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Saturday July 20th, 2019 7:38AM

Higgins delivers first 'State of the County' address, outlines big plans for 2018

By AccessWDUN Staff
As Hall County celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, there's plenty of work for the Hall County Commission to do. That was the word Saturday morning from Commission Chairman Richard Higgins.
 
Higgins delivered his very first State of the County address as commission chair, noting that the past year had brought successes and challenges.
 
"I've learned a lot in the past year," Higgins said. "We [he and fellow commissioners] have made a lot of good decisions and we'll hopefully make a lot more...we're all dedicated to our commission work and we want to do a good job."
 
Higgins delivered his speech to a group of about 50 people at Hall County GOP headquarters in Gainesville, outlining several pages of accomplishments in the areas of public safety, the judicial realm, public works and general government. 
 
He also admitted there had been some challenges in 2017.
 
"Anybody remember [Tropical Storm] Irma? That cost us about $700,000 that week," Higgins said, alluding to the cost of emergency response during the storm and clean up afterward. Even with the emergency, Hall County proved itself to be "Storm Ready" as designated by the National Weather Service and the Storm Ready Advisory Board.
 
Higgins listed other accomplishments:
  • The installation of new Computer Automated Dispatch (CAD) software at the county 911 Center, making for faster response times to emergency calls
  • The opening of the first welding shop for inmates at the Hall County Correctional Institute
  • The Hall County Government Center becoming a venue for local artists
  • The addition of an online "citizen comment card" to the county website, making public comment easier
  • The creation of a film ordinance to not only facilitate the film-production process in the county, but also protect citizens' quality of life during the process

Higgins also looked ahead at projects he and the Board of Commissioners will work on in 2018, even as the county celebrates its bicentennial.

The Hall County Courthouse Annex in downtown Gainesville is under renovation and upgrades should be in place by spring, according to information Higgins shared. He said one of the larger projects that should be okayed by mid-year is a new Automated Material Recovery Facility (MRF), which will allow the county the ability to handle increased recycling materials being brought to local compactor sites.

Among the long-range plans on the commission's drawing board:

  • Hall County Strategic Plan
  • Updated Parks Master Plan 
  • Capital Funding Plan 
 
  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News, Politics
  • Associated Tags: Brian Kemp, hall county commission, Richard Higgins, Election 2018, Hall County GOP, Hall County Republicans
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Higgins delivers first 'State of the County' address, outlines big plans for 2018
As Hall County celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, there's plenty of work for the Hall County Commission to do. That was the word Saturday morning from Commission Chairman Richard Higgins.
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