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New Decatur mayor seeks more collaboration with county
by LaTria Garnigan
January 16, 2013 04:17 PM | 1781 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city of Decatur has welcomed its new Mayor Jim Baskett into the fold, after former mayor Bill Floyd resigned.

Baskett is no stranger to the city, having served on the city commission since 1995 and as mayor pro tem since 2002.

“I was really humbled and touched at the depths of my heart,” said Baskett of the appointment. “I had a real deep heartfelt appreciation for their confidence in me. And I want to thank my constituents who kept me in office all these years because if I wasn’t representing them, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be mayor.

Each year in Decatur, the five city commissioners vote for one of their own to be named mayor and another mayor pro tem. Since Floyd resigned, his commission seat will be up for special election in March.

Kecia Cunningham, who has served on the commission since 1999, was elected mayor pro tem, according to a news release. Cunningham said she looks forward to “strengthening our communication and working harder together.”

In addition to the commission, Baskett has served on the taskforces for greenspace, infill housing, Scottish Rite redevelopment, zoning update, preservation corridor planning and the Woodlands committee. Cunningham is active with the Georgia Municipal Association and has served on the boards of the Decatur Downtown Development Authority, DeKalb Rape Crisis Center and CHRIS Homes, according to a news release.

Baskett said his main priority now is figuring out how to work as a team to deal with a few of challenges facing Decatur.

One challenge being its relationships with DeKalb County government and the school district.

“If the [DeKalb] school district will continue to have problems it will put more pressure on our schools as more people move into Decatur,” he said.

As a commission and community, Baskett said Decatur has to find a way to help the school system meet the challenge it might have because it cannot sustain 10 to 12 percent growth throughout an extended period.

“And we can’t raise taxes enough to deal with all of that,” he said. “So we have to find ways to work with DeKalb County.”

Besides that, Baskett added Decatur is prospering and doing well. However, the city cannot continue to do well if surrounded by a county that is not doing well, he said.

Baskett added a plan is in the works to have city officials meet with county school board members and county commissioners.

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