Being fiscally responsible is a point of pride for the City of Lawrenceville. The city currently boasts the third largest municipal budget in the Metro Atlanta area just behind Atlanta and Marietta. With revenue streams that include everything from standard property taxes and business fees to a robust utilities’ infrastructure with gas, electric, water, storm water and sanitation services, Lawrenceville strives to be strategic, intentional and practical with every investment.

For the fiscal year 2020, Lawrenceville’s budgetary focus comprises four specific areas — service efficiency, development and redevelopment, infrastructure and human capital investment.

This year, the city has worked into its annual plan some critical enhancements for improved service efficiency. Residential trash pick-up will transition to use of a standardized cart. This $450,000 investment is a simple change that will further support the condensed four-day trash pick-up service that the city implemented in 2019 providing the streets and sanitation crews an extra day in the week to tend to the clean-up and maintenance of public spaces, parks and other publicly utilized facilities, improving efficiency and increasing the level of overall service provided out of this department. Other key improvements in this area include the purchase and implementation of:

♦ The Geographic Information Systems GIS master plan, which includes two new positions and $500,000 in new software and tools.

♦ The financial enterprise resource planning software upgrade for improved processing of financial transactions, utility payments, and human resource solutions. The investment for fiscal year 2020 is $354,000.

♦ A dedicated focus to the implementation of a department-wide police certification program, keeping our officers properly trained and certified to continue protecting and service the community with only the highest standards of excellence.

The city will also engage in strategic public development and redevelopment projects. As begun in 2019, the city will break ground and complete a major facilities’ expansion with the Lawrenceville Performing Arts Center (LPAC) project. This project is a $31,500,000 investment with funds coming from SPLOST and bond funds.

As a partnership with the Aurora Theater, they are committing to raising $7,500,000 in support of the facility. The city will also work to clean up some GDOT properties around town by acquiring them for repurposed needs, investing $500,000 in Fiscal Year 2020. As Lawrenceville continues to watch the South Lawn come to fruition, the city will also complete the relocation and upgrade of its Housing Authority units from right around City Hall to just over off Constitution Blvd.

It will also relocate the fleet fueling station closer to the new Public Works facility, create a passive park where the old fueling station once stood and invest in continued parking improvements in and around the downtown area. These capital improvements were allocated $1,500,000 in Fiscal Year 2020

Certainly not foreign to any public organization is infrastructure. As with any organization, maintenance and the installation of new elements when essential is always more cost effective to achieve than full replacements after long-term neglect.

The city is proud to be investing in its infrastructure with corridor improvements along Stone Mountain Street/Five Forks Trickum road and Culver Street, the Nash Street extension to Gwinnett Drive and sidewalk gap fill-ins to create a walkable connection throughout downtown. In addition to annual street resurfacing projects, Lawrenceville will finally begin the installation of phase II on the much-anticipated College Corridor linear park.

This linear park will come complete with a paved two-way street, multi-use trails and bike paths, turnabouts to keep traffic to a safe speed and will ultimately connect the main campus of Georgia Gwinnett College to the Historic Downtown Square. The investment in these projects for Fiscal Year 2020 is $7,500,000.

Last, but probably the most foundational investment on an annual basis, is the continued focus on our employees. Human capital is what makes everything else happen in the city. Without the work and dedication of our staff, none of the projects mentioned above could ever happen. For this reason, the city will be working with our human resource department to allow for cost of living increases, which is allocated at 1.2%, for staff as well as merit raises based on annual performance measures of an average two step increase.

Lawrenceville will also review its benefit packages and continue refining them for sustainability as well as attractiveness to both recruit and retain quality employees. Professional development will also continue to be a primary focus as this produces continually qualified individuals for their respective jobs and serves to increase productivity and overall service in all areas of the city, the city is investing $500,000 in training, education, and travel for employees.

Strategic, intentional and practical investment is the focus for 2020 and we look forward to another great year at the City of Lawrenceville. Thank you to the Finance Review Committee, staff and the mayor and council for their vision and support in setting these strategic goals for our community.

Chuck Warbington is the city manager for the city of Lawrenceville.