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Fulton County Update from Commissioner Ellis
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HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Vice Chairman Bob Ellis
Reflections on 2017 in Fulton County
 
As 2017 comes to a close, I sincerely want to say thanks for the opportunity to serve you on the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. It has been quite a year and I appreciate your feedback, encouragement and participation in the governmental process.
 
A YEAR OF SORROW

We mourned the loss of my good friend and colleague, Commissioner Joan Garner. She was thoughtful, committed and an example for us all. Joan is greatly missed, but we assure her work lives on.
A YEAR OF LEADERSHIP CHANGE

Chairman John Eaves resigned his position to run for Mayor of Atlanta, affording me the honor to serve as interim Chairman in his absence. We continued operating the County smoothly until Robb Pitts was elected as Chairman in December. He joins Natalie Hall, who was chosen by voters to fill the seat of Commissioner Garner. We welcomed both to their first Commission meeting on December 20th and I look forward to working with our newest members as we chart our course for the New Year.
A YEAR OF CHALLENGES
 
The property tax assessment process was a big challenge this year but we worked through the problems and were able to provide taxpayers necessary protection. I'm pleased to tell you that at the close of 2017, we are wrapping up the year with more than adequate collections for county and local governments, as well as Fulton and Atlanta Public Schools. I extend my personal thanks to all the taxpayers who have already paid their taxes which will allow us to meet our financial obligations, pay employees and deliver services. Thank you to all who have provided critical feedback on the best ways to fix our property tax system. I remain focused on tax reform, including caps for homeowners, expanded exemptions for seniors and general reforms of the assessment process.
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A YEAR OF EXCITING CHANGES
  • The North Fulton Customer Service Center in Alpharetta now houses the Georgia Department of Driver Services and the Tax Commissioner's Office, making it the first location in Georgia where you can get a driver's license and a vehicle tag with one stop.
  • The County has established a Whistleblower Hotline that allows employees to anonymously report alleged violations of County Codes & Ethics, strengthening our commitment to accountability and transparency. I chair our Audit Committee and I'm pleased to see this working.
  • We've remodeled and improved many of our county facilities and established plans and earmarked funds for expansion of our water system and remodeling of our libraries.
  • Our establishment of a Board of Health has strengthened our delivery of public health services and prepared for a launch of a new behavioral health services delivery model in January of 2018 that will more than double the number of citizens that we currently serve.
A YEAR OF FIGHTING THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC
 
Opioid-related deaths in Fulton County are twice the national average. We are in a fight to stem this epidemic which is having an impact on many areas of local government including the justice system, medical examiner, behavioral and public health and law enforcement. We've earmarked a second round of funding to ensure naloxone is in the hands of all first responders in the County. We are heavily focused on prevention and have added drug disposal boxes throughout Fulton County so you can properly get rid of unused opioids unwanted medications in your home. We are joining medical associations and others in the push for more responsible prescription practices and will soon be launching a 24/7 texting line for teens in crisis so they can get the help they need for everything from substance abuse to anxiety and depression. We've also recognized that the pharmaceutical sector needs to be held accountable for their part in creating this epidemic and Fulton County became the first county in Georgia to file a lawsuit against more than two dozen drug manufacturers, distributors and doctors. Several other metro Atlanta counties have joined us.
A YEAR TO WELCOME A NEW CITY
 
Voters went to the polls and cast their ballots in favor of forming the City of South Fulton, which now has its own Mayor and City Council. The new city will take over services in 2018 --including police and fire -- currently provided by Fulton County and we are working to ensure a smooth transition.
 
A YEAR OF TRANSPORTATION & TRANSIT PLANNING

The County kicked off the first of dozens of transportation projects that will be funded by a transportation sales tax approved by voters in 2016. The $650 million list of projects includes intersection improvements, traffic signal upgrades, road surfacing, bike lanes, multi-use paths and construction aimed at easing traffic congestion. We, along with our cities, commissioned a study to explore transit outside of Atlanta and will be using the citizen feedback and output of that study to determine the transit approaches that are the most timely, impactful and financially feasible.
A YEAR OF RECOGNITION

We are so proud to receive the "Four for the Future" Award from Georgia Trend magazine for 2018. The magazine recognizes four outstanding governments for innovation and leadership in Georgia. Fulton County has also received national accolades from the National Association of Counties for working to offer services efficiently and effectively to our one million residents in six priority areas. Congrats to all who make us shine day in and day out!
Clearly, it has been a busy year, but there is no time to slow down as we plan to keep the positive momentum going in 2018 and continue to build on the great things we've accomplished in 2017.  There is much work to be done in the New Year. As always, your input is important as we move forward to make Georgia's largest County, Georgia's best.

Wishing you & your friends and family all the best in the New Year!
Contact:

Bob.Ellis@FultonCountyGA.gov

Office: 404.612.8216

Fulton Co. Gov. Center

141 Pryor Street, Suite 10024

Atlanta, Ga. 30303




 
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