(Lawrenceville, Ga., July 20, 2009) - Gwinnett County Chairman Charles Bannister and the Board of Commissioners today announced the establishment of a community engagement initiative in partnership with the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and other business and civic leaders. Members of this initiative will spend the next six months examining Gwinnett's five-year needs for critical services and proposing future funding strategies.
"Gwinnett is experiencing an unprecedented challenge to balance declining revenues with desired service levels. Although we are not unique to other counties around the nation in the challenges we face, we will successfully emerge from the current economic situation if we pull together uniquely as a community. We are asking concerned citizens, the Constitutional Officers, Gwinnett Municipal Association, State Legislative Delegation and others to join the County government and chamber in an initiative designed to intentionally and strategically involve Gwinnett stakeholders in making informed recommendations to the BOC about future service levels, funding needs and revenue resources in advance of adoption of the 2010 budget," Commission Chairman Charles Bannister said.
"Gwinnett County has been very successful historically and continues to attract new businesses and residents because we've always planned well for our future needs and made this a great place to live," Maran said. "But the current economic crisis has hit our local governments hard just as it has our families and businesses. Continued investment in our
infrastructure and services like public safety are essential to maintaining a world-class quality of life in Gwinnett County, and we are seeking advice from our community leaders about the best way to accomplish this. Now is the time to pull together as a community and find common sense solutions."
Gwinnett Chamber President and CEO Jim Maran said the economic health of Gwinnett County should be a major consideration in the County's long-range planning, which is why the Gwinnett Chamber has agreed to support the initiative.
"The business community has much at stake in ensuring Gwinnett County's continued success, so it makes sense that we would step up to being a part of this planning process," Maran said.
Both business and citizen input are critical in the success of the initiative.
"Every citizen in this county has a stake in the quality of life we experience today, and the environment we're creating for our future generations," Chairman Bannister said. "The Board understands that citizens value their opportunity of living in a safe, productive, enjoyable community, and we are looking forward to developing a true countywide - and communitywide - plan to responsibly meet the demands of the future."
General objectives to be accomplished by the initiative include citizen education and involvement in:
- Determining funding needs and gaps
- Preparing a draft report of recommended solutions to meet those gaps (including exploring funding strategies used or available to meet growth requirements in other fast-growing regions)
- Conducting a community forum to share the draft report and receive feedback
- Preparing a final report to be delivered to the Board of Commissioners