By Shirley Lasseter
Gwinnett County Commissioner
I have decided not to run for re-election to the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners when my present term expires at the end of this year. I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to represent you over the years, first as Mayor of Duluth for 14 years and then as a county commissioner since 2008. That – plus the general conflicts with life – have taken a toll on my health and stamina, but not on my passion to serve this community. For me, it has been both an honor and a privilege to serve you, and I thank you for having me. You have been my inspiration and will continue to be. I will soon be able to enjoy my four children and five grandchildren, which have been the apple of my eye for a long time.
As I look back over the past four years, I see that we’ve resolved many of the issues that were looming at that time. The “water wars” may not be entirely over, but at least the courts seem to have agreed that providing drinking water to metro Atlanta is an acceptable use for Lake Lanier, as long as we share it with our downstream neighbors. The commissioners revised – signed, sealed and delivered – both our land-buying procedures and our ethics policy. And we finally reached agreements with all 15 cities on who provides – and who pays for – specific local government services. Finally, we proudly presented a balanced budget for this year. YEA!
It's of note that our newest city Peachtree Corners is in the process of electing its first officials. Thank you to everyone who put themselves out there to stand for election and congratulations to the winners. This has been a major undertaking both for the county and its residents.
Major road projects are nearing completion too, notably the Sugarloaf Parkway extension to Dacula and the widening of Pleasant Hill Road. In 2008, we finished a section of Pleasant Hill from Old Norcross Road to a new interchange at Buford Highway. Work is now underway from there to Howell Ferry Road/McClure Bridge Road, and then the final section to the river will get underway soon after that.
We're also working on a more low-key transportation corridor called the Ivy Creek Greenway, a paved trail that will eventually connect Suwanee to Buford. Crews will be building section three this summer starting at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center and extending three miles through the woods and on a suspension bridge over the 100-year floodway to an existing section that comes out near the Mall of Georgia. Design and construction cost $1.8 million with about $800,000 coming from the 2005 SPLOST program. I believe this is the kind of amenity that will continue to boost our reputation for quality of life in Gwinnett that which you so richly deserve.
I also want to introduce the new Volunteer Gwinnett website that matches willing volunteers with various needs and projects throughout the county. You can sign up for a one-time project or get involved on a regular basis. In her State of the County speech, Chairman Charlotte Nash announced our goal of reaching a million hours of service by 2015. This is a great way to give back to the community and to see firsthand the impact of local government and various human services agencies. Please visit www.gwinnettcounty.com and look for the link on the home page.
I am still on the job through the end of the year, so please don’t hesitate to contact me at 770-822-7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org if there’s anything I can do for you. It is such a pleasure serving you!