Board of Commissioners Get an Earful in Norcross
In an attempt to hear the comments, concerns and questions of its more than 800,000 residents, Gwinnett's Board of Commissioners are holding four Citizens' Forums across the county. The third took place in Norcross Tuesday night.
Three Gwinnett commissioners visited Lucky Shoals Community Recreation Center Tuesday evening to listen to what constituents had to say.
Part of the Board of Commissioners and Gwinnett County’s Citizens’ Forum, it was the third stop of four scheduled on the public relations tour.
Gwinett County’s Deputy County Administrator and Chief Financial Officer Aaron Bovos started the evening on a positive note, but acknowledging the predicament it finds itself in during the ongoing economic downturn. With the real estate market hurting nationwide and the county bringing in less revenue from property taxes, the Board of Commissioners found Gwinnett facing an $18 million deficit.
“The challenge really is how do we provide the same level or an equal level of services to all of you the constituents without passing on those challenges that affect our revenues,” Bovos said. “For us, internally, it’s also an opportunity to learn how to work smarter.”
Bovos concluded his remarks stating Gwinnett County was ready to tackle the $18 million hole.
“We’ve got a phenomenal plan to put in place,” he said. “But we’ve got a ways to go in 2012 and moving forward.”
District 3 Commissioner Mike Beaudreau added later, “We’re trying to put death to the budget by a 1,000 cuts…I’m more worried about 2012 than 2011. 2012 is what I’m really concerned about.”
As for citizens' comments, they were as diverse as the county itself. Some topics and concerns included: the potential privatization and expansion of the airport at Briscoe Field, raising taxes, development versus redevelopment, weather emergency plans, graffiti and the unenforcement and ineffectiveness of the noise ordinance.
“I have a tremendous problem in unincorporated Gwinnett County with large amounts of people driving through at all times of the day and night with all types of devices that you wouldn’t even dream about on their car,” Beth Cooper said to applause from the audience of about 100. “They have stereos that will rock your china closet..As a homeowner for more than 20 years, I think that I’m entitled to some peace in my household.”
“It’s a very valid concern to look into this ordinance,” District 1 Commissioner Shirley Lasseter said.
The last of Gwinnett County’s four Citizens’ Forums will be held Monday, March 7 at 7 p.m. at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse at 185 Crogan St. in Lawrenceville.