Last week May addressed a sold-out luncheon audience comprised of elected officials, business owners and citizens on upcoming goals for the county.
He presented four strategic priorities for 2014, including enhancing public safety, economic development and job creation, developing community beautification efforts and ensuring efficiency in government.
First, May focused on how the county plans to improve public safety, which he said was the county’s “No. 1 priority.”
“We’re going to be putting our money where our proverbial mouths are to hire and maintain frontline personnel,” he said.
In December of last year, May said he introduced a three-year plan for recruitment and retention efforts. He started by promoting a deputy chief operator and interim assistant chief of police as well as recently announcing the hiring of a new fire chief.
May also said because “safety departments need resources to be successful,” a reinstatement of promotional pay increases are budgeted for 2014 and the county will hire 160 new police officers and 100 new firefighters every year for the next three years.
In 2013, the county saw a 4 percent decrease in violent crime and a reduction in property crime by 5 percent.
For the county’s economic development plans, May said it was imperative that local governments “create an environment where business can grow and thrive.”
To do this, he said the county will focus on restructuring the process of obtaining a business license in DeKalb and updating technology to make business transactions more efficient.
He also said the county was working on developing a strategic economic development plan to “determine the county’s identity as well as where [DeKalb] wants to go and how those goals will be achieved.”
In order to attract more businesses to the county, beautification efforts and overall efficiency were key components to DeKalb’s success, said May.
“Through collaborative efforts such as Keep DeKalb Beautiful and the Progress DeKalb Initiative meeting, the county is moving forward to provide better outcomes for our citizens,” he said.