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Barrow mayors report on the states of their cities

WINDER - More than 180 people gathered Tuesday morning to hear Barrow County's mayors detail the news of their cities in the State of the Cities addresses.

Auburn Mayor Harold Money announced he would not seek another term as Auburn's mayor. Money's term expires Dec. 31.

"We need some new blood in Auburn," Money said, who mentioned he was asked to not talk about unified government or annexations.

Barrow County is suing Auburn over November's mass annexation of land islands, claiming the city did not follow proper procedure.

Auburn's achievements

Money said he will ask Auburn City Council for an additional $2 million to complete construction of a new 750,000-gallon water tank that Money said will let Auburn buy more water from Barrow County. In 2006, Auburn broke ground on a $1.1 million library building for which Auburn donated a 1-acre tract behind City Hall.

"Auburn's going to boom in the next two or three years, and I'm going to miss being the mayor," Money said.

Impact fees helped fund Braselton's first two

city-built buildings

Braselton Mayor Pat Graham announced that Braselton workers constructed the town's first city-built structures in its 87-year history. Funds from impact fees, which Braselton adopted in 2005, funded construction of the new library and police/courthouse.

"We chose not to burden our citizens with property taxes," Graham said.

Braselton has no property taxes.

Those fees are also building a public utilities and planning building, scheduled to be completed in April.

In 2006, Braselton was named Georgia's 8th Water First City, Progressive Lighting relocated its corporate headquarters into its city limits and Braselton partnered with Barrow County to build a 71-acre soccer complex near Ga. Highway 124.

Graham said Braselton officials will explore legislation that will give the city more development powers and they will explore community improvement district grants.

"The historic downtown area has not seen the kind of development we wanted," Graham said. "We hope a tax allocation district will help bring redevelopment into the area."

Statham preserving

greenspace

In 2006, Statham received a $299,000 Georgia Land Conservation grant to buy 20 acres for greenspace.

"Statham is rapidly being taken up by subdivisions," Mayor Robert Bridges said. "In Phase Two of our master plan we will be building golf cart trails."

Winder operating on a

$28 million budget with

no property taxes

Mayor Buddy Ouzts outlined Winder's list of 2006 accomplishments achieved with no property taxes. The majority of Winder's budget comes from gas revenue.

The $17 million Cedar Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant should be completed by the end of 2007, Ouzts said. The plant that treats 1 million gallons per day through spray field application will raise its capacity to a 4 million gallon direct discharge facility when completed.

"We are 32 days ahead of schedule," said Bob Beck, city administrator.

According to Ouzts, 40 uniformed Winder police officers answered 16,000 calls in 2006, and 39 firefighters at two stations answered 1,100 calls.

Workers completed the Jackson Street parking lot and maintained 200 miles of city streets. A new adult day care center will be built, thanks to a $500,000 and a $100,000 match from both Winder and Barrow County.

Bethlehem Mayor Wayne Ridgeway and Carl Mayor David Brock were absent.

In other business in Tuesday's Good Morning Barrow County Breakfast, sponsored by the Winder-Barrow Chamber of Commerce:

Chamber of Commerce members named WIMO-AM radio as February's Business of the Month.

John McClure and Tory Ponder were named Apalachee High School's students of the month for January and February respectively.

Jefferson Duffy (January) and Brittany Landry (February) were named Winder-Barrow High School's students of the month.