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Mayor Delivers Energized State of the City Address

Praise of 2010, plus a look forward to beautification projects, the possibility of a 9-1-1 call center and the hope of ending the SDS dispute.

Norcross got more than just a morale boost at the address last night—the citizens also got their own original jazz tune about wandering  “down past the tracks, where it feels like home." 

Mayor Bucky Johnson sang the praises of the last year: the newly opened welcome center, the Green Communities certification, the renovations of city parks and more. He also gave a glimpse of projects to come in 2011.

The mayor recognized that the Service Delivery Dispute has not been resolved and that it will an important issue of the next year. (“But don’t be speeding,” he joked, “Sheriffs can still run radar.”) Johnson urged voters to get to the ballots for the special election on March 15 for the County Commission Chair, since this person could potentially help the cities and county reach an agreement.

The mayor lauded the $1 million worth of beautification projects happening in the city—the current project on Cemetery St and also the future projects on College Street, Skin Alley and Jones Street, which will soon break ground after about six years of delays.

Johnson also heaped praise on the Gwinnett Village CID. “We have the best CID in the county,” he said, pointing out that for every dollar they raise through taxes, they get $4 of matching funds. “I’ve accused [Chuck Warbington] of having a printing press in the CID,” he joked. “How do they do that?”

The mayor also talked about looking into a 9-1-1 call system for the City of Norcross. Right now, Gwinnett County has to pick up and then call the City of Norcross, he said. No data is transferred with the call, and if it drops, the City is left without the caller’s phone number. “It’s a wacky system,” he said. 

The final point didn’t require many words. Johnson took out a FedEx hard hat, presumably the one he wore during the recent groundbreaking of a $55 million FedEx Ground facility in Norcross, and put it on. 

The night ended with a beatnik-esque reading of Lynn Peisner’s recent piece in the AJC, which highlighted Norcross’s progressive feel these days. Citizens shot up from different tables to take a paragraph--and to add their voice to the collective, another theme of the night. 

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