Jim Grier took his oath of office Tuesday morning, becoming the new mayor of the city of Lula.
Grier is a political newcomer who was elected in November, unseating Milton Turner, who had served in the mayor's post for four terms.
Grier said Turner had worked closely with him to make sure the transition between the two was smooth.
"I especially want to thank Mayor Turner and, of course, our city manager Dennis Bergin, for the many hours they have already spent with me since the election," Grier said. "They've worked with me to bring me up to speed with everything needed to carry out the day-to-day operations of the city, as well as the planning, budgeting and funding of processes that are involved."
Grier outlined some of his goals for the new year, including renewing a sense of community among the citizens of Lula and enhanced communication between the mayor and members of city council.
"I'm very fortunate to have five veteran city council members and I know your experience and knowledge is going to be very helpful as we move forward," Grier said, addressing council members. "One of my goals and top priorities is to find ways that we can communicate better and work together more effectively."
Grier also said he wanted to see Lula residents reconnect.
"You know, we've lost a connection between our neighbors that the city once enjoyed," Grier said. He reflected on some area history, remembering a street tax that was once imposed on city residents; if they couldn't pay the tax, they would work to maintain the city streets.
"I've always felt that activities such as this contributed to building a common bond among neighbors as they worked together toward a common goal."
Grier acknowledged in an interview with AccessWDUN following the meeting that rebuilding a sense of community, while balancing the growth along the Georgia 365 corridor, would be a challenge.
"Really, that is our biggest challenge," Grier said, noting that the rebuilding of community pride would be the first step to managing the anticipated growth. "We will probably see the city expand."
Grier also said he wants to enhance relationships with government leaders in the other municipalities in Hall County and in Banks County, as well; a portion of the city lies within Banks County.
Council members Mordecai Wilson and Marvin Moore, re-elected in the November election, also took their oaths of office for new terms.