(Editor's note: the following is a Letter to the Editor written by council members Dave Emanuel, Bobby Howard, Diane Krause and Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts.)
Without question, 2012 had more than its share of challenges, but it was also a year of great accomplishments for the City of Snellville. Some of these include:
A New City Manager
Arguably the most important person in city government, the City Manager runs the day-to-day operations and supervises all department heads. After interviewing four exceptional candidates, the City Council selected Butch Sanders as the best of the best. In his first few months on the job, he has done an outstanding job, and has already made significant improvements in City operations.
The Snellville Farmer’s Market
For the third consecutive year, it achieved national recognition as one of the best in the country The Market was ranked #1 in Georgia and the #2 medium sized Market in the U. S.
The Community Garden
Still in its embryonic stage, the Garden is starting to blossom. During 2012, the original plans became a reality and set the stage for the Garden to reach full bloom in 2013.
Lower Taxes, Improved Financial Condition
Like other cities in Gwinnett County, Snellville benefited financially from settlement of the SDS lawsuit. Although there was a bit of disagreement, the majority of Council prevailed and rather than spend the extra funds, approved a conservative budget along with a lower tax rate. But in spite of lower taxes, the implementation of a responsible fiscal strategy actually improved the city’s financial condition.
The safety of our citizens is always a top priority and Snellville took a big step towards ensuring that with the implementation of an emergency warning system. Code Red is a sophisticated system that sends warning messages by phone, text message and e-mail. It is free to all residents.
Aimee Copeland Fundraiser
Volunteers from both inside and outside the City came together in an exceptional display of compassion, and raised over $19,000 for Aimee, who has suffered the effects of a rare flesh-eating bacterial disease.
Snellville’s Portable Stage
Delivered in early 2012, the new portable stage made it possible to have live entertainment at almost every Farmer’s Market, and significantly reduced the cost of entertainment at Snellville’s events. The stage was purchased with SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) funds earmarked for parks and recreation expenditures, so it did not cost city taxpayers anything.
Relighting the Eternal Flame
In 2005, the Vietnam Veterans monument was moved to the site of the new City Hall, but the eternal flame was not relit. That situation will be corrected with the construction of an all new monument and flame—one that will be dedicated to all veterans. Plans were completed in 2012 and construction is slated to begin in 2013. It will be paid for entirely by donations.
Give Hunger the Boot
In its first full year of operation, Give hunger the Boot worked with Snellville businesses to raise of $10,000 in food and financial donations for the Southeast Gwinnett Food CoOp. The CoOp supplies food and financial assistance to local families.
Festivals and Fun Events
Snellville Tourism and Trade Association’s (STAT) series of events combined with City-sponsored events had the good times rolling throughout the spring, summer and fall. From the 39th Annual Snellville Days, to the first ever Beach Blast, Flag Day Celebration, the “Live on the Lawn” concert series, “Popcorn in the Park” movie nights, “Star Spangled Snellville” Fourth of July celebration, “Around the World Visits Snellville” , “Fall Festival” and annual “Christmas Tree Lighting”, these events emphasized “community” with a capital “C”.
Without doubt, 2012 will be a tough act to follow. And we’re committed to making 2013 even better.
For further reading:
- Snellville 2012: The Year in Photos
- Summer 2012 in Snellville