Woodstock mayor: ’12 best on record
by Megan Thornton
mthornton@cherokeetribune.com
January 30, 2013 12:20 AM | 1692 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WOODSTOCK — In his state of the city address at Monday night’s City Council meeting, Mayor Donnie Henriques called 2012 the “best year on record” for the city of Woodstock in recent history.

Despite the successes, however, the mayor said he’s looking ahead to present and future challenges to better the city for its residents.

“If 2011 was the year that we turned the corner, 2012 will be remembered as the year that the pendulum swung to the positive in a major way for the city of Woodstock,” Henriques said. “No matter what form of measurement you utilize, 2012 was the best year on record for quite a while for the city. That being said, we still face challenges to dig out of five years of recession and continue to move the city forward.”

Henriques reported the city’s general fund ended the 2012 fiscal year June 20 with a surplus of $225,518. For FY 2013, the council adopted a balanced budget and earmarked $250,000 to go into the reserve fund.

“If the current fiscal year’s revenues and expenditures continue to trend the way they have through mid-year, I expect the city’s reserve fund to swing to a positive balance by the end of the fiscal year,” he said.

The mayor also gave updates on various departments and issues facing the city, including finding alternatives to combat ever-increasing insurance premiums and other costs, major department leadership changes and spurring economic development.

The past year saw the addition of Police Chief Calvin Moss on March 5 and Chief Financial Office Robert Porche joined the city in April. Henriques also recognized key city employees who left last year, noting the departure of Community Development Director Richard McLeod, who left to take a similar position with the city of Alpharetta after 10 years of leadership with the city, and the hire of Jessica Guinn, who will assume the role Feb 11.

Additionally, Executive Director for Economic Development Billy Peppers left to take a new position with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

The mayor said the city also received a transportation enhancement grant in the amount of $800,000 for the second phase of the city’s North Main Street streetscapes project.

“I would like to thank Sen. Brandon Beach who selected this project for funding when he served on the GDOT Board,” Henriques said.

The city also received a grant for and completed the Livable Center Initiative 10 Year Update that will soon be set for adoption.

“The process included multiple community meetings and provided us with updates to market analysis for all aspects of the local market based on actual trends since the original LCI Plan was adopted in 2002,” Henriques said.

In closing, the mayor asked everyone in attendance to close their eyes and imagine a community with a Downtown Development Authority and city officials who did not get along, had trouble filling retail and restaurant spaces and had been fighting for 30 years for a new interchange.

“You may have thought of several different communities, but I am describing Woodstock of five years ago,” Henriques said. “Just five short years ago.”

Henriques then described the Woodstock of today with the Ridgewalk Interchange, a “thriving” downtown and a city working together for a common purpose.

Finally, he asked the council and others to look to the future, which he hopes to include more development and positive additions to the community.

“You don’t have to look far to see communities that are struggling,” Henriques said. “Struggling to get along, struggling with the economy, struggling with problems. Yes, we have problems and we will have more problems to face in the future — every community does. But I want to challenge each of you to dream big and continue to work together to move our city forward. After all, dreams do come true.”
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