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Commission to hash out 2007 goals

LAWRENCEVILLE - Officials are hoping the clear roads and mountain air help clear their heads to find some creative solutions to Gwinnett's biggest issues.

The Gwinnett Board of Commissioners will convene in Young Harris today with its top staff to review 2006 and plan for 2007.

"Everybody will have an opportunity to give their ideas on what they'd like to see," Chairman Charles Bannister said. "I'm hoping we come away from this with a plan to review our transportation congestion and try to see how much we can do."

Bannister said the county has accomplished a lot in terms of widening roads and bridges and synchronizing lights, but he wants to think bigger to find solutions to the intensifying mobility issue in the growing county.

After a couple of years of trying out a new quality of life unit within the Police Department, Bannister said he wants to see a separate division within the department to focus on the problem.

He also expects to discuss space issues at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, the cumbersome zoning process and other ways to find efficiency within the county government.

The annual retreat brings together the politicians with staff members for about 16 hours of meetings over three days. Sessions include comparisons with other communities and goal setting.

Bannister is also expected to unveil his proposed 2007 budget.

"All 11 county department directors will make presentations to the commissioners on a variety of topics, a process that takes some time but pays great dividends in the long run by helping get everyone on the same page," County Administrator Jock Connell said.