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Former Monroe mayor inducted into hall of fame

MONROE -- Former Monroe Mayor Knox Bell was among three Georgia city government stalwarts inducted into the Municipal Government Hall of Fame in Savannah in June.

Bell, who has served Monroe in several capacities since 1978, was the city's mayor for 12 years. During his tenure, the city experienced an overall decrease of 24 percent in its millage rate, according to the Georgia Municipal Association.

Bell joined retired Calhoun city administrator Cathy Harrison and Aldora Mayor Jimmy Matthews in the June 28 induction.

The Hall of Fame honors municipal leaders who exemplify the best in public service and have made extraordinary contributions to their communities and Georgia's cities.

GMA Executive Director Jim Higdon applauded Bell's adroit handling of water issues as Monroe's mayor.

"While many communities struggled to keep the spigots flowing during recent droughts, (Bell's) city had an abundant supply of water thanks to the vision he and others had to construct and later expand a large reservoir," said Higdon.

Bell is credited with implementing an efficient curbside sanitation operation, upgrading the city's fire department and automating the city's financial operations.

He also championed the creation of a Historic Preservation Commission and Downtown Development Authority, the GMA said.

Bell's other roles in Monroe government have included: commissioner of the Water, Light and Gas Commission; and, as director of the planning department, chief code enforcement officer and chief building official.

At GMA, he chaired the GMA's Building Committee in the mid-1980s and served on the board of directors.