Fulton County Update from Commissioner Ellis
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I hope that you have had a blessed holiday season!
As we close out another year, I want to thank you for the great opportunity to serve you as the District 2 Commissioner on the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. 2019 has been an eventful year for Fulton County and I’m pleased to share reflections on areas that I’ve been focused on as your District Commissioner, review our accomplishments and outline thoughts on what lies ahead for 2020.
Spending your tax dollars wisely and seeking to keep taxes low while delivering quality service is always at the top of my objectives. I am pleased to say that for the fifth year in a row and for every year I’ve been in office, Fulton County has reduced the millage rate while also increasing services. In addition, I’m particularly proud to have taken up the fight for Fulton County tax payers against a 2017 tax assessment process that was filled with errors and would have resulted in undue financial harm to many if it had moved forward. This fight was met with legal challenges but I’m pleased that in 2019, it was resolved in taxpayers favor.
Property owners saw significant tax relief through a cap on property tax increases implemented in 2019, while senior citizens realized additional tax reductions with the expansion of their homestead exemptions. These changes helped ease the impact of skyrocketing assessments that reflected improvements in our nation's economy and have created greater predictability and financial certainty for citizens. Be assured that I will continually strive to spend your money wisely and keep more money in the pockets of Fulton County taxpayers.
Local government is about delivering services, and excellent customer service is a key component in building citizens' trust in government. Throughout my tenure, I’ve made it a focus to improve customer service through a variety of initiatives. To date, more than 1,000 front-line employees have received comprehensive customer service training to better handle your questions, concerns and requests. This fall, the County also launched its updated website that has been completely overhauled to make it more user friendly. The site is organized so you can immediately identify the services that each department provides and fill out more than 100 forms online. We value your feedback to continue improving our customer service to you.
Long overdue, the Board of Commissioners approved plans to build a new  animal shelter that will replace the existing facility built in the 1970s. I fielded hundreds of calls and emails that urged the Commission to make a new shelter a top priority, and I am pleased that we unanimously voted in favor of the project. The new facility will have 50,000 square feet and  nearly four times the capacity of the current shelter. Located on Fulton Industrial Boulevard, the shelter is scheduled to open in 2021, while plans are in the works to identify sites in North Fulton for satellite adoption centers. These additional locations will ensure that all our citizens have access to the County's animal services resources.
Libraries are vital in Fulton County. The four main libraries that serve District 2 are four of the busiest libraries in the Fulton County library system.  A multi-year library renovation effort is coming to a close in 2020. Sandy Springs Library was among 10 libraries that were remodeled and reopened in 2019, and the Roswell library will reopen this Friday, January 3, 2020!
Residents have embraced their new library spaces and we have seen a record number of daily visitors who are checking out materials and using computers and meeting rooms. Twelve libraries are under construction and will celebrate their reopening in 2020, including the downtown Central Library, the Roswell Library, Ocee and Northeast/Spruill Oaks. You'll be impressed with the libraries' new looks and the improved programs and services offered that have made us a model for other systems across the country.
A big priority for me has been the improvement of delivery of the County’s public health services and improvement and expansion of mental and behavioral health services throughout the County. We have completely overhauled these services and are now assisting more people, particularly in the area of behavioral health where we have nearly doubled our number of clients in the past two years.

To improve and consolidate services in north Fulton, the County recently purchased a spacious facility on North Point Parkway in Alpharetta. When opened in late 2020, the new center will offer convenient, one-stop shopping for those seeking access to health, behavioral health, primary care, developmental disabilities and other related services. This new facility was a key focus for me in 2019. It will make a lasting impact for those in need of these services and will provide opportunities for continued expansion of services in north Fulton for years to come.
The mental and physical health of our youth remains one of my top priorities, and I'm proud that we've been able to expand our Text 4 Help initiative to all Fulton County high schools and middle schools. It is a round-the-clock clinical program for kids experiencing stress or emotional pain. The service allows youth to anonymously communicate via text with a licensed mental health expert to discuss any worries they have before they turn into a crisis or result in physical harm. We have found the highest number of texts come from students in north Fulton County including Milton, Cambridge and Alpharetta High Schools with the majority of their concerns centering on stress, family and relationship issues, school pressure and depression. 
Vaping is the latest danger to our children's health and I continue working to address this growing crisis. The County, as well as several municipalities, have implemented regulations to curb the sale and distribution of such products to young people. Vaping is promoted as a healthier alternative to smoking and is attracting young people by offering fun flavors, while ignoring the fact that more than 2,000 lung illnesses by users have been reported. I will continue efforts to educate our residents about the dangers of vaping.
We kicked off 2019 by presenting proclamations to Blessed Trinity and Milton High Schools for winning their football divisions. Blessed Trinity took the title again this year for the third year in a row. Congratulations!

Another successful 5K run by the Will to Live Foundation to raise money to prevent teen suicide and guide youth to available resources.  

Honored to serve as a panelist for events sponsored by the North Fulton Health Collaborative and the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority to address mental health issues in metro Atlanta. 

The 67th annual Old Soldiers Day Parade in Alpharetta drew a huge crowd to honor our veterans who have defended our freedom.
A team from Fulton County laced up their sneakers for the 5K Corporate Challenge in Alpharetta to raise money for local non-profit agencies.
Fulton County's Benson Senior Center in Sandy Springs joined in its first-ever partnership with the North Metro Miracle League to plant a garden that will be maintained by young people with disabilities and our senior citizens. 
Fulton County honored Barbara Duffy, the Executive Director of North Fulton Community Charities, and Kathy Swahn who oversaw the Drake House. Both have retired after years of dedicated service. Thank you!
Congratulations to our District 2 students -- from kindergarten to high school -- selected among the winners of the 2020 Fulton County Public Works art calendar contest for their designs promoting the importance of water conservation. 
Office: 404.612.8216
Fulton Co. Gov. Center
141 Pryor Street, Suite 10024
Atlanta, Ga. 30303


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Friends to Elect Bob Ellis · Enter a location · Roswell, GA 30077 · USA