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City Manager Releases 'State Of The City'

On January 4, 2016, Mayor Walt Hollingsworth and Councilman Met Lane were sworn into office where they joined previously seated Councilmen Gerald Byrd and Jim Watters.  In April of this year, Councilman Rory Wojcik joined them to complete the governing body for this great City.

This administration committed to be a more open, transparent, and financially responsible governing body.  These elected officials promised that decisions will be made publicly with open debate whenever possible and that meetings will be held often and at a time that is convenient to our citizens.

This administration promised and delivered by passing resolutions on the following items:
Setting regular meeting dates and times to the first Monday of the month at 6:00 p.m.
Electing a Mayor Pro-Tem and schedule that re-election every January.
Eliminating the retirement plan for elected officials.
Formalizing how the agenda will be set and committing to publish the agenda, with supporting documents one week prior to the meeting.
Passing a moratorium on the construction of apartments until the issue could be properly studied and addressed.
Formalizing the process that enables any Councilman or the Mayor to call a town-hall meeting for better communication with our citizens.  This resolution also requires that the City Manager publish an annual newsletter to the Mayor and Council and to the citizens of Carrollton.
Requiring that City Staff publish a list of all City facilities available to the public along with the fees associated with their use.
Requiring customer service training of every employee whose job requires interaction with the public.
Posting City financial records including SPLOST expenditures, on the City website, every month.
Addressed the practice of giving charitable donations that violate the gratuity prohibition. This resolution addresses the formation of a committee to assure that City funds to outside organizations are spent wisely.

In addition, the Mayor and Council, along with City management, have worked with the new auditors and with other financial consultants to assure that the City budget is structured to be clear and transparent.  The budget has been further restructured to assure that employees are paid from the proper department and that funding transfers from enterprise funds are clearly shown.  This has been done so that the elected officials and citizens know what it cost to operate those departments and provide the associated services.  

City management brings to the Mayor and Council purchases which exceed $50,000; the procurement of all vehicles; all major construction contracts; and reports the expenditures of all major projects each month.  This information is readily available to all our citizens.

Finally, this administration has formed a Carrollton Corridor Development and Beautification Committee.  This is a group of citizens, known for their expertise and effectiveness in our community, who will work together to make sure each major corridor into the City develops into something of which we are proud.  



CITY FUNDED CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

A significant number of construction projects have been completed or are underway in our City.  A partial list is as follows:

Lakeshore Recreation Center Renovation - $2.3 Million.  This project was constructed by the Georgia Department of Corrections and managed by Parks Superintendent Kent Johnston and his staff.
Public Safety and Evidence Building - $1.9 Million.  This project was constructed by J&R Construction and managed by City Engineer, Tommy Holland, and the City Engineering Department.
Legends Park – $566,000.  Constructed by ARCO Builders and managed by the City Engineering Department.
Birkdale Blvd. Traffic Calming & Resurfacing - $394,000.  Constructed by Baldwin Paving and managed by the City Engineering Department.
Hays Mill Guardrail at Buffalo Creek - $327,000.  Constructed by Lewallen Construction and managed by City Engineering Department.    
Sidewalk and Storm Drain Repairs - $360,000 to date.  Constructed by Georgia-Alabama Woodlands and managed by City Engineering Department.
Roadway Patching - $201,000 to date.  Constructed by McIntosh Specialty Services and managed by both the City Street Department and the City Engineering Department.
Asphalt Milling and Resurfacing - $495,000 to date.  Constructed by Jackson Paving and managed by City Engineering Department.
Lake Carroll Spillway - $141,000.  Constructed by McIntosh Speciality Services and managed by the Water and Wastewater Operations Department and the City Engineering Department.
City Maintenance Building Addition - $67,000. Constructed by GRC Stonewater and managed by the City Engineering Department
Storm Pipe Repair - $200,000 to date. Constructed by Carl Owens Construction and managed by the City Engineering Department.
GreenBelt Phase 13B (Dixie Street and the Roop Street crossing of Highway 27) - $1.39 Million.  Constructed by Lewallen Construction and managed by both the Path Foundation and the City Engineering Department.
GreenBelt 14A (Bledsoe Street to Christ Covenant Church) - $469,000.  Constructed by Georgia Alabama Woodlands and managed by the Path Foundation and the City Engineering Department.
Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation - $778,000 to date.  Constructed by 3 Rivers Utilities and managed by City Systems Upkeep Department and the City Engineering Department
Water and Sewer Pipeline Extension and Repair - $280,000 to date.  Constructed by Robinson Utility Construction and managed by both the City Systems Upkeep Department and the City Engineering Department.
Emergency Standby Generators - $844,000.  To be constructed by West Georgia Electric and managed by both the Water and Wastewater Operations Department and the City Engineering Department.



FINANCE

Carrollton continues to be financially stable.  In July of 2016 the City approved the FY2016-2017 budget in the total amount of $45,957,975.  Only 8.5% of this is funded by property taxes.  On September 21, 2016, the Mayor and Council voted to maintain the current millage rate of 4.62 mills, which is the lowest municipal millage rate in our area.  This in spite of Carrollton’s significant increase in service to its citizens.  Carrollton is now responsible for maintaining facilities and programs such as the GreenBelt, Amp, Cultural Arts Center, Bradley Street Train Depot, the newly constructed and renovated Lakeshore Recreation Center and Legends Park.  These facilities are immensely popular with our citizens and require the appropriate level of investment to maintain them in the first-class condition that the public expects.  We are proud once again to be able to say that the City has not recorded an increase in the actual millage rate since 1993.  All other revenue sources for the City, including other taxes, licenses, permits, and charges for services appear to be stable and continue to show signs of economic growth.
The City’s combined cash reserves as of September 30, 2016 total $18,592,228.  Of this total, $9,217,812 are General Fund cash, $5,317,063 are Water Fund cash reserves, and $2,936,895 are Sanitation Fund cash reserves.  Although these are great balances, these numbers will increase substantially before the end of the year as insurance premium taxes and property taxes are due before December 31st.  These indicators of the City’s financial stability show the commitment to providing quality services in the most cost effective manner possible.  We are proud to continue our long standing and productive partnership with Carroll County in providing property tax billing/collection, election, fire protection, and recreation services to the citizens of the City of Carrollton and Carroll County.  These partnerships greatly increase the efficiency of these services, and ensure they are delivered at the lowest possible cost to our citizens.   
In February of each year, City departments begin a four-month process of developing the City budget for the new fiscal year which begins on July 1st.  As part of this process, City departments identify goals and objectives for the new year, along with the recommended staffing levels, equipment, and other resources needed to accomplish these objectives, accompanied by the estimated cost for each.  We commend City departments for the diligence they display in assembling and submitting their portion of the City’s budget.  Their commitment to be wise and efficient stewards of City resources ensure the success of the budget resulting in first class services to our citizens at a reasonable cost.   

CARROLLTON GREENBELT
Few aspects of our City create more positive comments than the GreenBelt.  In a few weeks, with the completion of the Kingsbridge crossing of Highway 27, the 18 miles of multi-use trail will be completed.  It is hard to believe that all of this has been accomplished in only 5 years.  This project would have never been possible without the vision, leadership, and tremendous financial support of Ms. Laura Richards.  How blessed we are as a community to have such a benefactor.  Our children’s, children will be blessed for many decades to come by the generosity of this great lady.

FIRE DEPARTMENT

Over the past year the Fire Department responded to 4,971 calls with an average response time of 4:24 minutes. That averages out to be about 414 calls per month or nearly 14 per day. The City has four fire stations and is staffed with 62 full time Firefighters and a full time Fire Marshal.

This year we received the Insurance Services Office (ISO) top rating of Class 1. This rating has been achieved by less than 1/4 of 1% of Fire Departments Nationwide and is one of only 13 in Georgia. The ISO currently evaluates over 50,000 Fire Departments Nationwide with only 186 earning the Class 1 Rating. This rating is published by the ISO and used by most U.S. Insurers to determine insurance premiums for Homes and Business Properties. Carrollton's class one rating will save the citizens of Carrollton millions of dollars in insurance costs. This rating reflects the City's commitment to provide the very best Public Safety Services to its Citizens and to save lives and property. The new ISO rating became effective October 1, 2016.

The Fire Department also provides Emergency Medical Care and a Hazardous Materials Response Team. The Haz/Mat Response Team is classified as a Georgia Emergency Management Agency Type II Team which means that we are equipped and prepared to respond to incidents involving fuels, chemicals, radiological materials, biological agents and weapons of mass destruction. The response team is capable of detection and identification of chemicals including solids, liquids, gases, biological, radiological, nerve gases, mustard gases and blistering agents.

In our community outreach programs this year the department provided 1,036 man hours of public education programs about fire safety, home safety, school safety, fire extinguisher use, CPR, first aid, automatic external defibrillator use, preventive health care, severe weather preparedness and Industrial fire brigade training.


POLICE DEPARTMENT

From January 2016 to October 2016 the Carrollton Police Department answered 56,627 calls.  Four patrol shifts work 12 hours each. Seven officers are on each day shift and nine on each night shift. There is one school resource officer and four traffic officers. Two officers are assigned to evidence/property/lab and one officer assigned to the Carrollton Housing Authority.

There are four bike patrol officers who patrol the GreenBelt and the shopping centers along with other areas. These officers also provide bicycles to underprivileged children and to the people in the Carroll County Re-Entry program.  The Re-Entry program is for convicted felons who have served their time and are trying to transition back into normal life.  These bicycles are for men who find a job but have no transportation.  We wish to thank Wal-Mart for donating most of these bicycles.

The department has one officer detached to the GBI drug task force and 12 officers assigned to Criminal Investigations. Three 3 officers are assigned to our in-house narcotics unit which is a joint venture with the Carroll County Sheriff’s office which provides four 4 deputies to the organization.
The Police Department works closely with the West Georgia Rape Crisis Center where Chief Joel Richards serves on their board. The Police Department also work with the Carroll County Emergency Shelter which provides a safe place for victims of domestic violence. The department supports the Carroll County Child Advocacy Center who assists investigations by conducting forensic interviews on children who are sexually, emotionally, and physically abused.  This department works constantly to build and maintain a positive relationship with the community.  Two citizens’ academies were held this year, one of which was for the clergy.  These academies teach the layman about the difficulties of law enforcement and how careful and diligently the police work to respect the rights of all citizens.  This department also conducts an annual youth camp and a special needs camp.  The special needs camp is a joint venture with the sheriff’s department.

With the new Evidence Building and Laboratory there is enough room to house the volume of property and evidence that must be maintained.  This new facility meets the guidelines governing the retention period of evidence.  The laboratory can process a variety of latent evidence through different chemical processes, such as Cyanoacrylate Fuming.  It further includes a bullet trap which allows evidence officers to fire rounds safely to collect shell casings to be sent to the state crime lab for entry into NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistic Information Network).  The lab is also used for the weighing and identification of marijuana using microscopy and chemical testing, macro photography used in latent processing, and a down flow hood used to dust items for prints.  There is also a specialized garage which is used to disassemble and examine a vehicle that has been used in the commission of a crime.

There is a new crime scene van which allows the Crime Scene Unit to be more efficient in the documentation and preservation of evidence.  There is equipment to document blood spatter,  plaster cast of foot/tire wear, trajectory, latent prints (examples: powders, electrostatic lift, cyanoacrylate fuming), DNA collection, trace evidence collection (example: forensic vacuum), metal detector, sift equipment, scene barriers, presumptive blood tests, chemicals that react with latent blood to cause it to luminance, alternate light sources, lighting equipment, protective equipment, packaging materials, and kits designated for the collection of certain evidence (example: sexual assault kits, gunshot residue, buccal swab kits for known DNA samples).  There are also tools that allow areas of a car to be accessed to recover evidence or to cut into walls of a structure to recover evidence like a bullet slug.  


ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT
The Engineering Department has had the responsibility for millions of dollars in construction this year.  You will notice roadway improvements, pipeline projects, traffic signal enhancements, and building construction all over town.  In addition, all privately funded construction projects within the City of Carrollton are reviewed, inspected and approved by the Engineering Department.  2016 has been a record-breaking year in terms of value of new housing in Carrollton.  As of November 7, 2016, 50 new homes are under construction at a total estimated value of $13,341,635.  This is an average of $266,000 per home.  The previous record year was in 2005 with an average home price of just over $79,000.

WATER AND WASTEWATER OPERATIONS DEPARTMENT

The Water and Wastewater Departments have continued to win awards during the past year. The water plant again has earned the “Gold Award” for perfect operations. Water Superintendent, Connie Nelms, serves as the Board Chair for the Georgia Section of the American Water Works Association and serves as a member of the Georgia Association of Water Professional Board. In October of 2015, the water plant received a rating of “Outstanding” from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division as a result of their Sanitary Survey.

The Wastewater Department has received the “Platinum Award” for perfect operations for the past 9 years. The City of Carrollton Wastewater Department is one of only 17 wastewater facilities in Georgia to receive this award for 9 or more years.

Both facilities strive to perform as efficiently as possible while continuously searching for areas to improve both in operations and appearance to provide the absolute best of services to our community.

The current drought is of concern to many of our neighboring communities.  Due to proper management and planning, Carrollton has raw water storage to carry this City and its water customers for 9 months without rain.  This drought is tracking very similarly to the 2007 drought.  Rainfall to refill our reservoirs is expected to occur no later than the spring of 2017 and likely sooner.

Major system repairs at the plants and reservoirs are an ongoing part of proper water and wastewater operations.  25% of our water plant basins have been recoated with impervious grout and paint.  The spillway at Lake Carroll has been replaced.  A major pump station is being added to the Northside Tanks on Mote Road.  This pump station will allow for better utilization of our finished water storage.  Generators are also being added to our water treatment plant and were primarily funded with a federal grant.  This will make our system even more reliable.

At the wastewater treatment plant, the grit removal equipment will be replaced in the next few months.  One of the major sewer lift stations on Oak Mountain has been completely renovated with all pumping and electrical equipment replaced.  The Brock Street pump station is scheduled for replacement next.  Generators were also procured for our major lift stations and portable generators procured for some of the smaller facilities.  These too were financed with federal and state grant money.

Safety messages are distributed to all departments monthly. Also, safety trainings specific to departmental hazards are conducted throughout the year. This year training was provided to the Engineering, Facilities Maintenance, and Parks and Recreation departments on Bucket Truck Safe Operations. The Facilities Maintenance Department has also received training in Boom Truck Safety, Backhoe Operations Safety, and the safe loading and unloading of trailers.


MAINSTREET

Downtown Carrollton is a destination for locals, visitors and everyone in between. The Main Street Program strives to maintain the beauty, historic preservation and economic viability of Carrollton’s Historic District in many ways.

The 2016 Downtown Summer Season kicked off the first weekend in May with MayFest. MayFest attracted over 5,000 visitors downtown. The magnitude of this event generated a direct economic impact to Carrollton of approximately $267,500; of which $17,500 was state and local tax. Over the summer, the Amp hosted 4 major concerts, 6 local artist concerts and the First Annual Carrollton Blues Festival. The Summer Season culminated in September with the 25th Annual Taste of Carrollton. 39 local restaurants and caterers attracted over 5,000 participants to Taste of Carrollton, which is Main Street’s largest fundraiser. After event costs, Main Street raised nearly $32,000.

The Hudson Mill restoration project is nearly complete. The newly renovated upper floor is home to The Brown Dog Deli, Moe’s Barbeque and The Old Crow Trading Post. 11 of the 13 condominiums on the lower level are available for immediate lease. This project transformed a vacant historically significant structure into a culinary destination, boutique shopping experience, and downtown residence.

Adamson Square welcomed 4 new businesses in 2016: Vinyl Frontier, Lime Biscuit Strategies, Designs by Shawnee, and Adam & Sons. An expanded retail sector on the Square promises to attract new visitors for a complete shopping and dining experience.

The usage of the Bradley Street Train Depot continued to increase in 2016. In the first 9 months of this year, the Depot hosted over 40 weekend weddings and 6 midweek meetings. In addition to revenue produced from rental fees, the Depot generated approximately $321,000 of direct economic impact to the City of Carrollton; of which $21,000 is state and local tax.

The Main Street Program invested $3,400 in local businesses through façade grants to Irish Bred Pub and Brown Dog Deli.  These projects increased customer appeal to the area surrounding the Amp.

As you can see, the Carrollton Main Street Program is an effective tool for maintaining a thriving historic district.


PARKS AND RECREATION

The Carrollton Parks and Recreation is responsible for the planning, operation and maintenance of the parks, recreation facilities and the GreenBelt. The department operates high quality, well maintained parks and facilities throughout the community. The park system includes 410 acres of land, and 29 individual parks. The Parks and Recreation Facilities Division also oversee fifteen recreational facilities for our community. This division was instrumental in completing the Hobbs Farm Disc Golf Course this past spring, which included a grand opening on May 7, 2016. The course is one of the finest courses in the southeast, and will bring disc golf enthusiasts and competitors to our community for years to come.

The Program Division continues to have one of the top gymnastics programs west of Atlanta. The Program Division hosted the 201 State AAU Gymnastics Meet this past April. This three-day meet brought in gymnasts from all over the state of Georgia in an event that was flawless.

The East Carrollton Softball Complex hosts major softball and baseball tournaments each weekend. The staff works tirelessly to make sure that people attending the tournaments have a pleasant experience which insures that they will keep coming back to our community. This past year, 26 tournaments were hosted at this complex. This has a huge economic impact on our community.

The Senior Center is one of the largest in the West Georgia area and the seniors continue to be one of the most active groups in the Recreation Department. The Special Olympics program continues to grow and grow each year. Participants participate in athletics, programming, and are mainstreamed into department programs.  The support Special Olympics gets in Carrollton is a testament to this community.

For the last 60 years, the Athletic/Aquatic Division has made a positive impact on the youth of Carrollton.  Soccer has over 400 participants each season, Lacrosse with 200, Football with 275, Baseball/Softball with 350, and Track with over 100 participants. The Athletic Division hosted the Georgia Recreation and Park Association (GRPA) 9-10-year-old boys state basketball tournament this past March, the District Track Meet, the Carrollton Invitational Track Meet, and numerous other tournaments throughout the year.

The Aquatic Division’s swim lesson program continues to have 400 participants per year, and the Bluefin Swim Team currently has 125 kids on the team. This past year, they continued to dominate in the sport of swimming. Midtown Water Park has wonderful attendance each summer with an estimated attendance in 2016 of 16,000 people who came to the park to enjoy the sun and water.


CULTURAL ARTS

The Cultural Arts Division continues to make a huge impact on this community. The Carroll County Community Chorus performed, “Christmas in Carroll County” in December of 2015. Jack Gantt conducted the 100-member choir as they sang holiday favorites. The Carroll County Community Theatre presented, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare…Abridged” The show was a comedic spoof directed by Cindi Winstead. The Community Theatre also performed the “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” which was directed by Lisa Bridwell.  The Carrollton Evening Sertoma hosted the opening night reception for this event. The arts continue to offer children and adult programming for the citizens of Carrollton, and of course, the Carrollton Festival of the Arts was, once again, a wonderful event presented by the Carrollton Artist Guild. Many fine artists from across the country participated in this event.  A great time was had by all.


PUBLIC WORKS

This time of year, is one of the busiest for the Street and Sanitation Department. With the drier weather, the leaves are falling and continue to fall which will result in some intensive overtime for an already busy department. The City ask for your patience with our crews and particularly the street sweepers.  It seems like as soon as one street is cleaned, it needs it once again during this time of the year.  Three years ago, the City changed to a bi-weekly schedule for roadside debris pickup to better serve our citizens. This has been a more efficient schedule for the department and has enhanced communication with the public. City crews remove nearly 3,000 tons of debris from the streets of Carrollton each year. Most of this work is done by hand and is very labor intense. There is on average 37 miles of streets swept in town every week.

The Street Department has been cutting and cleaning the road rights of way since the beginning of March. So far, there have been 170 miles cut and cleaned.

Our recycling program collects on average 70 tons per month.  Larger containers are available to those citizens who want to recycle more.  The charge is a nominal $25.  The high level of participation in this program means less impact on our landfills and more material recycled. The Sanitation Department collects over 155 tons of household garbage every month.  This is down from previous years mainly due to the success of the recycling program.  City crews also collect over 210 tons of commercial garbage each month.  

These employees perform back-breaking, dangerous work.  Regardless of weather, whether rain, heat, cold, or snow, they show up every day and give 100%.  If you happen to see a Public Works employee working today please slow down, smile, and wave; as their work often goes unnoticed and under-appreciated.


SYSTEMS UPKEEP

The Systems Upkeep Department employs 13 people and they are responsible for the upkeep of over 300 miles of water piping and 180 miles of sewer piping within the City.  These are some of the hardest working people that the City employs.  

These crews install and repair water piping, and clean and repair sewer piping.  They install meters, repair manholes, and generally make sure that water is delivered to every home and business and that the sanitary collection system protects the environment and keeps our plumbing functional.

This year, sanitary sewer piping has been rehabilitated or replaced on Sims Street, North Lakeshore, Newnan Road, White Street, Dixie Street, Brown Street, Cherry Street, Habersham Place, Wilson Circle, Bowen Street, Clifton Terrace, Mara Street, River Drive, 4th Street, Fairway Drive, and Tuggle Street.


CLOSING REMARKS

The City of Carrollton is a wonderful place to live, work, and play.  Our facilities and services are second to none.  We are financially sound and blessed with the very best of employees.  

I want to personally thank our elected officials, Mayor Walt Hollingsworth, Mayor Pro-Tem Gerald Byrd, Councilman Jim Watters, Councilman Met Lane, and Councilman Rory Wojcik.  Without your leadership and vision, our achievements and successes would be impossible.  I want to further thank our department heads, Chief Joel Richards, Chief Jimmy Bearden, Director Mike Green, Director Erica Studdard, Director Libby Duke, Director Peter Maierhofer, Director Tony Richardson, City Engineer Tommy Holland and Chief Financial Officer Jim Triplett.  I especially want to thank our employees.  It is an honor and privilege to work for you and with you in the operation of this beautiful City.


Timothy C. Grizzard, P.E., Carrollton City Manager

 
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