Fulton County Board Of Commissioners The First 100 Days Report

 In Chamber Of Commerce

I am honored to serve as Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and wanted to provide you with an update as we complete the first 100 days of my role as Chairman.

Since my inauguration on December 15, 2017, I have been making progress on the issues I considered my top priorities. As I have learned more about challenges facing Fulton County and our residents, I have expanded that list of priorities and added new initiatives. This is an exciting time as I and my colleagues work to advance the business of the county – internally and externally.

I want to acknowledge the support of my colleagues on the Board of Commissioners--Commissioner Liz Hausman (District 1), Vice Chairman Bob Ellis (District 2), Commissioner Lee Morris (District 3), Commissioner Natalie Hall (District 4), Commissioner Marvin S. Arrington Jr. (District 5), and Commissioner Emma I. Darnell (District 6)-- for their partnership and support as we tackle some of the tough issues before us.

I also want to thank our county manager, Dick Anderson, and his team for all of their hard work. No one person is able to do the work we do alone. Our combined efforts are vital to ensuring a healthy, safe, and prosperous county.

Following is a brief summary of what I have been working on during my first 100 days as Chairman. In this time, I’ve tackled several priorities (Transportation Improvements, Criminal Justice Reform, A New Animal Shelter, Funding for Seniors and Youth, and Property Tax Reform). I’ve also established Task Forces on Homestead Exemptions, the Hospitality Industry, and Human Trafficking in order to hear from and work collaboratively with citizens, business owners, and community leaders.

 

Priorities

 

Property Tax Reform

We’ve allocated $3.4 million in the budget to begin to fix the broken property tax appraisal system. The money will be used to hire more appraisers, provide better training for them, improve technology, and enhance our communications strategy to keep our citizens informed. Property owners will see a more up-to-date website as well as community outreach. We will also be producing and distributing brochures and information on every aspect of the process. Additionally, each property that received a 50% increase or more will be reviewed.

 


 

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Funding for Seniors and Youth:

We increased funding in the 2018 budget for seniors and youth services to help our most vulnerable populations.  For seniors, more than $1.5 million will go towards Adult Day Services, Senior Transportation/Demand and Response, Congregate Meals, Security Systems at Senior Centers, Home Repairs, and Meals on Wheels. I was also pleased to support Commissioner Arrington in the creation of a new arts program for seniors called “Living Out Loud.”

For youth, we have expanded funding for youth employment. The Department of Community Development received an additional $75,000 for programs for At-Risk Youth and we are now recruiting youth for paid internships.


 

New Animal Shelter:

As promised, I am working to build a new animal shelter in Fulton County.  The old shelter is simply insufficient to meet our current needs. The Department of Real Estate Management has drafted a concept report to scope out what our options are to address the issue of upgrading our shelter.  This is the first step in building a new animal shelter, at an estimated cost of $12 million.

 


 

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Transportation Improvements:

Time and time again our citizens tell us that transportation is one of their top priorities as we address issues facing the region. I am chairing a group, made up of members of the Board of Commissioners of Fulton County and the Mayors of each of the 15 cities in Fulton County, that recently completed a Fulton County Transit Plan. We have also worked closely with MARTA, GDOT and other leaders working on transit and transportation. The broader goal is to develop a region-wide transportation plan of improvement for the 13-county area that, if approved by the State, will provide State funding and permit each locality to raise funds. This plan will consider options like Bus Rapid Transit and Arterial Rapid Transit that can help bring solutions to citizens faster and cheaper. I also met with the sponsors of the legislation that was adopted recently by the General Assembly, which includes several provisions specifically to meet the needs of Fulton County.

 


 

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