Annual State of City, County held Friday

Various Chamber representatives, along with City and County officials including Commissioners Chad Steward, Kevin Cunningham, Norris Sexton, Bud Owens, Becky Hood; City Officials Larry Vickery, Mayor Jimmy palmer, Council members George Crowley and Ray Denmon, pose for a photo at the annual State of City, County meeting held Friday.

SHELLY DORTCH/For the Calhoun Times

Calhoun Mayor Jimmy Palmer and Gordon County Board of Commissioners Chair both addressed a large audience at the annual State of City, County meeting held at Georgia Northwestern Technical College on Friday, Feb. 23. The annual meeting is sponsored by Gordon County Chamber of Commerce Development Authority.

Mayor Palmer began the meeting thanking everyone in attendance for voting for the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

"Using SPLOST dollars, we have bought several pieces of equipment such as street sweepers, police cars, bucket trucks; different equipment for many different departments," said Mayor Palmer. "Using SPLOST dollars, we were also able to do a sewer replacement project which included parts of Piedmont Street, Line Street, Trammel Street, College Street, Fain, Woodland as well as Chandler Street. We will be able to continue this progress with a new sewer expansion replacement in the Red Bud Road area. Another major project was Peters Street, which is a joint City-County project. We are pleased to say things are going well, the project is 90 percent complete. It includes sidewalks, curb, gutter as well as improved drainage in the area. It is a very nice project, quite a community improvement."

Mayor Palmer also mentioned the new section of the recreation department, which allowed the City to host several district, regional and state sports tournaments, which brought approximately 10,000 people and more than $1.5 million dollars to the community.

"We have two intersection-improvement projects about to take

place that have been approved," said Palmer. "One of those is the intersection at McDaniel Station Road, which will be the addition of a turn lane. The other intersection improvement is at Red Bud Road and Highway 41. This improvement will include turn lanes."

According to Mayor Palmer, another large event for the City in 2017 was making the final payment on Fields Ferry Golf Course.

"It is used by industry, by City and County schools, by many clubs and organizations as fundraisers," said Palmer. "We've had region as well as state championships (from the local schools), we are very proud of what we've been able to accomplish (at the golf course)."

Palmer mentioned the safety of the community, with Calhoun being identified as one of the Top 35 Safest Cities in Georgia, the Calhoun Police Department being awarded the Governors Cup and the CPD being recognized as Agency of the Year.

Palmer then introduced Gordon County Chair Becky Hood, telling the audience that the relationship between the City and County is stronger than ever.

Hood began by introducing several new appointments in the County since last year.

"I am very pleased to have Jim Ledbetter as our County Administrator," said Hood. "Jim has been our County Attorney since 2014 and took on the position of Administrator in November."

She also mentioned adding Courtney Taylor as EMA Director and Steve Parris as Public Works Director.

"These gentlemen are very familiar with Gordon County; they have over a combined 50 years of service to Gordon County Government."

Hood also thanked everyone who voted for SPLOST, telling the audience that it enables the county to grow services and infrastructure as the economy and population grows.

"Some of the SPLOST projects scheduled for 2018-2024 include public safety vehicles and facilities, renovations of several county buildings, agriculture event facility and economic development, a new evidence building and morgue and new parks and recreation attractions, especially on the east side of the county.

Hood mentioned current SPLOST projects that continue to move forward, including a new Animal Control facility, in which the design phase has been completed; the Courthouse and Annex renovations that are in the final design phases and the design planning of the new Health Department.

"Our departments have done an outstanding job in 2017," said Hood. "We have a great team of department supervisors and employees who serve our county well."

Hood reported that the Gordon County Sheriff's Office came in under budget for the ninth consecutive year; the Superior Court Clerk's Office has scanned all deed documents back to Book 1; the State of Georgia chose the District Attorney's Office to participate in an electronic filing project scheduled to begin this year and the Juvenile Court ADJUST program completed another successful year serving local youth that would otherwise be committed to the State Department of Juvenile Justice. She also mentioned that Gordon County Fire & Rescue has completed 20,000 hours of training and graduated 11 students from the first in-house City/County Emergency Medical Technician Advanced class.

Hood also reported that the Highway 53 Bypass is ahead of schedule, with an estimated completion date of March 2021.

"We look forward to the next year as we continue to grow and expand and offer the people of Gordon County the best services we can provide," said Hood.