One of the priorities for new District 6 Fulton County Commissioner Joe Carn is to make certain county services, programs and policies impact all six districts equally.
It didn’t take long for the College Park resident to demonstrate his concern for equality of districts during his inaugural meeting as a member of the board of commissioners Nov. 6, after his special election victory Oct. 15 to fill the unexpired term of Emma Darnell, who died May 5.
One of the agenda items at that meeting was a request from the Fulton Department of Public Works seeking commission approval of a resolution which would increase water and sewer volumetric rates countywide by 5% for each of the next three years.
This increase would go toward completing the water-sewer work necessary to implement the 2020 through 2026 Water and Wastewater Capital Improvement Program.
The resolution was held by a 7-0 vote and scheduled to be addressed at the Nov. 20 meeting so the commission would have time to study it more closely.
In addressing the board, Carn said the water and sewer study did not include portions of south Fulton.
“I wanted to make sure the study was a little more thorough and make sure everyone’s needs are included before we vote on something,” he said.
Carn brings more than 20 years of leadership to the commission as a community activist and College Park councilman. He served three terms on the council, including being named vice mayor.
While serving in the vice mayor’s position, he lobbied the Georgia Legislature to enact a special hotel-motel tax which generated millions in new revenue for College Park.
Carn said during his election campaign he spent a lot of time listening to District 6 residents’ needs and concerns. One of his goals as a commissioner is to see the construction of a new multipurpose senior center in the district.
He said there are not enough health-related facilities in District 6 or regional hospitals in south Fulton.
“Since the Georgia Legislature eased restrictions regarding certificates of need so hospitals can come into the community, we hope a hospital or large health center will be constructed in south county,” Carn said. “A large, multipurpose center is something that is desperately needed, and I am going to do my best to see if we can provide funding for programming and staffing of such a center, which the community wants.”
In addition, Carn said he wants to take a look at the county tax assessor’s office in how it handles residential and commercial assessments, including appeals, about which he had heard numerous times from his constituents.
Carn said, even in his short time in the District 6 commission seat, he has learned commissioners have to stand up for their constituents, “and I have a wide variety of constituents in portions of the nine cities in the district I represent.”
He said District 6 is very diverse, with both commercial properties and agricultural farmland. Carn added it also has numerous urban issues “which have a completely different set of concerns.”
“We also have in this district environmental issues, senior citizen issues and youth issues, so it is more of a diverse area than I had as a College Park councilman,” he said.
District 3 Commissioner Lee Morris said Carn will “bring a fresh perspective to the commission.”
“It is clear to me already that he is very close to his district,” Morris said. “Obviously, he has been involved in District 6 for a long time and it is really clear he has his pulse on what his district needs and that is going to be very important.”