The Paulding County Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual State of the Cities event at its monthly Georgia Power Luncheon.
Hiram Mayor Doris Devey said, “Municipal government can be compared to the changing wheels on a moving train.”
During this year the city has completed its new gateway sign, worked on street improvements and oversaw a new waste management agreement, she said.
“By mid-October we will have completed the building formerly known as the old Regions building,” Devey said.
Hiram plans to use the renovated building as a second community center.
In 2013 the city issued 549 business licenses, and 103 of those were businesses new to Hiram, she said.
In the city’s police department there were multiple changes in the past year. The city council voted to hire Todd VandeZande as its new police chief in April. Hiram also implemented a take-home car policy which allows officers to drive their assigned police cars home.
“It is very instrumental in retaining our officers,” Devey said.
Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin said he sees himself as being on the same level as the people he serves, not above them.
He said he is proud of his relationship with the city.
“A lot of times I feel like I’m married to the city of Dallas,” Austin said. “Every morning I get up willing to work.”
He acknowledged the work of the Dallas City Council, and admitted they may not always agree with each other but do what is best for Dallas.
Over the past year the Dallas Police Department patrolled more than 200,000 miles, added a second K9 unit and cracked down on code enforcement problems, Austin said.
“We are making people take responsibility for their property,” he said.
There were more than 100 events in both the Dallas Theater and the Civic Center in downtown Dallas last year, Austin said.
Also the city has started a wellness plan for its employees, he noted.
“It leads to better health,” he said.
Austin said the plan will lead to better job attendance and cheaper health insurance.
This year Dallas received an $18 million loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority for its new water treatment plant.
Austin said he still believes municipal residents should not have to pay more than residents of unincorporated Paulding for such services as the county jail.
“I will continue to work for tax equity,” he said.