As the days tick down to 2013, the Neighbor takes a look at the accomplishments and setbacks of 2012 for south Fulton County.
The county straddled major budget issues this year as it faced a $70 million shortfall. Despite the decreasing revenue, the commissioners voted against raising property taxes from 10.281 mills to 10.791 mills. Recently, the commissioners voted to approve the tentative general fund budget of $569 million. The tentative budget includes several key policy changes, including reduction in library hours and outsourcing the jail, but commissioners plan to revisit those items before the final budget is adopted in January.
South Fulton County saw major developments this year, particularly in downtown Fairburn. After a fire destroyed several downtown buildings in 2010, the area is redeveloping. Oz Pizza has moved to a new location from its previously damaged building, Irish Bred Pub has plans to move in this upcoming year, and Taqueria Iztacchihuatl Mexican and Gizmo’s Sports Bar are both thriving. An open-air amphitheater is also being developed downtown.
This fall in Palmetto, the city’s historic train depot saw a major revitalization, with new features including a banquet room, a meeting room and space to expand the city’s museum.
In October, Fulton County opened a new fire station on Industrial Boulevard in the southern portion of the county. The facility is expected to improve response time.
Banneker High School opened in College Park for the 2012-13 school year. The new 340,000-square-foot, 99-classroom building has many amenities for its 1,400 students.
Union City opened its new one-mile trail system at Ronald Bridges Park in March. The partnership between the city and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has been dubbed a quality of life improvement for residents.
In addition to major developments in College Park, such as the opening of Hotel Indigo, south Fulton County saw another economic generator in the form of the film industry.
Over the summer, Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon were spotted filming thriller The Devil’s Knot in downtown East Point. The movie marked south metro Atlanta’s growing involvement in the film industry.
For nearly the entire year, the city of East Point has been searching for a new city manager.
In November, the council approved new hire Reggie Taylor, the former executive director of the Marietta Development Corporation.
Fulton County is losing its county manager Zachary Williams to DeKalb County beginning Jan. 1 and MARTA CEO Beverly Scott did not renew her contract, resulting in the hiring of Keith Parker.
South Fulton Medical Center has spent the better portion of the year preparing for its consolidation with Atlanta Medical Center to form Atlanta Medical Center – South Campus, effective Jan. 1.