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Suwanee budget funds public safety, improved technology

SUWANEE - On Thursday, Suwanee officials adopted a $12.9 million balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget becomes effective July 1. No city tax increase and no change in the 5.77 millage rate will occur to support the budget.

City Manager Marty Allen presented the budget Thursday during the third and final public hearing regarding the 2008-09 budget. He explained the challenges the public safety initiative will address, including the addition of new police officers.

"As new cities come online and nearby jurisdictions add officers, it has become increasingly difficult to recruit and retain quality police officers." As a result, Suwanee will test a program that allows officers to take their police cars home.

"(This is) a benefit that is very attractive to many officers," Allen said.

The new budget also provides for technological enhancements, such as digital records storage and a revamped city Web site.

Other funded projects include necessary provisions for opening Sims Lake Park, completion of the city's individual stormwater permit and staff salary adjustments and annual bond payments.

The budget was approved unanimously by city council members.

Suwanee residents and students recognized for achievements

Mayor Dave Williams recognized several individuals Thursday for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the city.

Jeff Nalley and Ben Tharpe, owners of Suwanee Creek Bicycles, were honored for their volunteer efforts during the recent Tour de Georgia. Tharpe and Nalley also donated a bicycle in promotional efforts leading up to the race.

Brittlan Wall, a student at North Gwinnett High School, is a two-time champion of the Interscholastic Equestrian Association. About 500 students participated in the competition, held in Massachusetts.

Sidney Copeland, another North Gwinnett student, is a Scholastic Art and Writing National Award Winner. Copeland's entry was a digital image of the high school bleachers.

Special-use permit OK'd for multi-story hotel

City leaders approved a special-use permit for a building height increase for a hotel to be built in the city's Interstate 85 business district. The hotel will be located on about 2 acres on Gwinco Boulevard, north of Old Peachtree Road.