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Commissioners’ priorities take shape

LAWRENCEVILLE — Three months after setting priorities for their work, commissioners met in a day-long work session to get updates on the issues.

Since the May strategic planning sessions, county officials have met to devise some strategies on the goals, including taking another look at a slate of ethics rules, as leaders work to regain public trust after a series of criminal proceedings involving commissioners.

The most concrete work has come from a combined goal of economic development and revitalization, with officials showing how a renewed effort on infrastructure has helped some of the county’s older areas.

While the addition of sidewalks along areas with a lot of foot traffic and upgrades to damaged curbs have helped people see renewed investments in the community, Transportation Director Kim Conroy said his department has also seen recent gains in rehabbing old speed humps and street lights as well as replacing rusty and dingy signs.

“The predominant reason we did this was not to make it look pretty,” he said, pointing out that many of the old, dilapidated structures and signs were causing safety problems. “But it makes a big difference. We like to think it helps to revitalize the area, and encourage people to take better care of their own property.”

Officials discussed taking a sampling of 10 to 20 older neighborhoods to see if a concerted effort can make a difference in decaying communities.

With a “recalibration” coming of a long-range plan approved just as the economy began to dip several years ago, officials are also considering a resetting of the local tax allocation districts, which were approved in 2009 but never implemented because property values dropped so low that any redevelopment project would have a hard time making enough of an improvement in values to actually gain any money for the project.

Despite a priority to build and retain a quality work force, leaders were slow to discuss any potential raises for county employees, since officials are now grappling with the cost of health care during a budgeting process currently under way.

But after four years without an increase, leaders acknowledged that many employees are beginning to leave the organization.

Despite an increase in help from volunteers, officials said the retention of staff is a big problem, and training costs are high because of the turn-over.

For the final priority of ensuring the water supply, Water Resources Director Ron Siebenhenner said the county’s short term needs for the next couple of decades are safe, but the foundation is being laid for the long-term, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers devises a new plan for Lake Lanier.

“I think there is a lot of good information that has gone around,” Commissioner Lynette Howard said of the planning session. “It’s a good, positive, ‘moving forward’ experience for me.”

Officials talked about receiving quarterly updates to the goals.

“Going through this process has helped us focus our resources,” Howard said.

Comments

kevin 7 months, 3 weeks ago

evidently their goals are NOT the goals of many of us. This is why they need more of our money to spend. I also guess they are a force behind the change in the GDP's commenting policy to use Facebook. they want to know who is bad-mouthing them. Haven't we had enough with the NSA spying on us, not the Post and its supporters are going to be doing the same. What is happening to our privacy?

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Why_not 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It sounds like you are paranoid......

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R 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Just cause he may BE paranoid doesn't make him wrong...

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LilburnLady 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Here are some priorities for the Planning Commissioners:

1) Ethics, accountability to the taxpayers and transparency. Make it a requirement that rezoning requests cannot be done under the shield of an "LLC" name. Require that every person who stands to gain financially from the rezoning, be listed on the application.

2) End the practice of "district courtesy". Commissioners should vote on the basis of their own opinion of a rezoning, not just because the commissioner for that district is in favor of it. That commissioner might be acting in his/her own best interest. How many commissioners voted along with Kevin Kenerly on rezonings that were based on bribes from people like David Jenkins? Commissioners need to do their jobs, do their own research and make their own decisions, not just blindly follow the herd.

3) Ease the adverse effects of too much development on our schools, traffic and infrastructure. Require traffic studies be done by developers and require that planning commissioners really look at the impacts to schools, roads and emergency services that are already severely overburdened. Require impact fees from developers whose projects add children to schools that are already over capacity and add more traffic to already over-loaded streets.

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JimmyOrr 7 months, 3 weeks ago

LilburnLady, you have my vote. Also, how about creating a website that promotes transparency by allowing citizens to track spending. It might surprise the BOC that there may be a few of us rank & file citizens out here who know a thing or two about budgets.

My name is James H. (Jimmy) Orr, Jr. and although I am not a candidate for any elected office, I approve this comment. There, maybe this will pass muster with the GDP.

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LilburnLady 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Great idea. I was always curious to know how much of our tax money Charles Bannister wasted on his little junket to China before he was forced to resign for lying to a Grand Jury. Wouldn't it be wonderful to know how our money is really being spent?

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GeorgiaResident 7 months, 3 weeks ago

In summary, no raises for county employees. The police department can't hire officers fast enough to replace the ones leaving. I bet they find the money for more parks, and of course over half a million dollars for sidewalks along gang infested Club Dr.

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