On January 16, the Council for Quality Growth, in partnership with the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, held its annual State of the County address for Gwinnett County. Commission Chairman, Charlotte Nash, addressing an audience of over 500 about what not only happened last year within the county, but also the direction she would like to see Gwinnett go in the upcoming year by stating the new board of commissioners were, “Poised and ready to begin a new chapter”.
Chairman Nash highlighted some of the great things Gwinnett County accomplished over the last year, including maintaining a AAA bond rating, a one of only 39 out of 3000 counties nationwide to do so. The county also saved more than 2.2 million dollars in tax payer money by refinancing the 2003 General Obligation Bonds and in the transportation sector, the Sugarloaf Parkway Extension had been completed. Additionally, construction has been started on the Pleasant Hill/I-85 Diverging Diamond Interchange.
Chairman Nash focused on four main points for 2013 goals of the Commissioners: rebuilding the publics trust, maintaining county services, despite the current economic situation, SPLOST referendum, job creation, and building a unified plan. In order to rebuild the public’s trust, the Board of Commissioners will start by asking the Board to revise the ethics ordinance, making information more easily accessible, as well as taking additional steps to end political corruption within the county. She stated a commitment to maintaining the county services despite the current economic situation. She stated the Board had unanimously passed a balanced budget, based on another 2% decrease in county funds. Although the funding for public services has not increased despite the population growth, the Board looked at how taxpayer money was being spent and reorganized the budget to make the taxpayer’s dollars be as efficient as possible.
SPLOST generated Gwinnett County over two billion dollars in 2012 and saved over one billion dollars in financing costs. Set to expire in 2014, the Board will start to look at an extension of the SPLOST program due to its great benefit to the county. Job creation is a passion for Chairman being a life long native of Gwinnett County and proudly its Chairman. She was adamant that, although Gwinnet County is a great place to live and work, they needed to, “Aggressively pursue economic development”. Finally, Chairman Nash talked about building a unified plan by adjusting different areas to reflect the current economic circumstances, the county could function at full potential for the next year.
In closing Chairman Nash asked the citizens of Gwinnett County to inform themselves of what was going on county wide and to communicate with the officials they put in office not only in issues that they disagree with, but with things that they like that happen or would like to see happen. Finally she stated, “Lets turn the page. Help us write the next page of Gwinnett’s history”.