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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