Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Engage Gwinnett to Meet Thursday

The volunteers who serve on Engage Gwinnett, the citizens committee on the future of Gwinnett County, will meet again on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Gwinnett Center in Duluth. The initiative aims to involve and engage the community in county budget decision-making.

The 40-member citizens committee created last September has formed smaller work groups to study specific service areas. The full committee meets every two weeks to hear from elected officials, County staff and local residents during a six-month process. All meetings are open to the public.

In April 2010, the group will make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners on desired services, service levels and revenues for the next five years. The initiative is a partnership between county government and the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. Volunteer leaders Mike Levengood of McKenna Long & Aldridge and Bill McCargo, formerly with CISCO Systems, co-chair the committee. Engage Gwinnett seeks common ground, workable solutions and compromises as necessary for the greater good of the community to help guide the County government through the recession and its aftermath.

The process will include at least 12 full committee meetings and three public forums. Video coverage, meeting materials and more information are available online at www.engagegwinnett.com and at www.gwinnettcounty.com and on TVgwinnett, cable channel 23. Engage Gwinnett also has Facebook and Twitter links.

Meeting agenda follows below:

Engage Gwinnett Agenda
December 3, 2009
Welcome and introductions Bill McCargo and Mike Levengood, Co-Chairs
Millage rate update Aaron Bovos
Report from the Work Groups Work Group Spokespersons
Overview of today’s work Jon Abercrombie, facilitator
Work Groups breakout sessions Work Groups
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

County Continues to Trim Workforce

Gwinnett County continued to trim its workforce today with the implementation of a reduction in force in the Planning and Development Department. The elimination of 19 staff positions comes as the result of a business realignment necessitated by a significant decrease in workload and revenues related to the ever-shrinking volume of development.

Earlier this year, departments modified their business plans in order to focus on core services and to bring the 2009 budget and five-year financial plan into balance. Staff reductions played a key role in most of these new plans. Even though there is a proposed millage rate increase on the table, the county is still moving forward with its new business model, which requires a reduction in force.

In addition to today’s action, more than 200 employees retired under an incentive offer last month and several other departments have implemented reductions in force this year. In total, the County plans to eliminate more than 250 jobs.

“Unfortunately this is not the first, nor will it be the last, reduction in force,” said County Administrator Glenn Stephens. “The tough economic environment has forced us to make some very difficult decisions about service and staffing levels across all departments, but I am confident that Gwinnett County government will emerge from this budgetary crisis a stronger and more efficient organization.”
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Officials Outline Proposal to Restore Key Services

Friday Gwinnett County officials outlined a proposal that would restore some of the spending reductions made earlier this year to the county’s public safety, parks and recreation and social services programs. The new proposal would be funded by a 2.28-mill increase in county property taxes.

The proposal was developed by county staff in response to a request from District 4 Commissioner Kevin Kenerly and was unveiled at a press briefing by Board Chairman Charles Bannister, Commissioner Kenerly, County Administrator Glenn Stephens and Chief Financial Officer Aaron Bovos. The details of the proposal were also posted to the county’s Web site.

Stephens said the county would hold three public hearings on the proposed property tax increase on Monday, Nov. 23, at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and then on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center located at 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville. He said he expected the county commission would formally consider the proposal at a special called meeting following the 7 p.m. hearing on Dec. 1.

“Based on discussions with commission members, they will consider the proposal at the Dec. 1 meeting, and we have been asked to take the necessary steps to make Gwinnett County’s citizens and taxpayers aware of the proposal well ahead of that decision,” said Stephens.

The proposal outlined by the officials would add $31.3 million in service-related additions to the 2009 budget and provide, among other items, funding for the district attorney, courts and constitutional officers, the addition of 58 new police officers, the opening and staffing of three new fire stations and the continued operation of all county libraries – including the new Hamilton Mill branch opening next year – at equal service levels. It would also add $4.8 million to the recreation fund to, among other things, set youth athletic association fees at a more affordable level for families, restore grounds maintenance personnel and restore seven-day operations at all aquatic centers. The proposal also will address a deficit in 2010 and compensate for a reduction in the commercial and residential property tax digest.

Funding the proposed $59.2 million increase would require a 2.28-mill increase in the county’s property tax rate. For 63 percent of county homeowners, whose homes are assessed at $200,000 or less, the resulting tax increase would be less than $13.36 a month; for the additional 30 percent of Gwinnett homeowners whose homes are assessed at between $200,001 and $350,000, the monthly tax increase would be between $13.36 and $24.76. Combining the two groups, 93 percent of homeowners would see a tax increase of less than $25 per month.

“I appreciate the county staff’s response to my request,” said Commissioner Kenerly, “and I look forward to hearing from my constituents and to studying this proposal with my colleagues on the Board. Especially in retrospect, I have been troubled by the drastic service cuts that were necessitated by our earlier budget decisions – and I am not convinced that they reflected the will of a majority of citizens and taxpayers. I am growing concerned that many of the cuts we already made or are planning to make will severely diminish our community long term.

“I think it is important to revisit this issue with an eye toward focusing on truly critical services and on giving our citizens, voters and taxpayers an opportunity to understand the current and future stakes for our county,” Kenerly added. “I’m hopeful that when we call this question it will be with the benefit of a great deal of thought and an understanding of the views and desires of all our citizens.”

Commission Chairman Charles Bannister said he supported revisiting the millage rate question. “I backed the millage rate that was originally proposed and have been concerned that our failure to fund needed public service improvements would do real damage to our county now and in the years ahead,” he said. “I look forward to studying this proposal and hearing from the public between now and December.”

Bannister stressed this move does not lessen the value of the Engage Gwinnett citizens committee. “Their work is still very important to us, but this millage adjustment will temporarily allow us to stop dismantling great improvements made in the community since 2005, including investments in public safety, while we await their service level and funding recommendations,” said Bannister.

The proposed restoration of services does not include many of the cuts made within the County’s internal support functions and also does not fund the Unified Plan, which was designed to better manage growth, public safety, quality of life and economic development over the next several decades. The Engage Gwinnett Committee will continue to study service levels and funding options in order to make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners in the first quarter of 2010.

If the proposed increase were to be approved, a second set of 2009 tax bills would be mailed to property owners on March 15, 2010. This billing will reconcile the final millage rate with the temporary rate used in billing taxes earlier this year. Tax bills were issued to property owners last August under a temporary collection order, which allowed the Board of Commissioners to set a temporary millage rate while the County continued negotiations with cities over matters of service delivery. Once commissioners set a final millage rate, the State Department of Revenue will certify Gwinnett’s tax digest resulting in a new round of property tax bills.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Flood Recovery Center to Open

A disaster recovery center will open tomorrow at 8 a.m. to assist residents and business owners who were victims of recent flooding. Gwinnett County residents and business owners who sustained losses can visit the center, which is located at the Mountain Park Depot, 5050 Five Forks Trickum Road in Lilburn, between the hours of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week to apply for federal emergency assistance. County government worked closely with FEMA and GEMA to establish the center, according to Gwinnett Emergency Management’s Greg Swanson. The center will remain open until further notice.

Commission Chairman Charles Bannister said, “We are grateful to FEMA, GEMA and Gwinnett Emergency Management for their hard work to make sure Gwinnett County was included in the federal disaster declaration. Last week’s flooding took a severe toll on many of our residents and their property. While recovery will take some time, I’m hopeful federal disaster aid will help those families and businesses in our community that need it to become whole again.”

The federal declaration covers individual assistance and can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration will also be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance. In addition, Gwinnett County government will also be eligible to receive federal funds for damage as a result of the recent floods.

In addition to visiting the Disaster Recovery Center, it is also possible to apply for aid online or by telephone. Applications can be submitted online at www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

County Administrator Glenn Stephens said, “I’m very proud of what County workers did under sudden and often-changing conditions during the emergency phase last week. Now that we have moved beyond the life-safety crisis, our staff will continue to take any and all actions necessary and feasible to assist residents as they begin the recovery process.”
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Helpful Guide for Gwinnett Citizens from Tax Commissioner

Now that Gwinnett citizens have received their 2009 temporary tax bills, the Tax Commissioner is receiving a large number of calls and emails from citizens with questions about their bills, property assessments, school tax, millage rates and more.

“I want to make sure citizens get prompt and accurate information when they have questions. There are many County offices involved in property tax issues, and it can be confusing,” explained Katherine Meyer, Gwinnett Tax Commissioner.

Below is information to help guide citizens to the right offices for answers.

Gwinnett Tax Commissioner
· Bills and collects Gwinnett property taxes
· Administers homestead exemptions
· Note: The 2009 tax bill that property owners just received is a temporary bill until a final millage rate is approved by the Board of Commissioners. A final notice of taxes may be sent if additional taxes or a refund is due.
· 770-822-8800, email tax@gwinnettcounty.com, website www.GwinnettTaxCommissioner.com

Gwinnett Tax Assessor’s Office
· Assesses property values
· Reviews property assessment appeals
· 770-822-7220 or email assessor@gwinnettcounty.com.
· Note: The Tax Commissioner has no authority for the assessment of property and is not involved in that process.

Gwinnett Board of Commissioners
Sets County property tax millage rate
770-822-7000 or www.gwinnettcounty.com.

Gwinnett Board of Education
Adopts school system property tax millage rate
678-301-6200 or www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us

Gwinnett Stormwater Utility
Administers stormwater service
678-376-7193 or www.gwinnettstormwater.com.

Gwinnett Traffic Engineering and Planning
Responsible for street lights and speed tables
770-822-7462

Important to remember: Gwinnett property owners may see an increase in their tax bills due to state government budget cuts that included the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant (HTRG). Additionally, the fair market value of property may have changed resulting in an increase in the amount owed. Learn more at www.GwinnettTaxCommissioner.com.
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Two Million Dollars in Asset/Forfeiture Money from Drug Cartels Presented to Gwinnett Law Enforcement

Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Gregory Jones, on behalf of the David G. Wilhelm Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Strike Force, is pleased to provide the following information:

The David G. Wilhelm OCDETF Strike Force is well into its third year, having been established on March 29, 2007. The concept of the Strike Force was initiated by the various special agents in charge of the federal law enforcement agencies here in Atlanta, along with the United States Attorney, who participate in the (OCDETF). It was recognized that a special collaborative effort was necessary to better combat the drug distribution and collection of drug proceeds throughout the metro Atlanta area as it was further recognized that the Atlanta area had established itself as a hub for this activity.

The Wilhelm Strike Force brings together the assets and strengths of the various federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies into a co-located task force. This serves as a force multiplier in investigating and prosecuting high level members of the international drug cartels that have operations in metro Atlanta and throughout the United States. As part of its effort to dismantle these criminal organizations, forfeiture of profits and seizure of assets from these organizations is paramount.

Today we reaffirm our partnership with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department and the Lawrenceville Police Department in the joint endeavors of the Wilhelm Strike Force and their commitment in making the community a safer place for all.

The Strike Force is pleased to present to our partners with checks totaling $1,102,556.42. In addition to these monies, an additional $1,005,000 will be going to these same partners within the next month. These monies are derived from assets forfeited and/or seized in Operation Grand Finale, an 18-month-long investigation wherein the many varied law enforcement agencies worked together to disrupt a major cell of a Mexican cartel, a notoriously violent drug trafficking organization, and took a major step towards eradicating a significant threat to our economic and national security. During this investigation, agents and officers have seized approximately 581 kilograms of cocaine, approximately 219 pounds of methamphetamines, and approximately $3.5 million in currency. To date, federal charges have been filed against 16 defendants in several states. This investigation determined that the targeted organization regularly transported large quantities of cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana from Mexico to Atlanta, and then transported currency accumulated from the sale of the illegal drugs back from Atlanta to McAllen, Texas, and then on to the organization’s leaders in Mexico.

Today’s presentations are not only an example of what can be accomplished by a metro Atlanta law enforcement community working together, but also an opportunity to recognize that partnership that is so needed and appreciated.

Administrative Matter:
Lawrenceville PD: $321,133.02
$251,067.50
Subtotal: $572,200.52
$603,000.00
Total: $1,175,200.50

Gwinnett County S/O: $321,133.02
$209,222.92
Subtotal: $530,355.94
$402,000.00
Total: $932,255.94

Grand Total: $2,107,456.40

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Judge Grants Order on State Sanction in City-County SDS Dispute

On Tuesday, Gwinnett County received an order to hold state sanctions in abeyance while the County and city governments continue to litigate their service delivery dispute. The order, requested by the County, was granted by the judge presiding over the litigation. The current 10-year strategy, as set forth in state legislation that became effective in 1999, expired Feb. 28. Missing the deadline for a new 10-year strategy with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs placed Gwinnett and each of its cities in an “unqualified status.” The sanctions resulting from the unqualified status could have resulted in the loss of millions of dollars in state-administered financial assistance, grants, loans or permits to Gwinnett County and Gwinnett’s cities.

Superior Court Judge David E. Barrett’s order comes after Gwinnett’s cities had asked the judge to have sanctions reimposed 30 days after the judge rules on a County motion for partial summary judgment on the use of unincorporated revenues.

Prior to that, a March 3 order holding sanctions in abeyance during the mediation process was opposed by attorneys representing Gwinnett’s cities because it was not signed by the out-of-circuit judge assigned to the case and that order was vacated. However, Judge Barrett ruled in April that the sanctions would be held in abeyance throughout the mediation process.

“Sanctions ultimately just hurt the citizens, and I am pleased the judge agreed with the County’s position. The judge’s action is in line with our goal to work towards a service delivery solution for every resident in Gwinnett County without losing the necessary funding that benefits Gwinnett County and its cities,” said County Administrator Glenn Stephens.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Location Change for Beaudreau Monthly Meeting

Gwinnett County District 3 Commissioner Mike Beaudreau’s next monthly meeting will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12 at the Lakeview Clubhouse conference room at 1669 Hamilton Mill Parkway in Dacula instead of Harbins Park Pavilion. The commissioner will meet with constituents from 10 a.m. to noon.

Gwinnett County’s Commission District 3 covers the eastern part of the county from the Highway 78 corridor north to I-85, and includes the cities of Snellville, Loganville, Grayson, Dacula and Auburn.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Engage Gwinnett Seeks Citizen Input

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 County website, www.gwinnettcounty.com
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

County Makes More Budget Adjustments

Gwinnett’s separately elected officials and Constitutional officers have agreed to $1.9 million in budget cuts to help commissioners balance the books for 2009. The Board accepted their recommendations on Tuesday and cautioned that another $11 million in cuts will be needed for next year. These cuts are consistent with reductions in budgets throughout the County.

While the Board of Commissioners appropriates funds for departments run by elected officials, they do not directly manage those departments. The officials include the Clerk of Court, Clerk of Recorder’s Court, District Attorney, Judiciary, Juvenile Court, Probate Court, Recorder’s Court, Sheriff, Solicitor and Tax Commissioner.

The County’s Department of Human Resources has offered to work with all these departments to arrange staff reductions through a retirement incentive program in those areas where personnel costs must be reduced. In related action, commissioners approved a retirement incentive program for Probate Court, similar to the one offered to many eligible County employees last month. It is expected to save $59,295 in 2010.
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Friday, August 28, 2009

2009 Temporary Property Tax Bills Have Been Mailed

Gwinnett County Tax Commissioner Katherine Meyer announced that property tax bills for 2009 have been mailed. Payment installment dates are October 15 and November 15.

These are temporary bills. The temporary tax bills were required because a final millage rate had not been set by the County Board of Commissioners. Property owners must pay their temporary tax bills in full by November 15 to avoid interest and penalty charges. Once the final millage rate has been set, a re-billing may occur. Any difference in the temporary and the final millage rate may result in additional charges or refunds to property owners.

Homeowners across Georgia may see in an increase in their 2009 tax bills unrelated to the County millage rate. Since 1999, the Georgia General Assembly and the Governor have provided a credit on property tax bills called the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant (HTRG). In recent years, that credit resulted in an $84 - $272 reduction to your property tax bill. Due to financial strains on the state budget, the Georgia General Assembly and the Governor did not fund this credit for 2009 property tax bills. While the HTRG credit may some day be reinstated by the General Assembly, it is not expected to be considered again until state revenues increase significantly. As a result, your tax bill may increase accordingly.

You can determine the exact amount you saved in 2008 by locating the 'Tax Relief Credit' amount displayed on your 2008 tax bill. If your taxes are paid from an escrow account through your mortgage lender, you may want to notify them so the escrow payment amount can be adjusted.
In some cases, the fair market value of your property may have changed which impacted your assessment and the amount you owe.

“At a time when everyone is carefully watching their spending, an increase in property taxes is not good news,” said Katherine Meyer, Gwinnett Tax Commissioner. “Since much of that increase is coming from an action that was taken at the state level, not the county, we want people to have the facts.”

For more information on the 2009 temporary tax bills and the HTRG credit, visit the Tax Commissioner’s website at www.GwinnettTaxCommissioner.com. Follow the link to the Property Tax page.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gwinnett Checking Businesses for Immigration Status

More than 26,000 Gwinnett-based businesses soon will get a letter from the County’s license and revenue office asking for compliance with a new state immigration law. The County is required to check the immigration status of all applicants for a business/occupation tax certificate, commonly called a business license.

Board Chairman Charles Bannister said the law requires all applicants to be a U.S. citizen, legal permanent resident, qualified alien or a nonimmigrant as defined in the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act. Bannister explained, “We are making sure that Gwinnett County is in compliance with the law.”

All businesses, corporations, LLCs and partnerships registered in Gwinnett will receive the letter over the next few weeks. Applicants are required to return a signed, notarized affidavit before they can renew online or receive a 2010 business/occupation tax certificate. Those who are not U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents must also submit a copy of certain paperwork to establish their status, which the County will verify through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program operated by the federal Department of Homeland Security.

Since 2007, Gwinnett has been verifying the immigration status of applicants for jobs at the County and its primary contractors and subcontractors. The verification program also applies to other public benefits such as housing assistance, certain work permits and adult education.
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Stimulus, Other Grants Impact Gwinnett

Just over $4.5 million in federal stimulus and state funds is headed to Gwinnett after commissioners voted to accept five different grants on Tuesday.

Almost $3.3 million is designated for energy audits, weatherization and appliance repairs to make an estimated 461 homes of elderly, low income and handicapped residents more efficient and affordable. The stimulus funds will come from the U.S. Department of Energy through the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority and the work will be done by the non-profit organization Partnership for Community Action.

Another $1.1 million will help build a new Senior Services Center at 567 Swanson Drive in Lawrenceville. A year of construction will begin this month on the new “green building” that will centralize various programs that serve Gwinnett seniors. Deputy Secretary Ron Sims of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development came to Gwinnett on July 22 to announce the Community Development Block Grant award. Neither of these grants requires matching funds.

Commissioners also accepted a $69,411 grant to provide home-delivered and congregate meals to frail and homebound seniors provided through the Atlanta Regional Commission. The grant requires a 15 percent local match that the County is unable to provide, but the non-profit Friends of Gwinnett County Seniors group has offered to supply the needed $12,248. Friends President Pam Tokarz said, “We don’t want to lose any opportunity to feed needy seniors in our community, so we’re happy to provide these matching funds.” Gwinnett provides more than 135,000 such meals annually but still has a wait list of more than 200 eligible seniors.

Fire and Emergency Services will receive two state grants through the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. A grant of $61,430 will pay for new hazardous materials suits and reference books for the Lawrenceville-based HazMat team that handles incidents like natural gas line breaks, significant gasoline spills, victim retrieval, site decontamination and contaminated victim transport.

Another $25,000 state grant will pay to replace equipment on the department’s Buford-based Search and Rescue truck. Fire personnel use the equipment to extricate victims from traffic collisions, caved-in trenches, confined spaces, machinery entanglements, or collapsed structures using precision cutting, spreading, disassembly, rigging or heavy lifting techniques.

Board Chairman Charles Bannister said, “We’re grateful for all these stimulus funds and state grants, especially at a time when we’re cutting our expenses to the bone. This money will allow us to continue meeting the needs of seniors and families in our community as well as helping keep our fire department well-equipped for emergencies.”

Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) earlier this year to jump start the national economy after the recession hit last fall.
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A few happenings in Gwinnett...

Age Well, Take Control - Managing Weight & Diabetes Risks

George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center; 55 Buford Highway, Suwanee; Wednesday, September 9; 9:30am - 2:00pm; Health fair focusing on seniors - but open to the public! This is a free event. Learn valuable information about programs and resources for aging well and increasing your overall health. Come join us to discover important ways to enhance your diet, manage diabetes, and feel better every day! Fitness demonstrations will be held all day, skit performance by Kaiser Educational Theater Program at 10:00am, presentation of Carbohydrates and Fiber - Friend or Foe? at 11:00am, and much more. This event is a partnership of Gwinnett Coalition Senior Issues Action Team and Gwinnett County Parks & Recreation. For more information, please call Pat Milhous or Cindi Iacono at 770.822.5180.

Outback at Work Charity Lunch

Wednesday, September 23; Help local seniors by ordering a delicious mixed-grill meal from Outback Steakhouse in Suwanee and have it delivered to your work! Cost is $15. All proceeds will benefit Gwinnett County Senior Services via Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services (a nonprofit organization) and provide funding for programs such as Meals on Wheels and emergency assistance. Call Celia Moore at 770.822.8775 or e-mail her at celia.moore@gwinnettcounty.com to place a minimum order of ten lunches in your area. Meals are limited!

C.P.R. for R.A.P.

Connecting Parenting Resources for Relatives As Parents; The Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center; 2020 Clean Water Drive, Buford; Wednesday, September 30; 8:30am - 2:00pm; Over 5,000 grandparents are raising their grandchildren in Gwinnett County. You may be one of the hundreds who have put plans aside to help your family in a time of crisis. This forum will help Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in Gwinnett find answers to questions, connect with resources, and gain support from other grandfamilies. Cost is $10 per person or $15 per couple. Sponsored by Gwinnett Coalition Senior Issues Action Team. To register for the event, please call Shawn Valadez at 770.822.8846.

See Gwinnett Gladiators with Friends

The Arena at Gwinnett Center; Saturday, October 17; 7:05pm; Be a spectator and cheer on the Gwinnett Gladiators. Get tickets for the game on Saturday, October 17 at a reduced price of $15 each and $5 (less taxes) from each ticket sold goes to Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services. Funds collected will be used to help support selected Gwinnett County Senior Services programs. Order online at www.gwinnettgladiators.com, click on Special Ticket Offers and enter the code FOGS1017 to get your discounted ticket. All orders must be placed by Wednesday, October 14, 2009. Tickets will be available for pick up on game night at the Gladiators Will Call window in the Box Office at the Arena. You may also order tickets by fax. For questions, call Keith Davis at 770.497.5112 or e-mail kdavis@gwinnettgladiators.com.
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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Crawfish Charity Boil – Steaming Results to Feed Seniors

Recently, The Hail Mary Sports Pub in Grayson raised more than $2,500 to benefit Gwinnett County Senior Services’ non-profit partner, Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services (Friends).

Even though they have supported other local worthwhile causes in the past, this was their first fundraising effort to help the older population. The Crawfish Boil for Charity was a great success and monies will help support meals service for Gwinnett seniors.

Hail Mary General Manager Blake Hawkins proudly stated, “We are in the restaurant business, so we wanted to do something to help homebound seniors who might not be able to come in and dine. We could not have made this happen without Master Chef Ray Sessions and some of our vendors. We are honored to help our ‘greatest generation’.”

This year, Friends contributed more than $33,000 to supplement senior meals costs. Friends President Pam Tokarz said, “We do not want to lose any opportunity to feed our needy or frail seniors.”

For more information on Friends’ fundraising efforts or to make a donation to help feed a senior, please make a tax deductible donation to Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services, P.O. Box 390025, Snellville, GA 30039 or contact Celia Moore at 770.822.8775 or celia.moore@gwinnettcounty.com.
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Thursday, August 6, 2009

County Seeks to Bill Taxes

Gwinnett County’s 2009 millage rate and tax billing have been tangled in the ongoing Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) dispute with Gwinnett cities and as a result, Gwinnett County filed a petition for a Temporary Collection Order (TCO) last month. The TCO hearing will be held on Aug. 11 at 1:30 p.m. in Gwinnett Superior Court. The TCO is a remedy of law for local governments that allows the billing of property taxes to occur without an approved tax digest from the State Revenue Commissioner. The State Revenue Commissioner has not certified Gwinnett’s tax digest, due primarily to the fact that the government has not set a formal millage rate. The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners denied a proposed millage rate in June after holding three public hearings on a proposed tax increase.

“The delay in tax billing negatively impacts the County, the school system and the cities – primarily from the lack of available resources to pay the expense of operations,” said Commission Chairman Charles Bannister. “We (the Board of Commissioners) were prepared to move forward in July with a millage rate adoption that would have been revenue neutral to the County.” This contemplated rate would have produced the same amount of tax revenue as the County received in 2008. In addition, the rate structure also would have been compliant with state law in regard to the Georgia insurance premium tax statute. However, the cities stated they would file an injunction if the Board proceeded to adopt the millage rate. Therefore, the County felt the best alternative was to seek a TCO in order to move forward temporarily with 2009 tax collections.

The TCO only allows the billing of 2009 taxes based on a temporary millage rate. Ultimately, the Board of Commissioners must adopt the final millage rate publicly, and the tax digest must be approved by the State Revenue Commissioner. The millage rate contemplated in the TCO maintains the revenue neutral status previously contemplated by the Board of Commissioners, meaning taxes collected in 2009 will yield the same revenue as the County received in 2008. Once a final millage rate is set by the Board, the 2009 property taxes will be reconciled and taxpayers will receive an adjustment.

The 2009 temporary millage rate proposed in the TCO is 10.94 for taxpayers in unincorporated Gwinnett County and 12.00 for taxpayers in incorporated Gwinnett. By comparison, the 2008 adopted county rate was 10.97. In accordance with state law, the unincorporated taxpayers are due a rollback for insurance premium taxes, which equates to 1.06 mills. More than 80 percent of county citizens live in unincorporated Gwinnett.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Puttin’ on the Ritz for Gwinnett Seniors

On July 30, 2009, Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services (Friends) raised over $33,000 at their seventh annual silent auction in Lawrenceville to benefit Gwinnett seniors.

The event was hosted by Delmar Gardens of Gwinnett, a skilled nursing center and retirement facility where it was transformed into the 1920’s era complete with food and refreshments. Friends Past-President and Delmar Executive Director Jennifer Thilo commented, “Every year this charity event gets even better. This could be our best ever and with all the economic uncertainty, we are so appreciative of such great community support. Every penny goes directly to helping seniors.”

Friends is a private volunteer governed nonprofit organization. The organization’s fundraising efforts have resulted in emergency assistance, home repair, food baskets, dental, medical health and wellness screenings to benefit the senior citizens of Gwinnett.

Currently, there are over 200 seniors on the monthly meals waiting list and more than 100 on the monthly transportation waiting list. Friends has made a significant impact on the senior community as they have met budget shortfalls by supporting 133,825 meals and nutritional dietary supplement drinks for the older population.

To contribute in allowing Gwinnett seniors to remain independent in their homes, please visit the Friends website at http://www.fogcss.com/ or send a check to P.O. Box 390025, Snellville, GA 30039. You may also contact Celia Moore at 770.822.8775 or celia.moore@gwinnettcounty.com
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Monday, August 3, 2009

Gwinnett County Parks & Recreation Calendar of Events

Going on now through August 31 - Two Free Art Exhibits in Suwanee!
Gwinnett County Parks & Recreation’s George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center is sponsoring an exhibit of paintings and photography featuring artist Builquis Samadi and photographer Frank Sharp.Both exhibits are currently on display through Aug. 31. Exhibit hours are Monday through Thursday 9am-9pm, Fri. 9am-6pm, and Sat. 10am-6pm. Admission is free. George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center is located at 55 Buford Hwy. in Suwanee. For more information call 770.831.4173.

August 5 thru October 27 - Art Exhibits
Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center is sponsoring a free exhibit of two-dimensional work of the Johns Creek Fine Art group titled “TAPROOTS” and three-dimensional work of David Gentry titled “Gone To Pot.” An opening reception will be held Thurs., Aug. 6 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Both exhibits will be on display Aug. 5 through Oct. 27. Exhibit hours are Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free. Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center is located at 4650 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Norcross. For more information call 770.417.2200.

August 3, 6:30-8:30pm - Family Game Night
Games, puzzles, and food with your friends and family! Call your friends and bring them along! All ages; $3/person, pre-register by 7/30, call 770.723.9516. Code: LSCC14235 Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center, 4651 Britt Rd, Norcross.

August 6, 1:00pm – Senior Billiards Tournament
Bring your ‘A’ game to score the best at George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center’s first Billiards Tournament! Show off your talent and meet new friends that share billiards as their hobby. $10/person; pre-registration required, call 770.831.4173. Code: GPCC14251 Ages 50-up. George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center.

August 7, 11:00am-1:00pm - Brown Bag Concert Series
Free! Bugaboos will rock the lawn with a fun and colorful collection of songs! Grab a blanket, lunch, and the kids and enjoy the music, crafts, and face painting! Kids will fill the sky with a rainbow of color in the craft area—come find out what that’s all about! For details on sponsor booths call 770.822.5450. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 Crogan Street, Lawrenceville.

August 8, 10:00am-3:00pm - Cheerleading Clinic
Ready-OK! Learn 3 chants, 2 cheers, and a short dance routine plus lunch and cheer-related crafts and games. Age 6-12; $20/person; pre-registration required, call 770.723.9516. Code: LSCC02066 Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center, 4651 Britt Rd, Norcross.

August 8, 5:00-8:00pm - Family Fiesta
It’s a fiesta! Fun Mexican music, food, games and crafts! All ages, $10/person; 3-under free; must pre-register by 8/1, call 770.831.4173. Code: GPCC14210 George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center, 55 Buford Hwy, Suwanee.

August 13, 2:00pm – Senior Cinema
Free! Do you remember your favorite movie from the 50’s? Enjoy a relaxing movie, bring a friend or make new ones! Movie selections are based on popular movies from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Ages 50-up. No pre-registration required; call 770.831.4173 for more information.

August 15, 1:00-3:00pm - Teddy Bear Picnic
Free! Bring your teddy bear buddy, lunch, and blanket for a special picnic and dessert! Great for tots and teddy bear lovers. Age 3-5; space is limited; pre-registration required, call 770.822.5414. Code: RJCC14205 Dacula Park Activity Building, 2735 Old Auburn Ave, Dacula.

August 17, 12:30pm – Senior Day Trip to Gwinnett Braves
Watch a Gwinnett Braves baseball game at the new Gwinnett Stadium. $20/person plus money for lunch; call 770.831.4173 for reservations. Code: GPCC14207 Ages 50-up. Pick up at Gwinnett Senior Center at Bethesda Park 12:30pm; George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center 1:00pm

August 20, 1:00pm – Senior Team Trivia Tournament
Come test your knowledge of history, current events, pop culture and more! Sign up as individuals or as teams (no more than 4/team). $2/person; pre-registration required. Ages 50-up. Call 770.564.4680 for more information. Code: GCSC04267 Gwinnett Senior Center at Bethesda Park, 225 Bethesda Church Rd, Lawrenceville.

August 21, 6:00pm-8:00am - Scout Camp Out
Flashlight tag, outdoor cooking, star gazing, tent pitching and more! Eagle Scouts and REI staff will assist Cub, Brownie and Weblo Scouts in setting up a campsite and getting back to nature for the night. Supply list will be provided prior to camp out. $24/1 adult & 1child; $10/additional person; pre-registration required by 8/15, call 770.822.8873. Code: RJGY143220 Tribble Mill Park, 2125 Tribble Mill Pkwy, Lawrenceville.

August 22, 6:00pm-midnight - Line Dance-a-thon
Two-Step your way into an evening of nothing but Line Dancing! Bring a snack to share, drinks are provided. Age 13-up; $5/person for early registration; $8/person the week prior to the event. To register, call 770.814.4914. Code: RJGY143220 Shorty Howell Park Activity Building, 2750 Pleasant Hill Rd, Duluth.

August 28, 6:00-9:30pm – Back-to-School Bash
Back to school doesn’t mean the fun has to end! Join us for swimming, Karaoke, dinner and a movie! Age 10-14; $10/person; pre-registration required, call 770.614.2060. Code: BPCC14205 Bogan Park Community Recreation Center, 2723 North Bogan Rd, Buford.

August 28, 8:00-10:00pm - Moonlight & Music Concert
Free! An evening of live music with Sons of Sailors, a tribute to Jimmy Buffet. This alcohol free event is in partnership with Gwinnett County Parks & Recreation and the Lawrenceville Tourism & Trade Association. Advanced reservations $60/table of 6; Lawn seating is free; call 770.822.5450 for table reservations. Code: GHCH14204 Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 Crogan Street, Lawrenceville.

August 29, 10:00am-3:00pm - Pinckneyville EXPO
Free! Meet instructors and see class demos including ballet, pottery, karate, painting and more! Kids ages 4-18 can enter the Awesome Artist Contest in three-dimensional art or drawing/painting! One entry per person; entry deadline is 8/26; call 770.417.2200. Code: PPCC04213 Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center, 4650 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Norcross.

August 29, noon-5:00pm - Museum Mania
Discover a behind-the-scenes look at the Gwinnett History Museum, with living history demonstrations, family activities, and information sessions. Fun for all ages; $6/person; pre-registration required, call 770.822.5178. Code: FSHM10296 Lawrenceville Female Seminary, 455 South Perry St, Lawrenceville.

Calendar of Events-September 2009
September 10, 6:30-9:00pm - Murder Mystery Theater
Are you ready to roll the dice and join us in uncovering the mystery? You’re invited to a VIP night at the Lady Luck Casino, where high rollers don’t just gamble for big money…but for their lives. Casino doors will swing open promptly at 6:30pm and you don’t want to miss any action. Ages 18-up; $30/person including a buffet dinner in the high rollers lounge. Pre-registration required by 9/7, call 770.822.5450. Code: GHCH14300. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 Crogan Street, Lawrenceville.

September 11, 6:30-9:00pm - Murder Mystery Theater
Are you ready to roll the dice and join us in uncovering the mystery? You’re invited to a VIP night at the Lady Luck Casino, where high rollers don’t just gamble for big money…but for their lives. Casino doors will swing open promptly at 6:30pm and you don’t want to miss any action. Ages 18-up; $30/person including a buffet dinner in the high rollers lounge. Pre-registration required by 9/7, call 770.822.5450. Code: GHCH14301. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 Crogan Street, Lawrenceville.

September 12, 10:00am-2:00pm - Yard Sale
Free admission! Come to our first yard sale and recycle your kids’ school clothes, find bargains and have fun too! Reservation required for sellers, call 770.831.4173; $20/space; must provide your own table. Event held outdoors, rain or shine. Concessions for sale. GCPR reserves the right to disallow items deemed inappropriate during this event. Code: GPCC14322 George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center, 55 Buford Hwy., Suwanee.

September 17, 6:30-9:00pm - Murder Mystery Theater
Are you ready to roll the dice and join us in uncovering the mystery? You’re invited to a VIP night at the Lady Luck Casino, where high rollers don’t just gamble for big money…but for their lives. Casino doors will swing open promptly at 6:30pm and you don’t want to miss any action. Ages 18-up; $30/person including a buffet dinner in the high rollers lounge. Pre-registration required by 9/7, call 770.822.5450. Code: GHCH14302. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 Crogan St., Lawrenceville.

September 18, 10:00am-2:00pm - Fun Day Picnic
Enjoy a low country boil with fun, fellowship and lots of activities and games! Come ready to have fun and meet our fabulous recreation club members! Age 50-up. $2/person; purchase tickets at the Gwinnett Senior Center or at your club meetings. Code: GCSC16365. Gwinnett Senior Center at Bethesda Park, 225 Bethesda Church Rd., Lawrenceville.

September 18, 5:30-9:00pm - Kids’ Night Out
Splash the night away! Bring a swimsuit and towel! Ages 6-10; $10/person; pre-registration required, call 770-614-2060. Code: BPCC14397. Bogan Park Community Recreation Center, 2723 North Bogan Rd., Buford.

September 18, 6:30-9:00pm - Murder Mystery Theater
Are you ready to roll the dice and join us in uncovering the mystery? You’re invited to a VIP night at the Lady Luck Casino, where high rollers don’t just gamble for big money…but for their lives. Casino doors will swing open promptly at 6:30pm and you don’t want to miss any action. Ages 18-up; $30/person including a buffet dinner in the high rollers lounge. Pre-registration required by 9/7, call 770.822.5450. Code: GHCH14303. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 Crogan St., Lawrenceville.

September 19, 9:00am-4:00pm - Yard Sale
Free admission! Bargains galore! Reservation required for sellers, call 770.814.4914; $20/space must provide your own table. Event held outdoors, rain or shine. Concessions for sale. GCPR reserves the right to disallow items deemed inappropriate during this event. Code: SHAB14300. Shorty Howell Park Activity Building, 2750 Pleasant Hill Rd., Duluth.

September 26, 9:00am-1:00pm - Fish Off
Bring the whole family for Georgia’s last day in 2009 of fishing with no fishing license required! Fishing competitions, games and scout badge tables. Hosted by Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation, Department of Natural Resources, Publix, Bass Pro Shops and more. All ages; $6/person or $10/adult with one child under 12; pre-registration required, call 770.614.2060. Code: BPCC14322. Little Mulberry Park, 3855 Fence Rd., Auburn.

September 26, 10:00am-1:00pm - Dog Park Safety
Free! Off leash areas for your favorite pooch and his pals! Park Police, Animal Control and Volunteer Resource Staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide valuable tips on how to “stay and play safe” in our dog parks. Call 770.822.8873 for more information. Ronald Reagan Park, 2777 Five Forks Trickum Rd.,Lawrenceville.

Calendar of Events-October 2009
Weekends in October, Saturdays 10:00am-4:00pm and Sundays noon-4:00pm - Pumpkin Patch!
Free admission! Grab your camera and get some great fall shots of your family on the farm picking a pumpkin! Tour the farm and enjoy 3 miles of walking trails through the beautiful fall leaves. McDaniel Farm Park, 3251 McDaniel Rd, Duluth, call 770-814-4920 for more information.

October 2 & 3, 7:00pm-9:00am - Family Camp In
Come join us for an old fashioned cookout, ghost stories, games and crafts! Bring your sleeping bag, pillow and flashlight and spend the night with us! Ages 5-up; $7/person; pre-register required by 9/25, call 770.723.9516. Code: LSCC14341. Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center, 4651 Britt Rd, Norcross.

October 3, 10:00am-1:00pm - Dog Park Safety
Free! It’s a pooch party in our off leash areas for your favorite dog! Park Police, Animal Control and Volunteer Resource Staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide valuable tips on how to “stay and play safe” in our dog parks.
Call 770.822.8873 for more information. Graves Park 1540 Graves Rd, Norcross.

October 3, 6:00pm-midnight - Line Dance-a-thon
Can you boot-scoot your boogie? Join us for nothing but line dancing! Bring a snack to share, drinks will be provided. Ages 13-up; $5/person early registration; $8/person the week prior to the event. To pre-register, call 770.814.4914.
Code: SHAB14301. Shorty Howell Park Activity Building, 2750 Pleasant Hill Rd, Duluth.

October 9, 8:00am-6:00pm - Kids Day Out
Schools out for a teacher work day so drop you kids off at the park and we’ll entertain them! Games, crafts, swimming and fun! Bring a sack lunch, drink and snacks. Age 6-12; $30/child; pre-registration required, call 770.814.4914.
Code: SHAB14303. Shorty Howell Park Activity Building, 2750 Pleasant Hill Rd, Duluth.

October 10, 9:00am-2:00pm - 2nd Annual Yard Sale
It's time to clean out your closets and garages and bring your unwanted items! Reservations for sellers required by 9/30, call 770.564.4680; Age 50-up. $15/inside space-Code: GCSC16301; $10/outside space-Code: GCSC16302. Spaces are on a first come first serve basis; limit 2 spaces per family; event is rain or shine. Gwinnett Senior Center at Bethesda Park, 225 Bethesda Church Rd., Lawrenceville.

October 16, 7:00-9:00pm - Mother/Son Halloween Dance
Superheros, princesses, pirates and other cute critters are all invited to dress up and enjoy this spooktacular event! (Costumes optional) Age 4-12; $5/person including light refreshments; pre-registration required, call 770.831.4173.
Code: GPCC14300. George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center, 55 Buford Highway, Suwanee.

October 16, 7:00-10:00pm - Haunted Night at the Museum
Gwinnett County’s ghosts come alive at the Gwinnett History Museum! Enjoy fun kid’s crafts, face painting, storytelling, and more! All ages ; $5/person; space is limited, pre-registration recommended, call 770.822.5178. Code: FSHM10310. Lawrenceville Female Seminary, 455 South Perry St, Lawrenceville.

October 16, 7:30-9:00pm - Murder Mystery Theater
When tempers flare at the opening of a new art exhibit, the remaining guests are left to uncover the truth behind “The ART of Murder”. Age 18-up $20/person including hors d'oeuvres and dessert/coffee bar; pre-registration required by 10/9; Call 770.417.2200. Code: PPCC14316. Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center, 4650 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Norcross.

October 17, 9:00am-noon - Parknership Volunteer Day
Free! Join the Gwinnett Parks Foundation in the “people in parks” event! There’s no better way to give back to your community than volunteering for a park beautification project! Bring garden gloves and hand tools and join your friends, family and neighbors in projects throughout the park. Bring a picnic and enjoy the rest of the day in the park. All ages welcome. Call 770.822.8873 for more information. Harbins Park, 2995 Luke Edwards Rd, Dacula. Holcomb Bridge Park, 4300 Holcomb Bridge Rd, Norcross. McDaniel Farm Park, 3251 McDaniel Rd, Duluth.

October 17, 10:00am-5:00pm - Croptoberfest
Have fun scrapbooking, networking and getting your photos in order! Learn new and fun ways to display your family memories. Age 50-up. $35/person including lunch; Pre-registration required, call 770.831.4173. Code: GPCC15375. George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center, 55 Buford Hwy., Suwanee.

October 17, 6:00pm - Murder Mystery Dinner
Enjoy an evening out with an entertaining tale and figure out who done it! Buffet dinner, drinks and dessert served. Age 10-up; $15/person; pre-register early, call 770.723.9516. Code: MPAB14361. Mountain Park Activity Building, 1063 Rockbridge Rd, Stone Mountain.

October 17, 7:00-10:00pm - Haunted Night at the Museum
Gwinnett County’s ghosts come alive at the Gwinnett History Museum! Enjoy fun kid’s crafts, face painting, storytelling, and more! All ages ; $5/person; space is limited, pre-registration recommended, call 770.822.5178. Code FSHM10311. Lawrenceville Female Seminary, 455 South Perry St, Lawrenceville.

October 17, 7:30-9:00pm - Murder Mystery Theater
When tempers flare at the opening of a new art exhibit, the remaining guests are left to uncover the truth behind “The ART of Murder”. Age 18-up $20/person including hors d'oeuvres and dessert/coffee bar; pre-registration required by 10/9; Call 770.417.2200. Code: PPCC14317. Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center, 4650 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Norcross.

October 21, 5:00am - Meteor Madness
See the Orionids meteor shower before you start your day. Continental breakfast will be served. All ages; $5/person; pre-registration required, call 770-614-2060. Code:BPCC14320. Little Mulberry Park, 3855 Fence Rd, Auburn.

October 23, 5:30-9:00pm - Kids’ Night Out
Splash the night away! Bring a swimsuit and towel! Ages 6-10; $10/person; pre-registration required, call 770-614-2060. Code: BPCC14398. Bogan Park Community Recreation Center, 2723 North Bogan Rd, Buford.

October 23, 7:00-9:00pm - Halloween Costume Party
Fun Halloween party with games, candy, and costume contest--prizes for the best family costume, the funniest, the scariest and more! All ages; $3/person (2-under free); pre-registration required by 10/16; call 770.417.2200. Code: PPCC14308. Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center, 4650 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Norcross.

October 23, 7:00-9:00pm - Halloween Dance
Moms...grab your sons and a costume and join us for this 4th annual spooky dance! Dancing, games, prizes, snacks, and a commemorative keepsake photo are all a part of this fun event! Costumes are required to enter the dance! Age 3-up; pre-registration required by 10/9, call 770.822.5414 for more information. Fee is $10 per person. Code RJCC14307. Dacula Park Activity Building, 2735 Old Auburn Ave, Dacula.

October 24, 10:00am-2:00pm – Pumpkin Patch Family Fun Day
Enjoy this special celebration of our Pumpkin Patch with hayrides, petting zoo, games and more! Admission is free, small fee for some activities. McDaniel Farm Park, 3251 McDaniel Rd, Duluth, call 770-814-4920 for more information.

October 30, 9:00am-noon - Senior Health Fair
Health screenings, demonstrations, fun activities, educational information, door prizes, goodie bags, and refreshments. Vendor spaces are $25/each, call 770.564.4680. Age 50-up. Code: GCSC16355. Gwinnett Senior Center at Bethesda Park, 225 Bethesda Church Rd., Lawrenceville.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Gwinnett GOP to Host Congressman Nathan Deal and D.A. Danny Porter at Saturday Breakfast

Rep. Nathan Deal, U.S. Congressman and 2010 candidate for Georgia governor, and Gwinnett DA Danny Porter will be the featured speakers at the Gwinnett GOP breakfast this Saturday. “There has never been a better time to get involved in the Gwinnett Republican Party,” said party chairman Chuck Efstration. “The Gwinnett GOP is devoted to informing concerned citizens about the best way to make a difference in the community.”

Congressman Deal made news this week by criticizing President Obama’s attempt to quickly implement an overhaul of the American health care system before the August congressional recess. “Most of us believe that the decision as to major reform of how Americans get their health care in this country deserves at least as much time and deliberation as it would take to select a puppy to live in the White House,” Deal said on CNN. “It took the president six months to decide how long and which puppy he was going to have. ... To expect Congress to do something on major health care reform in six days is totally irresponsible.”

Danny Porter, Gwinnett County’s District Attorney, will also speak at the breakfast. Porter has served as district attorney since 1992 and made news this week by personally prosecuting Michael Douglas Fox for the 2007 murder of Jerry Ann Elliot in Duluth. Fox was found guilty of malice murder, felony murder and armed robbery and sentenced to life in prison.

The breakfast is this Saturday, August 1, at 8:30 a.m. at the Sweet Tomatoes restaurant located at 3505 Mall Blvd. in Duluth across from Gwinnett Place Mall. Breakfast service begins at 8 a.m.

For more information on this Saturday’s meeting or other upcoming Gwinnett Republican Party events, please visit our web site at http://www.gwinnettgop.org/ or send an email to gwinnettrepublicanparty@gmail.com.
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Friends Offers U.S. Open Tickets to Public

Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services (Friends) will be offering U.S. Open tickets to the public on Thursday, July 30 at their seventh annual Silent Auction. All proceeds will benefit the Gwinnett County seniors.

This spectacular event will be held at Delmar Gardens, 3100 Club Drive in Lawrenceville from 6:00pm to 8:30pm. The theme for this year’s auction is the “Roaring 20’s” and will feature other items such as AirTran roundtrip airline tickets, featured attractions, entertainment packages, stay at King & Prince Golf & Tennis Resort on St. Simons Island, and fabulous Ritz-Carlton Lodge on Lake Oconee.

Friends is a private volunteer governed nonprofit organization. The organization’s fundraising efforts have resulted in emergency assistance, home repair, food baskets, dental, medical health and wellness screenings to benefit the senior citizens of Gwinnett. Friends has also met budget shortfalls by supporting 133,825 meals and nutritional dietary supplement drinks for the older population.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Ticket price includes admittance to the event, entertainment, food and beverages, a door prize ticket and participation in the silent and live auction.

For more information or to purchase advance tickets, please contact Celia Moore at 770.822.8775 or celia.moore@gwinnettcounty.com

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

County Receives Stimulus Funds for Senior Services Center Construction

Gwinnett County Senior Services received $1.1 million in federal stimulus funds through the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009 from HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims today to construct Phase I of a new $1.4 million Senior Services Center in Lawrenceville. The remaining funds will be provided by the Community Development Block Grant Program.

“Currently, the staff is spread out over at four different locations. This new building will bring staff together and serve as a one-stop center for seniors and their caregivers”, Linda Bailey, senior services manager, said.

Staff at the Senior Services Center will be able to match seniors with available resources such as home meal delivery, counseling and respite care. There will also be two community rooms that will be used for educational programs and meetings for senior-related issues. “With baby boomers now reaching retirement age, our senior population will grow dramatically over the next decades. We will not only provide services to more than 2,000 seniors annually, but also their family members and caregivers”, Bailey said.

The new facility is designed as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver building to maximize energy savings when compared to conventional construction. The facility will be built using recycled material from the building that currently sits on the 6.4 acre site. It will also feature energy-efficient windows, a reflective roof and low-flow plumbing fixtures.

“We are grateful for HUD’s support to help us get this center constructed in order to meet the needs of our growing senior population,” Chairman Charles Bannister said. “This project is a great example of one that was ready to go, one that will serve our community, and one that uses sustainable techniques in its deign and construction.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fed Stimulus Money Helps Traffic Flow

Fiber optic traffic signal controls will be added to sections of Buford Highway and Sugarloaf Parkway using the federal stimulus funds Gwinnett Commissioners appropriated on Tuesday. The equipment to be installed over the next 18 months will add 12 more miles of remote-control capabilities to the current system.

The Board awarded a $2.58-million contract to Infrasource Underground Construction Services, LLC. The funds will come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that Congress passed earlier this year.

The controls on Buford Highway will be installed between Global Forum Boulevard and Sugarloaf Parkway. The Sugarloaf Parkway project will run from Peachtree Industrial Boulevard to State Route 20/Grayson Highway.

The new equipment will allow Gwinnett’s Traffic Control Center to monitor traffic using live video cameras and make adjustments to traffic signal timing by remote control. The Georgia DOT will also use the cameras as part of their Georgia Navigator system.

“This equipment really helps us move traffic, spot congestion or malfunctioning signals, and monitor detours,” said Gwinnett DOT Director Brian Allen. “We are grateful for these federal funds to help us expand our traffic monitoring system.”
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Road Upgrades Get Green Light

Gwinnett Commissioners on Tuesday awarded three contracts for roadway safety and sidewalk improvements to be funded from 2005 SPLOST revenues.

Hope Hollow Road will get safety improvements including wider shoulders from Plantation Run Drive to Hope Hollow Lane and an intersection upgrade at Hope Hollow Lane. Gary’s Grading and Pipeline, Inc. was the lowest of 11 bidders at $1.02 million for the nine-month project.

The Dickerson Group, Inc., was the lowest responsive bidder out of 13 bids received for two other safety projects. One will improve the intersection of Pate Road and Old Loganville Road by adding turn lanes at the i 072109_DOT_SPLOSTprojects.docntersection and at the entrances to nearby neighborhoods. The bid was just under $818,000 for the nine-month project.

Dickerson will also extend sidewalks on Bethany Church Road from SR-124 to the Centerville Library. The four-month, $310,000 project will provide a continuous pedestrian connection from Shiloh High School to State Route 124.
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Tanks for the Memories

The iconic water tanks that proudly proclaim “Success Lives Here” and “Gwinnett Is Great” to hundreds of thousands of motorists on I-85 have become victims of the success for which Gwinnett County has been known for many years. The tanks, roughly 35 years old, are on a list of facilities and equipment made obsolete by recent water system improvements. They will be removed and possibly sold following action by the Board of Commissioners today.

The two famous tanks, a pumping station and a radio tower share a landlocked site off Goshen Springs Road near Jimmy Carter Boulevard adjacent to Interstate 85. Together the tanks once held two million gallons of water and helped pressurize water mains in the area as well as provide water for times of high consumption. But upgrades to the Norcross Pump Station and the installation of a new 24-inch main connecting the water distribution system on both sides of the railroad through the city of Norcross negated the useful function of these tanks.

“It was costing us about $40,000 a year to operate the Goshen Springs facilities, plus painting and maintaining the tanks costs about $250,000 every seven years,” said Lynn Smarr, acting director of Gwinnett’s Water Resources department. She said the tanks and equipment would be put out for bid as surplus.

Another large tank on Medlock Bridge Road near Spalding Drive, which used to say “Water for Peachtree Corners,” and a fourth tall but narrow surge tank near Duluth are also on the list for demolition along with two additional pump stations on Old Peachtree Road at Sunny Hill Road and on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard at Price Road. The capacity of all four tanks is equal to about 90 minutes of usage at today’s pumping rates. “These facilities have served their life expectancy and it is time for them to be retired,” said Smarr. “We have continued to improve the water distribution system over the years, and these facilities no longer add to its functionality.”

“Decommissioning all these tanks and pump stations will save about $100,000 in annual operating costs and about the same in annual capital costs,” according to County Administrator Jock Connell. “So the dismantling cost of about $350,000 would be paid back in cost savings in less than two years.”

“Success Lives Here” has become a well-known slogan used extensively by local governments and the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce over the years. A recent online search returned 29 million uses of the phrase. “On one hand, I hate to see those towers go but on the other hand, removing them will certainly help beautify these areas by eliminating the industrial feel of the big tanks,” said Smarr. “And, of course, success will continue to live in Gwinnett County.”
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County Gets Fuel Savings

The advantages of a new fuel purchasing co-op became apparent Tuesday when the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners approved a one-year, $14-million contract for gasoline and diesel fuel that is expected to save Gwinnett County about $65,000 per year. The County announced in April that it was forming the co-op with 15 other local government agencies to use their combined purchasing power to get reduced rates.

The primary supplier, based on competitive bids, is Mansfield Oil Company of Gainesville. Secondary and tertiary suppliers are D-Jay Petroleum, Inc., and Indigo Energy Partners, respectively. The fuel will be used by cars, trucks, school buses and other government vehicles.

Last year, Gwinnett County bought two million gallons of gasoline and four million gallons of diesel fuel at a cost of $18 million, according to Fleet Management Director Michael Lindsay. The added benefit of improved communication among the 16 agencies is likely to lead to additional cooperation and cost savings, Lindsay said.

Gwinnett Purchasing Director Scott Callan said the agencies combined will save around $450,000 annually. Participants include seven counties, five cities and four of the largest county school systems in the metro Atlanta area.
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Monday, July 20, 2009

Gwinnett Commission Announces Community Engagement Initiative

Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charles Baniniser and Board of Commissioners Call for County, Chamber Partners to Form Committee to Examine Five-Year Needs, Propose Funding Strategies

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 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.

“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.”

“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 countywide¾and community-wide ¾plan 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
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Commissioners Make First Round of Cuts

In response to the public’s desire to cut services rather than raise taxes, the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners today approved the first in a series of reductions to the 2009 budget and the five-year financial plan. Taking a phased approach to cuts, the County eliminated spending to the tune of $81 million in round one and in doing so balanced the 2009 budget. The cuts affect services in nearly every area of county government operations.

Last March the Board of Commissioners adopted a budget that was built upon a substantial millage rate increase, with the additional revenue from the increase intended to fund the 2009 budget and improvements to services across the organization as part of the county’s five-year plan. The Board of Commissioners reconsidered their position on the property tax increase and voted against it on June 2. After today’s decision, the County is looking at a budget deficit of $60 million in FY 2010, $45 million in FY 2011, and $44 million in FY 2012.

“Immediately following the vote on June 2, I directed County staff to find ways to close the gap–looking at the current fiscal year first, followed by future years’ budgets,” said Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charles Bannister. “The only way to narrow the deficit is to make severe cuts that equate to substantial changes in service levels. Our goal is to preserve the core services we provide to residents, however, every department in the organization will experience a budget reduction that will impact the level of services we can deliver.”

The first round of cuts includes the elimination of all 2009 Board of Commissioners initiatives, more than 100 vacant positions and several program modifications. Today’s reductions* will be incorporated in the County’s budget reconciliation process that will take place in July. Another set of recommendations will be brought before the Board of Commissioners for consideration at the July 21 meeting.
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Commission Chairman Charles Bannister re: Property Tax Increase

Welcome, as most of you already know, I’m Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charles Bannister. I have held elected office in this county for 34 years and every year I’ve served, I‘ve done so as a conservative Republican. During all of those years, I’ve voted only once for a tax increase- and that was for a tobacco tax. From the day I took office as commission chairman, I have stressed efficiency with my fellow commissioners and county staff.

I say all of this because the financial situation facing Gwinnett County at this time is the most difficult I have ever seen. When I proposed a property tax increase for Gwinnett County, I did so only because I did not believe the other options were in the best interest of Gwinnett’s citizens.

However, we have heard the message sent to us by the citizens and property owners of Gwinnett County and I plan to postpone the vote to set the millage rate. We will conduct our advertised millage public hearing next Tuesday at 10:30am, but it is my intention to table the millage vote scheduled to take place at 2:00pm on June 2.

Much of the concern we’ve heard from the public about the proposed millage increase was generated by misinformation spread about alleged county plans to take over city police departments and the alleged disproportionate taxation of city businesses and residents. None of this information is true. However, we also heard from our citizens about the genuine hardship this increase may cause for some of the citizens of Gwinnett County.

What we will do now is take another look at our current budget and future budgets to see where we can make additional cuts. These cuts will be as aggressive as possible and could impact some of our more protected interests, including financial policies that support our AAA bond rating.

I want to emphasize – our board has already been through this exercise. We have made significant cuts and we have also implemented significant increases to other revenues – all to the tune of $40 million or about 7.8% of our already lean general fund.

To find the additional money, we will have to take another hard look at our biggest operating expenses – courts, parks, libraries and personnel costs. Any additional cuts we make will have significant visible and tangible impacts on county services. Because of the serious consequences further cuts will bear, I am calling on all of our county leadership – civic and elected – to come together to help solve this crisis. Now is the time to put this community ahead of personality, politics, turf, and personal ambition.

I have no firm details at this time to share about additional cuts or how or when we’ll get all county leadership to the table. We are going back to work on our budget immediately and I will be in contact with the other leaders in the coming hours and days.
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Free, Fun Activities at Third Annual Trail Mix Celebration

Head outside and explore the trails as Gwinnett County Parks & Recreation celebrates National Trails Day! A huge success for the past two years, this year’s Trail Mix Celebration will be held Sat., June 6, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Tribble Mill Park in Lawrenceville.

The day will begin with a fishing derby at 8 a.m., followed by a fun equestrian scavenger hunt for those with their own horses at 8:30 a.m. The Gwinnett Parks Foundation’s two-mile Trail Mix Fun Run/Walk begins at 9 a.m. with an entry fee of $10 per person or $25 for a family of up to five people, and includes a commemorative t-shirt. Registration for the Fun Run/Walk begins at 8:30 a.m.

A 5-mile strenuous nature hike that winds through the park begins at 10 a.m., plus lots of fun activities including hayrides, a petting zoo, pony rides, make-and-take crafts, a rock climbing wall, environmental, animal, outdoor, fishing, and educational programs, plus programs presented by master Gardeners. See how fast you can go through Tribble’s mountain biking trails as timed trials for those with their own bicycles will be held from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Food concessions will also be available for sale.

Tribble Mill Park is located at 2125 Tribble Mill Pkwy. (off of New Hope Rd.) in Lawrenceville. For more information, call 770.822.8840 or visit www.gwinnettparks.com.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

RE/MAX Around Atlanta Wraps Up Collection for Gwinnett families

Drop off items in Duluth before May 31st

RE/MAX Around Atlanta encourages volunteers to drop of donations of food, infant clothing and funds for the Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry and Joseph’s Storehouse Clothes Closet before the collection ends on May 31, 2009.

The collection is part of an effort by Northeast Atlanta Metro Association of Realtors (NAMAR) members in six Gwinnett County real estate offices.

Volunteers may drop food, infant clothing or monetary donations at: • RE/MAX Around Atlanta, 2280 Satellite Boulevard, Duluth;
• Coldwell Banker, 1970 Main Street E #D, Snellville;
• Keller Williams – 2170 Satellite Boulevard, Duluth;
• Metro Brokers – 3330 Satellite Boulevard, Duluth; or
• Prudential – 1551 Janmar Road, Snellville.

“We understand that the Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry served more than 1,100 families in January alone, which is more than twice the number they served in January of 2007,” says Sharon Dover, co-broker/owner of RE/MAX Around Atlanta.

“They distribute more than 40,000 cans of food each month, and they provide limited financial assistance for utilities, prescriptions and emergency housing.”

The Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry, Inc. is an ecumenical organization sponsored and operated by an alliance of area churches, combining the resources of church members to meet the emergency needs of people in the community.

For more information on the Ministry, visit www.LawrencevilleCo-op.org or call 770-339-7887.

Joseph’s Storehouse Clothes Closet is a Christian Outreach Ministry of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, which was created by Minister Joyce Dennison in 1999 to provide clothing and encouragement at no cost to all in need. For more information, call Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Lawrenceville at 770-962-1910.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gwinnett Will Lease Stone Mountain Tennis

Gwinnett commissioners agreed Tuesday to lease Stone Mountain tennis facilities that were built for the 1996 Olympics. The Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA) owns the facilities, which are located in Gwinnett County. The 50-year, $1 per year lease agreement covers a 24.5-acre site at 5525 Bermuda Road and includes 15 outdoor tennis courts and support facilities. The existing tennis stadium on the site is not included in the agreement.

More than 300 citizens signed a petition asking the County to lease the property for a public park after it was closed recently. “This is a great opportunity to use existing facilities and open them back up for public use,” said District 3 Commissioner Mike Beaudreau, who credited the strong citizen support for the move. “This is a vital gateway to our County. Much of the credit goes to Brett Harrell and the Evermore CID for working behind the scenes with the SMMA to make this day a reality.”

The County plans to make improvements and renovations beginning next year with completion by mid-summer 2010.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Commission to Hold Public Hearings on Proposed Tax Increase

The Gwinnett County Commission today announced plans to conduct a series of public hearings on a proposed increase in the county’s property taxes.

The public hearings will be held at 4:30 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. on May 26 and at 10:30 a.m. on June 2 in the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center (GJAC) at 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville. Citizens are also encouraged to attend public information forums that will be conducted one hour before each hearing. The commission is expected to act on the proposal following the final public hearing on June 2.

The commission’s consideration of the tax increase follows its adoption earlier this year of a $1.7 billion 2009 budget that reflected needed increased staffing in the county’s police, fire and emergency services departments, efficiency in government service and long-term financial stability. Over the past 12 years, the Board of Commissioners has rolled back property taxes by a total of 3.98 mills. The rollback was possible in part because the county’s rapid growth generated sufficient tax revenues to cover the cost of expanding service needs. In recent years, however, the county’s growth rate has begun to slow.

“We are undergoing a natural and unavoidable transition from high growth to maturity, and that change holds implications both for the services we provide and the way we pay for them,” said County Administrator Jock Connell. “We have been projecting for several years that 2009 would be the year when service demands would exceed revenues produced by natural growth in our tax digest. I should add that the current economic situation compounds our challenges, but it is not a primary cause.”

The County’s situation is complicated by the fact that the Service Delivery Strategy negotiations with Gwinnett County’s 15 municipalities will require the county to dramatically alter its millage rate and accounting structures. The new rate structure will add four new service districts in order to segregate funding for municipal and unincorporated EMS, fire and police services. The 2009 tax structure will decrease the general fund levy, but an increase in the recreation levy, coupled with the new funds, will result in a 2.87 – 3.31 mill increase depending on where in the county a property is located.

“We recognize that the increase is significant and that it comes at a difficult time economically,” said Connell. “But we would also point out that even with this proposed increase, the owner of an average $200,000 home in Gwinnett County would be paying about $2.50 a day for the full array of county government services, including police, fire and EMS protection; transportation; parks and recreation; libraries; the sheriff’s department and county courts; and health and human services.”

The millage increase to be decided on June 2 applies only to the county government’s portion of the property tax bill, which is slightly less than one-third of the total bill. The remaining two-thirds of the bill that funds Gwinnett County Public Schools will be unaffected by the proposed increase.

At each of the public hearings, Gwinnett County citizens will be given an opportunity to express their views about the proposed tax increase.
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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May Happenings

May 9, 9:00am-4:00pm - Family Fun and Yard Sale
Free admission! Start the summer with family fun and find some bargains on clothes, jewelry, books and more at this great old fashioned yard sale! Free games and crafts for the little ones. Concessions for sale. Reservation required for sellers; $20/space and a table; $10/space only, call 770.723.9516. GCPR reserves the right to disallow items deemed inappropriate during this event. Event held outdoors, rain or shine. Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center, 4651 Britt Rd, Norcross. Code: LSCC14210

May 9, 10:00am-4:00pm - Old McDaniel Day
Free admission! Enjoy a day filled with farm life of yesterday. Lots of arts, crafts and food vendors. Craft vendor’s fee is $50, Food vendor’s fee is $100; call 770.814.4920 for more details and vendor information. McDaniel Farm Park, 3251 McDaniel Rd, Duluth. Code: MDFP10196

May 11, 7:00-9:00pm - Gwinnett ‘Staycation’
Free! Vacation is just around the corner--really just around the corner! See what Gwinnett has to offer, take a virtual tour of the #1 park system in the nation with the Park Police and Recreation Staff. Learn about park safety and how to vacation for free at your county parks! All ages, pre-registration encouraged, call 770.822.8873. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 Crogan St, Lawrenceville. Code: VRHPC14100

May 15, 8:30am – Senior Day Trip to Booth Western Art Museum and Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site
This 80,000 square foot Cartersville Georgia Museum features contemporary Western American and Civil War art, Presidential portraits and letters, Western movie posters, and Western illustration. Etowah Indian State Park Mounds was home to several thousand Native Americans 1000 A.D. to 1550 A.D., the 54 acre site contains six mounds, a plaza, village area, a museum and more. $25.00/person (lunch is included); call 770.564.4680 for reservations. Ages 50-up. Pick up at George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center 8:30am; Gwinnett Senior Center at Bethesda Park 9:00am. Code: GCSC14202

May 16, 10:00am-2:00pm - Rock Springs Park Opening Celebration
Free admission! Bring the family and enjoy kid’s activities and fun at the opening of Gwinnett County’s newest park, call 770.822.8840 for more information. Rock Springs Park, 550 Rock Springs Rd, Lawrenceville.

May 21, 1:00pm – Senior Wii Bowling Tournament
Come and test your bowling skills on our Nintendo Wii! All skill levels welcome. Prizes will be awarded for high score, best single game, low score and much more. Only $1/person; pre-registration required, call 770.564.4680. Ages 50-up. Gwinnett Senior Center at Bethesda Park, 225 Bethesda Church Rd, Lawrenceville. Code GCSC14264

May 21, 2:00pm – Senior Cinema
Free! Do you remember your favorite movie from the 50’s? Enjoy a relaxing movie, bring a friend or make new ones! Movie selections are based on popular movies from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Ages 50-up. No pre-registration required; call 770.831.4173 for more information.

May 22, 8:00-10:00pm - Moonlight & Music Concert
Free! An evening of live music with Squat Jazz Band. This alcohol free event is in partnership with Gwinnett County Parks & Recreation and the Lawrenceville Tourism & Trade Association. Advanced reservations $60/table of 6; Lawn seating is free; call 770.822.5450 for table reservations. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, 185 Crogan St, Lawrenceville. Code: GHCH14200

May 28, 8:00am – Senior Day Trip to The Museum of Aviation
Travel to Warner Robins and visit the crown jewel of middle Georgia, The Museum of Aviation, now the second largest museum in the United States Air Force! Lunch at the Victory Café. $25/person plus money for lunch and gift shop; call 404.831.4173 for reservations. Ages 50-up. Pick up at George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center 8:00am; Gwinnett Senior Center at Bethesda Park 8:30am. Code: GPCC14205

May 30, 10:00am-3:00pm - Kids Connect Carnival
Carnival games, face painting, live entertainment and fun art activities! $3/person in advance; $5/person at the door; age 2-under free; pre-registration encouraged; call 770.417.2200. Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center, 4650 Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Norcross. Code: PCC04211
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