Meet the two new members of Flowery Branch City Council

In recent years, he began attending Flowery Branch board meetings with his friend Ed Asbridge – who would later become a board member and is now mayor – and would support Asbridge’s candidacy.

McClellan decided to run for office when Farah’s post was opened.

He sees his entry into the elected office “an extension” of his public involvement.

“Instead of sitting there, I’ll be sitting up there,” he said, referring to the council table. “I’ll listen to the same things, but now I’ll be able to have a voice and talk about these things that come up.”

McDaniel became interested in local government as a police officer in Braselton, where he handed over meeting agenda files to council members and occasionally told them about what was going on.

Since that duty, local government “has always been on my mind,” he said.

The army veteran spent several years in law enforcement before changing careers. He and his wife bought an old restaurant on Main Street in Flowery Branch and turned it into Southern Grace, a flower shop / boutique which later closed. McDaniel has since obtained his commercial real estate license.

During the process, McDaniel said he “got to know the downtown area and met all the local business owners.”

More businesses is the key to growth, but he said that “the more people who come in, the better your chances of seeing these things come in,” McDaniel said.

He said he was concerned that even as the city grows, few residents will be connected to the workings of local government – something he bases on low voter turnout.

“I want to see how to get more community involvement and what I think would help is reopening the (downtown) block parties,” McDaniel said.

McClellan said he considered being “more educated” a priority when he took office.

“I understand the (full city) plan at a high level,” he said. “I understand why it’s there and how it works, but I need to get more involved and be more interested in it.

“I absolutely agree that you have to have a plan and I also agree that messing up the plan can mess things up sometimes. But it’s kind of like in war … sometimes you have to make adjustments for what’s going on on the ground.

He also wants to know more about the city’s finances, such as what constitutes the tax base.

A key question for him is “how do we take some of the burden of the tax base off the shoulders of those like me and get more businesses to level this a bit?”

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