Bannister: Speech will be 'hopeful'

LAWRENCEVILLE -- After a year of ups and downs in tough financial times, Chairman Charles Bannister said he will give a "hopeful" message in his State of the County speech Wednesday.

Bannister not only gave two state of the county speeches in 2009, but he twice proposed tax increases, an item that eventually passed and gave officials the ability to fully fund services such as police protection.

Bannister said one or two new initiatives could be announced during Wednesday's speech, given during an annual Chamber of Commerce and Council for Quality Growth luncheon.

According to a press release, Bannister will discuss his vision for 2010 as well as review the achievements of 2009 and the citizen-led Engage Gwinnett committee, which will begin a series of public meetings next week on ways to cut the county's budget.

"Gwinnett County is in an exciting time with a future that is promising and hopeful," Chamber President Jim Maran said. "The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners is working hard to create and maintain prosperity ... We are pleased to welcome and hear Chairman Bannister speak at the State of the County Address."

The 11:30 a.m. event at the Gwinnett Center costs $75 for Chamber members and $100 for non-members. To attend, RSVP by e-mailing Nicole Wright at nicole@gwinnettchamber.org or visiting www.gwinnettstateofthecounty.com.