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Mason gives first State of the City address for Peachtree Corners

Special Photo Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason delivers the state of the city address on Monday.

Special Photo Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason delivers the state of the city address on Monday.

PEACHTREE CORNERS — Monday was a historic day for the city of Peachtree Corners as mayor Mike Mason gave the first State of the City address Monday morning before a packed room of business leaders at the Marriott hotel.

Mason’s address highlighted the accomplishments in the city’s first year, as well as expressing his vision for the future.

“The state of our city is good and we’re on the right track to make it better,” Mason said. “A limited-services city works.”

Mason said he was proud of the way the city council has worked together, putting their differences aside for the betterment of the city. “You ever seen a Republican pothole?” he asked. “What about a Democratic pothole? A pothole is just a pothole that needs to be fixed. The same goes for issues within our city. Our council works together to do what’s best for the city.

“Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t disagreements because there are a lot of disagreements. But we all want what’s best for the city and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to do that.” Since the city came into existence a year ago, three city employees (city manager Julian Jackson, community planning director Diane Wheeler and city clerk Kym Chereck) have been hired, as well as the city taking over planning and zoning, code enforcement and trash.

“We’re still negotiating our trash deal with WastePro, but it’s going to be a great deal for the residents,” Mason said. “We were in a position where we could provide our residents cheaper trash services compared to Gwinnett County, so we did it.”

Buying up 20.8 acres across from The Forum shopping center was another highlight in the city’s first year. Mason recalled how he was told a first-year city shouldn’t be able to do this, but with the work of so many parties, it happened.

“There were going to be apartments over there, and while more apartments are needed in the city, it wasn’t the right use for that piece of property,” Mason said. “We’ve put out RFPs on it and are hoping to make that our town center with some green space.”

While everything Mason mentioned was one of the highlights in the first year of the city, he noted that the biggest highlight was reducing the millage rate to zero. That happened due in fact to the $1.8 million in business licenses and $1.8 million in franchise fees the city is set to collect this year.

“It’s cheaper to live in Peachtree Corners than it is to live in unincorporated Gwinnett County,” Mason said. “To do that in one year is simply phenomenal.”

In the future Mason said he hopes to see residents filling jobs in the city as well.

“Currently, only 10 percent of our city residents work within the city,” he said. “We hope to make it more in the future. And it starts with revitalizing Technology Park and other office parks. We want businesses to come here and show that the city is a great place to live, work and play. But it’s going to take us working together.

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”