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Johnson delivers Norcross State of the City address

Staff Photo: John Bohn Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson delivers the State of the City address Thursday evening at Hyundai Construction Equipment headquarters in Norcross.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson delivers the State of the City address Thursday evening at Hyundai Construction Equipment headquarters in Norcross.

NORCROSS -- City leaders, staff members, local officials and Norcross citizens gathered Thursday in an auditorium at Hyundai Construction Equipment USA, where Mayor Bucky Johnson delivered the Norcross State of the City address.

Hyundai renovated a 225,000-square-foot facility in Norcross and opened for business last year, bringing about 100 new jobs to the growing city.

Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris and Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason were in attendance for the address, as well as Gwinnett Municipal Association Managing Director Randy Meacham and Norcross High School Principal Will Bishop. Johnson took the opportunity to recognize key volunteers in the city and to attribute much of the city's 2011 success to them and to city staff members.

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"Tonight is a celebration of all the great things going on here (in Norcross); 2011 was a busy year," said Johnson, who recently was elected "Man of the Year" and "Favorite Elected Official" by Gwinnett Magazine. The city carries no debt -- a fact that Johnson attributes to City Manager Rudolph Smith's management skills and fiscal responsibility.

The mayor also pointed out the city's implementation of Smart Grid technology, a system that helps monitor and more efficiently utilize electricity.

Hyundai Construction Equipment USA and FedEx Ground facilities made Norcross their home in 2011, and Rock Tenn retained its corporate headquarters in Norcross and is expanding within the city. Annexations brought in Holiday Inn, CarMax, Waffle House and other businesses.

The Gwinnett County Service Delivery Strategy was resolved last Tuesday, an undertaking in which Johnson was instrumental. That settlement will benefit Norcross financially, also.

"It was a long-fought battle. Everyone worked hard, and (County Commission Chairwoman) Charlotte Nash did a great job," Johnson said.

The city's art festival has become one of the most popular in the region, and The Nest arts incubator also recently opened its doors, two more feathers in the cap of a city striving to become known as "a place to imagine."

From infrastructure and transportation improvements to the hiring of police chief Warren Summers, Johnson underscored his belief that, while 2011 was busy and forward-moving, the city is poised for an equally successful 2012.