Wednesday, August 25, 2010

County Establishes Commute Resource Program

Gwinnett officials held a press conference for Department of Transportation’s GC Smart Commute program on Aug. 24. The program provides a resource for Gwinnett residents to view live traffic feeds of heavily-traveled intersections and corridors to plan their daily commute. Speakers included Commission Chairman Charles Bannister and Gwinnett County Department of Transportation Director Brian Allen.

Live feeds show real-time traffic looped for 12 heavily-used intersections and corridors in Gwinnett County during peak hours of commuter traffic; 16 intersections are shown during off-peak hours. GC Smart Commute is currently available for citizens 24/7 at www.gcsmartcommute.com and on TVgwinnett through Gwinnett government access cable channels, weekdays between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and again between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Chairman Bannister said, “This program is a great resource for Gwinnett commuters and is a step in the right direction toward reducing traffic jams and congestion in the county.”

Cameras were installed to monitor arterial and corridor traffic flow for real-time adjustments from the Gwinnett Traffic Control Center. Approximately 100 cameras are currently operating with a total of 145 expected to be operating within the next year.

The Advanced Transportation Management System/Intelligent Transportation System (ATMS/ITS) and Traffic Control Center enhancements were funded through the 2001 and 2009 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) programs. Gwinnett County installs, maintains and operates all cameras.

Residents can share ideas about GC Smart Commute by calling 770.822.7400 or e-mailing dotcommunityrelations@gwinnettcounty.com.
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Charity Golf Tournament at TPC Sugarloaf to benefit FRIENDS

Savor the Swing! The inaugural FRIENDS Charity Golf Classic at TPC Sugarloaf is scheduled for Monday, August 30, 2010.

Friends of Gwinnett County Senior Services (FRIENDS) is a volunteer-governed non-profit organization that privately supplements core programming needs ranging from home-delivered meals to case management services for Gwinnett Senior Services.

The generosity of presenting sponsor Humana, and major support from Delta Air Lines, Crossroads Hospice, Ernest Communications, Laurel Grove Retirement Community, Primerica, Prudential, and Ritz-Carlton Golf Club & Spa combine to produce a memorable experience for a wonderful cause.

Aside from playing on the course that formerly hosted the PGA Tour’s BellSouth Classic for many years, players will have an opportunity to win prizes from competitions ranging from long-drives to closest-to-the-pin. In addition, they will have live drawing chances to win stay-and-play experiences for four at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico or Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and Spa in Jupiter, FL. Where else can you vie to win first-class round trip domestic Delta Air Lines tickets or a round of golf for four at TPC Sawgrass?

Proceeds from this extraordinary event will help to sponsor senior meals, assist with emergency situations, and provide materials for critical home repairs or maintenance issues. FRIENDS has raised funds to be able to donate six fully-equipped Meals on Wheels vehicles to Gwinnett County government, thus meeting the service demands for the second-largest senior population in Georgia.

Step to the tee at TPC Sugarloaf to savor the swing and support FRIENDS by contacting Gary Galloway at 770.822.8837 or by e-mail at gary.galloway@gwinnettcounty.com.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gwinnett Commissioners Accept Mid-Year Budget

A revised fiscal year 2010 budget was approved by the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. This customary process adjusts the current year’s spending plan to address changes that have taken place since the Board adopted the 2010 budget in January. This year’s reconciliation budget includes declining property values that produced a $31 million shortfall.

“I’m pleased to announce that this budget gets us through 2010 without additional service cuts,” said Chairman Charles Bannister. “It doesn’t balance projected budgets for future years, but County staff is working on additional measures to ensure Gwinnett’s long-term financial strength. As we rebuild our 2011 through 2015 financial plan, we’ll focus on core services and mindfully consider the Engage Gwinnett committee recommendations.”

The revised budget totals $1.56 billion. CFO Aaron Bovos noted that most of the changes within the County’s financial plan relate to the capital project funds as a result of carrying unspent project balances forward from 2009. The capital plan also includes a $49.4 million reduction as a result of sales tax (SPLOST) revenues being below projections.

The revised operating budget totals $1.01 billion, which takes into account the impacts of declining property values and the subsequent decrease in property tax revenue. Ambulance service fees were also down along with alcohol-related taxes and fire permits.

Property tax revenue from a millage rate increase late last year will provide $18 million to help reduce this year’s deficit as recommended by Engage Gwinnett and allows $21.2 million to be applied to reduce accrued liabilities. An additional $10 million is planned to be used to pay outstanding debt and $5 million will complete a commitment to the Gwinnett Hospital Authority. This one-time property tax revenue came from a March 2010 billing that made up the difference between a temporary millage rate billed in August 2009 and the final tax rate set in December 2009.

“Using a portion of the one-time tax revenue to balance the 2010 budget frees County leaders to focus on future budget challenges,” said Engage Gwinnett Co-Chairman Mike Levengood. “There are certain to be some tough choices ahead, but many of the Engage Gwinnett recommendations will serve as a roadmap to meet those challenges.”
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