Berkeley Lake mayor sums up 2008, looks ahead to '09

BERKELEY LAKE - Mayor Lois Salter delivered Berkeley Lake's state of the city address Thursday night, summing up her stance on the affairs of the city.

"2008 was a most challenging year for our city," Salter said, citing the concept and design process for the new city hall building as one of last year's biggest projects. With a projected move-in target of June for the new eco-friendly facility, Salter said moving day "will be a great day for Berkeley Lake."

Another development in 2008, according to the mayor, was the beefing up of a police presence in the city. That increased police presence also came with a higher price tag, and Salter opined Thursday that the city would benefit from having its own police force.

Salter said officers employed by the city would have knowledgeable, working relationships with city staff and citizens. Berkeley Lake public safety officers could also enforce city ordinances, and businesses along Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, according to the mayor, may be more open to annexation if Berkeley Lake had its own police force.

Looking to 2009, Salter advised that while the city is "in good shape" financially, this year will bring some challenges. Expecting tax changes to be handed down from the state legislature, Salter warned that some tough decisions may have to be made in the near future. Tax breaks for senior citizens still remain a priority for the mayor, and she urged city council members to consider the best way to offer that assistance to the city's senior population.

Salter ended her address with two recommendations: to improve efficiency of the city staff with better use of technology, and to begin holding an annual "visioning session" early each year with citizen, council and staff input.