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Chairman, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners

Public Safety is my number one priority. We need to ensure that the public feels safe and will go out and patronize the businesses within Gwinnett County. This in turn will help boost our local economy because if people don’t feel safe, they will not use our local businesses. I also want to bring in measures to help retain our law enforcement officers. Currently we have one of the best training programs for law enforcement, however, our pay scales don’t reflect that so our attrition rate is extremely high as once our officers are trained, they leave to pursue better salaries at other agencies. Right now, Gwinnett County Police Department is 100 officers short, if we were able to hire 100 people tomorrow it would take 6 months before they would be in service, on the road, on their own. This would be at a cost of approximately $600,000, and they would still be rookies.

As a businessman, I have spent my time helping other companies improve their situations. I have not attended any commission meetings, however again my priorities are Public Safety and improving depressed areas of the county.

I will continue to make Gwinnett County safer which will help attract new business and industry. We also need improvement in the transportation sector as mentioned. If we make Gwinnett safer, educate local business, help train potential employees and get the business community on board, we will be successful.

Tough decisions will have to be made regarding different areas of service. Some areas will have to be decreased while others are increased. Obviously making Gwinnett County safe is the number one priority.

I’d improve zoning requirements and anything related to improving the overall quality of living of our residents. This would start with making better financial decisions in future acquisitions to improve conditions for our citizens. Many depressed areas need to be cleaned up and county-wide educational programs for entrepreneurs. We need to develop a greater amount of pride in our county to both attract and keep new and old businesses alike.

1. The current transportation system needs to be examined to determine feasibility of expansion or changing the way we ‘move’ people. 2. Maintaining the current roads. 3. Traffic studies need to be implemented to determine if further road changes/expansions will improve the current situation. Methods need to be developed that will attract users of whatever system is implemented.

Before I can recommend any new plans, we will need to make the existing operation profitable, and before adding a further tax burden on our citizens to pay for a failing system. A budget and operational review will need to be conducted before we can implement a new plan. The existing Gwinnett Transportation System generates approximately $4M in fare revenue, at an expense of almost $16M. Although transportation is a convenience for the citizens, we need to ensure that it operates cost effectively.

It’s necessary to implement training programs for those who want to work and excel in their chosen field, here in Gwinnett County. After determining the needs of our business community, training programs need to be offered in conjunction with existing businesses. It needs to be a joint effort between the county and the private sector.

We need to concentrate on areas in Gwinnett County such as the Gwinnett Place Mall for redevelopment and to attract more businesses to the area. If we put other suggestions into place that I’ve mentioned, we should continue a steady growth of recouping and growing the economy.

Candidate did not complete the questionnaire.

The two most pressing challenges facing Gwinnett County are coordination of transportation planning and land use planning and embracing diversity in the County. First, the County needs a workable transit plan that provides a guaranteed funding source for transportation, creates a connection to the MARTA system and is considered in every land use planning decision. Second, the County and its government must embrace the diversity within our County, and make the government more open and inclusive on all levels. Gwinnett is one of the most diverse counties in the United States and that is a great asset. We must make sure that all members of our community are included at all levels of County government.

I would double-down on the existing emphasis on developing cutting edge techniques to protect our water resources and to dispose of our waste water. I would also double-down on the existing emphasis on developing a long-term transit plan with a guaranteed funding source. My new priorities would include addressing infrastructure needs, especially in the area of stormwater facilities and redevelopment projects such as the Gwinnett Place Mall. Aging detention ponds on private property are not being maintained and are harmful to our environment. We need a plan to maintain these facilities and to fund the maintenance. We must use all of the resources available to redevelop areas such as Gwinnett Place Mall.

First Gwinnett County must address its transportation issue. Continued failure to address regional transportation and the existing gridlock will make the area unattractive to new businesses. The County must continue to coordinate with Georgia Gwinnett College, Gwinnett Technical, and our K-12 education system to provide work force for existing businesses and new high-tech employers. The County must also work to provide affordable work force housing and transportation hubs near job centers.

Dealing with the economic downturn resulting from COVID-19 pandemic will require experienced strategic planning. Funding must be protected for essential services such as police, fire, public health, and water and sewer. The County must continue to pursue a guaranteed long-term funding source for transportation improvements. The County must also learn from this experience and expand our surpluses when good economic times return.

For the past 40 years Gwinnett has struggled to deal with incredible growth. During the next decade, Gwinnett County will have to be more strategic in its land use planning and zoning. The County must focus on redevelopment of declining areas. The County must provide new housing and new transportation hubs in these redeveloped areas. Every zoning decision must purposefully consider its effect on transportation, our schools, and our environment. We must also make our zoning process more open and transparent.

The 3 most important transportation/infrastructure projects are: 1. Development of the public transit plan with a guaranteed funding source. The failure to provide regional transportation will result in declining economic development and loss of jobs. 2. Water resource protection. An adequate water supply is essential to continued growth and to protecting our environment. 3. Waste water and storm water infrastructure improvements. Failure to address these problems will harm the environment and ultimately result in more cost to the County.

The proposed transportation plan is a good starting point. It provides better coverage of the County with a broader range of options than previous plans. Gwinnett’s successful growth has depended on its major transportation arteries and rail lines. Continued traffic gridlock will decrease economic development. The County must increase its use of public transit, and transportation must be a major factor in every land use decision.

We should continue our successful work force development strategies such as Partnership Gwinnett and the coordination between the County, Gwinnett Technical, Georgia Gwinnett College, our local public schools and current employers. The County must also work to create new workforce development strategies such as coordination of training and education with existing employers or potential employers and development of a land use plan that puts housing and transportation near job centers. We must also use our Development Authority and Urban Redevelopment Agency to attract employers to redeveloping areas.

I would continue current economic development strategies that have worked such as Partnership Gwinnett, working with the Gwinnett Chamber, working with Gwinnett Technical, Georgia Gwinnett College, and our local schools and medical center. I would encourage the use of TADs, CIDs, our Development Authority, our Urban Redevelopment Agency, and our Housing Authority, to provide economic incentives for redevelopment of declining areas of the County.

Contact

Contact Paul Oh, Manager, Public Policy & Community Affairs, with questions.
770-232-8804 or pauloh@gwinnettchamber.org

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