(Lawrenceville, Ga., Sept. 16, 2009) - Engage Gwinnett Citizens Committee Co-Chairs Mike Levengood and Bill McCargo announced today the 42 members who will serve on the citizen led committee over the next six months to prepare budget recommendations to be presented to the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners in early spring 2010. Ten of the members were selected from among fellow citizens who attended the first public forum held on Sept. 9 and 30 stakeholder groups each appointed a representative.
"Engage Gwinnett is an opportunity to inform county citizens about how the county budget works, including revenues and mandated expenses, and get their views on how government should prioritize county services and spend tax dollars," said McCargo. "Our objectives are to serve as a collaborative group targeting both broad-based and specific constituency groups and audiences to offer a means to help citizens understand complex problems and engage those who normally don't become involved in policy debates. The constituency or stakeholder groups were identified as a ‘broad stroke' attempt to ensure that the committee was a general reflection of our community. Now that we have the publicly self-selected members, we feel good about beginning our educational and citizen-led public involvement process."
Part of the mission of Gwinnett County is to "deliver superior services in partnership with our community" and included in its vision is a "commitment to partnering with others in our community who share a dedication to making life better for our citizens." The Engage Gwinnett process will be an effective tool in accomplishing those objectives.
"We believe that Engage Gwinnett will prove over the next several months to be an impressive piece of democracy," stated Levengood. "The community input we gained from the first public forum - what our citizens think about how Engage Gwinnett should go about doing its work and assuring the public that its recommendations are reasonable and fair - was invaluable. To observe citizens groups select their committee representatives was truly inspiring and gave me even more confidence that Gwinnett citizens do have a sense of shared responsibility in planning for the future."
All plenary committee meetings will be open to the public and will be held at Gwinnett Center. In order to provide Gwinnett residents with the opportunity to follow the process at their own convenience, materials and presentations given to the committee will be made available to the public on the web at www.engagegwinett.com and on TVgwinnett, the County's government access cable channel. The Engage Gwinnett website also features a Facebook link as another way to follow the process.
The general public will have opportunities to provide input online during certain times throughout the process. Engage Gwinnett will also host several more public meetings during the next six months to give the community an opportunity to review preliminary committee findings and offer feedback.
A full report on the first public forum will be available this week online and e-mailed to the citizens who attended the Sept. 9 meeting.
(Lawrenceville, Ga., Sept. 3, 2009) - Engage Gwinnett, the Citizens Committee for the Future of Gwinnett County, is looking for 10 residents willing to spend time over the next six months listening to lots of information about county government and demographic and economic trends, sharing ideas and helping guide the Board of Commissioners actions' as they make decisions about service levels and funding sources.
An initial meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 9, will explain the Engage Gwinnett committee process, gain public input and provide for the public self-selection of 10 committee representatives. The meeting is 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center auditorium, 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville.
Chairman Charles Bannister and the Board of Commissioners have partnered with the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce to launch an initiative to involve citizens in the County budget decision-making process. They are asking for 30 stakeholder groups to each appoint a citizen representative in addition to these 10 self-selected citizen leaders. Like most local governments around our region and our nation, Gwinnett must balance declining revenues with desired service levels," said Bannister. "We need informed recommendations from people throughout our community."
"We plan to strategically involve the community in the process of making informed recommendations about future service levels, funding needs and revenue resources," said co-chair Bill McCargo, Director of Community Relations for Cisco Systems. "Together, we'll identify what services the county should provide and at what level. We'll also look at growth projections and infrastructure plans to help determine funding needs and potential revenue sources."
The other co-chair is Mike Levengood, a partner in the McKenna, Long and Aldridge LLP law firm. "Every citizen in the county has a stake in the direction and the environment we're creating for future generations," said Levengood. "We'll be holding several public forums during this citizen-led initiative to share and gain ideas from the community at large. This is an opportunity for many people to get involved before the decisions are made. It is a worthy community project and Gwinnett citizens deserve our best efforts."
More information is available on the Gwinnett County website, www.gwinnettcounty.com.