service District (SSD). It is unknown the status of those funds. City Staff are working on that.


    Furthermore, this post isn't about raising taxes or not. It is about a candidate, now councilman who campaigned HARD on an issue of not raising taxes only to flip flop.

    Read the mailers on the top of the post.


    Jay - Man up and meet your obligations and honor your commitments. I am positive that your constituents from both within and OUTSIDE of Johns Creek who bought your seat through their campaign contributions want you to do the right thing!!!

    Michael Pelot-Hobbs

    Technically, Jay Lin did not vote for a tax increase. Not voting for the slight reduction in the millage rate I do not understand and needs to be explained. His other two votes - having the electorate decide whether to increase our taxes to address specific transportation, parks and recreation issues - I do understand and concur. Let the voters decide.


    Keeping the millage rate the same resulted in a 3% increase.

    Michael Pelot-Hobbs

    So help me understand the editor's logic. If there were 10,000 housing units in the city with a digest value of $3b and 1,000 new units were built and added to the digest at the same per unit value, you would keep the total tax revenue the same AND ...
    1. Provide zero city services to the new residential owners or
    2. Reduce the per resident services (police, fire, street maintenance, etc) in order to serve the new housing units?


    Just because a Company adds more production does not necessarily require a larger factory or more personal to meet production.

    Maybe the company was not operating at full capacity, maybe their staff just required more training.

    Maybe they just needed to change out some of the staff to get better Personal at the same cost, maybe a job could be automated to meet the higher production with less personal.

    There are many things that can be done to provide more Services without an increase in cost.

    As a matter of fact with the increase in technology, many jobs can be done more efficiently at a lower cost than previously done.

    The same holds true for the public sector. Just because the area grew does not necessarily mean we need to grow the city staff and responsibilities.


    Why is it always the larger a city gets the more expensive it becomes?

    Why do we never see any economies of scale?


    The point of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is to protect taxpayers from TAXES
    Of all kinds, including ballot proposals.

    It is to stop the concept of increased taxes, so voters do not have to decide, they know the elected official is doing the worked they were elected to do, that they promised to do.

    Michael Pelot-Hobbs

    "...it may be said with some truth that laws are made for the few not for the many" James Madison, 2/27/1788.

    A pledge by those making the laws being so powerful that they cannot be overridden by the Will of the People through the ballot box is not something our Founding Father's envisioned for our Republic.


    Nothing is wrong with having items on the ballot for voters to decide.
    The problem is saying one thing, and then doing another.

    Have a look back at this campaign questionnaire.
    Jay Lin was against the TSPLOST and Park bond, and mentioned lowering the millage rate.

    Ironically, his opponent Chris Coughlin would support a bond referendum to let the voters decide...

    Interestingly, the voters decided on Jay Lin as their councilman, and the voters got the opposite of what they voted for.


    Shooter Sal

    Keep in mind, while Chris Coughlin spent only $2400 for his entire campaign, Jay Lin paid almost $ 70,000.00 just between his con sultant and manager(both who also EXCLUSIVELY wrote his script for him!)

    Jay was tutored and coached, just like Bodker-puppet Deadwood. Both these candidates were NEVER interested in public debates at all. All their material were written(and submitted) by others for them. This is nothing but plain-old fraud and trickery perpetrated on the citizens of Johns Creek.

    While we were lucky that Dowood lost, we are stuck with Lyin Lin for another 3 years. This guy either has no grasp of the English language, or he just played us like a fiddle. Let's hope(??) he has the decency to resign NOW.



    Because the tax digest INCREASED, the city was REQUIRED by state law to advertise notice of a TAX INCREASE.
    You can debate the semantics of whether this was a tax increase, or not. State Law says it was....



    That was the case for years back.

    This year it wasn't obligated to advertise as the digest increase went up due to increase revenue and not property value.

    EJ Moosa

    Here's an idea: Why not have the City of Johns Creek issue a product like Savings Bonds to the Public?

    We can call them "Park Investment Bonds". Then those that want to invest more heavily in the Parks can take their dollars directly to City Hall, and get a PIB. The PIB can pay a rate of interest tied to some basket of funds.

    Those that adamantly want to support this effort can do so directly and as much as they desire, and earn a market rate of interest for doing so.

    When the residents see positive results, they can ramp up their investments. And if they see negative results, then they can curtail.

    If the City is on the right path, then the residents will affirm that, and I'd wager they would get a lot more than the $40 million.

    And if they are not, we will know that as well.

    Mr KnowItAll

    Against my expectations when I voted for him, Mr. Lin has proven to be a very poor city councilman. He has not taken leadership on ANY city issues, and stays closely under the wing and control of the mayor. as well as a lack of depth of understanding of what is being decided on behalf of Johns Creek constituents.
    I was hoping for someone--not necessarily against the mayor--but an independent-minded fiscal conservative.
    But the above video depicts what I see in Jay Lin---a weak sister,---someone overwhelmed with the detailed business of the city, and "over his head" in decision making.
    And now we can add--unaccountable--to his campaign pledge.

    Perhaps another line of work is in order for Councilman Lin.

    Li Liu

    Humble request to Jay:



    Ms. Bass, Thank you for your comments. However, are you aware that the City Manager earns $ 250,000 a year with his benefits? Wow! The Mayor of New York City earns $ 225,000? What's wrong with this picture?

    And do we really need a staff of Five (5) Public Relations employees?

    I agree we need Parks, however, there is nothing in their plan on how these parks will be maintained as per Ms. Jennifer Chapman. A budget for maintenance is not included in this referendum. I guess we will figure that out along the way...So, in true JC fashion, will we hire a highly paid Director of Parks and then a large staff of employees to maintain them. More layers of expensive government.

    There needs to be tabs on the spending in the City of Johns Creek.


    Chris C. needs to run again for city council! He ran a pretty close race against Jay last time. Too bad he didn;t win then!


    Suzi, rumor has it that Councilwoman Davenport will not be running again in the next election (we can only hope). Excellent suggestion to have Mr. Coughlin run for that open seat!


    It's a good thing Jay voted to let the voters decide on Parks Bond and TSPLOST. Both were passed! TSPLOST barely but the Parks Bond by a big margin.

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