RON FENNEL, Ward 7 Councilman
CITY COUNCIL UPDATE
July 1, 2013
Welcome to my summer newsletter for the residents of Ward Seven! Herein are updates on topics and projects in the city since our spring edition. I continue to solicit your input and feedback on city actions or services. Please let me hear from you if I can be of service! Also note that my next Town Hall meeting will be July 25 at 7:30pm at Jim 'N' Nick's restaurant on S. Cobb Drive at the East-West Connector. I hope you can attend.
FY 2014 BUDGET ADOPTED
At our June 3 meeting, the Smyrna City Council adopted a solid, fiscally responsible budget, concluding an astonishing and impressive twenty-three consecutive years without a tax increase!
Highlights of the budget include:
Budgeted funds FY 2013 FY 2014 (Decrease)
General Fund 38,536,854 37,837,078 (699,776)
Special Revenue Funds 4,112,590 2,868,459 (1,244,131)
Capital Projects Funds 9,859,440 9,359,153 (500,287)
Water/Sewer Funds 21,904,784 18,676,630 (3,228,154)
Total budget 74,413,668 68,741,320 (5,672,348)
Details of the budget were posted online for thirty days and two public hearings were held prior to the vote. You may see the details at: www.smyrnacity.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2878.
GEORGIA MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION
It was my honor to represent the city as Smyrna's voting delegate to the meeting of the Georgia Municipal Association, the annual gathering of all of Georgia's city officials in Savannah. All but one member (Mayor Pro Tem Melleny Pritchett was recovering from an illness) of our City Council attended sessions to improve our understanding of tools, trends and ideas being employed by other local governments. We were also able to learn some best practices from mayors and city council members from across the state. We each attended classes on a variety of topics offered by instructors from the continuing education program of the University of Georgia. Corkey Welch, Susan Wilkinson and I were awarded certificates of recognition for milestones in our training.
GMA President Beth English.
BENNETT WOODS GARDEN CLUB
Many thanks to the members of Colonial Hills and the Bennett Woods Garden Club for inviting me to speak at their well-attended semi-annual meeting at the West Smyrna Swim and Tennis Club on June 27. I always enjoy visiting with this active group, who seek to make their community a better place to live. It was my pleasure to update them on projects throughout the city, including the recently adopted budget, approved developments and recent Council actions. I answered several questions and heard ideas on a wide range of topics.
I also brought a special guest: Smyrna Police Chief David Lee. The Chief provided residents with an up-close and personal look at their newest neighbor and heard his plans for Smyrna as Police Chief. He outlined his philosophy of Community Policing, cited several specific actions he has taken since his arrival, and answered a number of questions.
At my request, Chief Lee brought two officers with him for an update on the Neighborhood Watch program. Newly minted Sergeant Michael Smith has rebuilt the program over the last year and has now handed off duties to nine-year veteran of the SPD Lieutenant Ed Cason to run it. Sergeant Smith shared the department's usage of social media tools as part of the delivery system and you can be a part of the network by texting "Smyrna" to 888-777 to sign up for Smyrna's Nixle alerts (www.nixle.com/smyrna). He also recommended Smyrna's Facebook (www.Facebook/CityofSmyrnaGA) page and Smyrna's Twitter posts for the latest city news
|Smyrna Police Chief David Lee, Ron and Neighborhood Watch Chair Allegra Goodman.|
In light of recent break-ins, we were reminded to observe the three "L's" for maximum safety: remember to lock doors (both homes and cars), be sure of adequate outdoor lighting and be on the lookout for suspicious activity. Residents were told if something looks unusual or out of the ordinary, they should call 911 and the Smyrna Police will respond. Please do not attempt to engage illegal activity or suspicious characters. Let the police do that. If you see something, say something.
SMYRNA PUBLIC SAFETY UPDATES
It is my privilege to serve as Chairman of the Public Safety Committee. The second largest expenditure in city's budget is dedicated to public safety (19%) through police, fire, 911 and emergency management. Here are some updates on public safety activities:
Gun Safety Classes: Smyrna Police Chief David Lee offered the first of many Smyrna Gun Safety classes, open to an initial class of 63 attendees. The next class will be announced for an autumn date, so stay tuned for notification.
Traffic enforcement: Chief Lee has stepped up the traffic enforcement of patrol officers, including periodic road checks and an enhanced focus on DUI arrests. We have moved speed detection devices to locations throughout Ward 7 allowing drivers to see their speed on corridors where reports of speeders persist. Reminders usually slow drivers.
Promotions: Six of Smyrna's finest were promoted during a ceremony at Brawner Hall last month. Four sergeants and two lieutenants were pinned at a ceremony presided over by Chief Lee. Former Chief Stan Hook (ward 7 resident) and the Command staff, family and friends were present for the event. Please join me in congratulating Lieutenant Jon Carter, Lieutenant Frank Durrance, Sergeant Celeste Rausch, Sergeant Michael Smith, Sergeant Tim Sharples and Sergeant Rick James.
Citizen Corps Council: Deputy Emergency Management Director Roy Acree has empaneled the organizing group for encouraging citizen involvement in our city's ongoing emergency response network. The mission is to develop citizen preparedness to provide emergency aid and communications during natural or manmade disasters through this Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) program. We will provide additional info and opportunities as this program evolves.
Child Safety Seats: Smyrna Fire Chief Jason Lanyon reminds citizens that SFD offers FREE assistance with proper installation of car seats with the Passenger Safety Seat Program. All children under 8 years of age and/or 57" tall must use a car safety seat. You may call the Fire Department to make an appointment for a safety check and instruction on proper installation. The twenty-minute class is available every Monday, but reservations are needed.
Smyrna Public Safety Foundation: SPSF is a not-for-profit foundation created for the purpose of supporting the men and women of the public safety community. Their annual fundraising event, Smyrna Heroes Gala, is scheduled for Friday evening, September 13 at Brawner Hall. Please plan to support this great cause: www.smyrnapsf.org.
You may recall that on February 18, I obtained passage by the Smyrna City Council of my resolution, asking Cobb County to change the name of the East West Connector to Silver Comet Parkway. This nine-mile stretch was the final segment built connecting Cumberland Parkway on the east with Barrett Parkway on the west, thus assuming the name of the non-descript, descriptor from the engineering drawings. No formal name was ever ascribed, so this generic name became the road's moniker by default, not design.
I contend we can do better. This heavily traveled roadway is a gateway on the south side of the county and into south Smyrna. The new name intends to pay proper homage to the Silver Comet Trail, one of Cobb County's nationally renowned assets and tourism draws. The Trail originates in Smyrna near the starting point of the intersection of Atlanta Road and the East-West Connector and tracks along the trail through Smyrna and westward through unincorporated Cobb County to Powder Springs Road, where it becomes Barrett Parkway.
After soliciting input from citizens, business owners and influencers in the community, I have continued to seek support from residents, businesses, the Chamber of Commerce, tourism officials, organizations, marketers, HOAs, and others.
Our newly elected South Cobb Commissioner Lisa Cupid indicated she has received some adverse input. After meeting with her, she agreed to my request for a Town Hall meeting with the residents at Presbyterian Village to explain the benefits and answer questions regarding the timing and other aspects of adjusting to the new name. We have requested attendance by county DOT staff, a US Postal representative and an attorney familiar with issues regarding legal documents and address changes.
That meeting is scheduled for July 18 at 7:00PM at Presbyterian Village, 2000 East-West Connector. I have also added my regular quarterly TOWN HALL meeting on July 25 at 7:30PM at Jim 'N' Nick's restaurant at the corner of South Cobb Drive and the East-West Connector.
Please join me in attending one or both of these meetings. Commissioner Cupid is gauging her support based upon public input and sentiment. If you cannot attend, please send a note of support to Commissioner Cupid and please copy me. All five members of the County Commission must support the name change for it to occur.
Lisa Cupid: Lisa.Cupid@CobbCounty.org
Ron Fennel: RFennel@SmyrnaGA.gov
Smyrna voters approved a special purpose local option sales (SPLOST) tax in 2011. The main project is the remaking of Concord Road between Atlanta Road and South Cobb Drive, which includes widening, median installation and expanded sidewalks/bike paths and passive park areas. Citizens can track all projects, expenditures and timelines at the city's dedicated SPLOST website: http://www.smyrnasplost.com.
MEMORIAL DAY SERVICES
I was privileged to join hundreds of Smyrna residents who attended the annual recognition of our fallen heroes on Memorial Day (May 27). The 116th Georgia Army National Guard Band from Dobbins ARNGB played patriotic favorites such as the United States National Anthem, Stars and Stripes Forever and America the Beautiful. In keeping with tradition, several wreaths were laid in honor of the fallen at the Memorial Wall at Veterans Memorial Park across from City Hall. We heard a patriotic and inspirational message from special guest SFC Mike Schlitz, a decorated wounded warrior, who lost both arms and was burned over 85% of his body during his service in Iraq in 2007. (Below: SFC Michael Schlitz & Ron with Lillie & Pete Wood).
The American Legion Post 160 and the Veterans Memorial Association are to be commended for another successful event in honor of citizens who have given their ultimate sacrifice to freedom's protection through our Nation's our armed forces.
FLAG RETIREMENT CEREMONIES
It has been my privilege to be able to present American flags for proper retirement to the local Boy Scouts chapters. Once a flag has served its useful life and is evidencing a faded, worn and/or torn appearance, it must be properly and respectfully destroyed in a ceremonial fashion. The Scouts have incorporated this solemn practice of retirement into their summer camp and I have presented flags at City Council meetings to local scouts. If you have a flag that needs proper disposal, please find a scout or drop it by my office and I will assure it is delivered.
SIDEWALK EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT
Last month, I inquired about a map of the city's sidewalk inventory and the unfinished segments. I discovered that the city has no such master list or map of the unfinished inventory, so I sought a solution. Realizing that the city codes have been improved over the last twenty-five years to encourage a greater walkability to our community, developers have been required to add sidewalks to every new neighborhood they build.
Unfortunately, many of these new sidewalks do not extend beyond the development and there has been no city strategy for connecting all of these segments to other existing ones. As a goal of the city to become walkable, we should complete the loop on this gap in connectivity. I pledge to tackle this project on my watch as your Councilman.
Timing, they say, is everything. As is happens, I was made aware of a volunteer (William Bell) looking to perform a community service for his Eagle Scout project during this summer between his Sophomore and Junior years at Whitefield Academy in Ward 7. His parents Sherry and Allen Bell are friends who have given graciously and greatly of their time, talents and resources to our community over the years.
William and some of his fellow scouts have taken on this sidewalk project and are working to identify, chart, measure and photograph these unfinished segments and post them to a city Instagram site. The site will be made available after the boy scouts have logged their segments, to allow for citizens to add locations they may have overlooked. It then becomes our challenge to find the funds to complete the sidewalks identified in the survey.
FOOD TRUCK TUESDAYS
Once again this year, Council has approved the return of Smyrna Food Truck Tuesdays to Taylor-Brawner Park. In partnership with Cobb Travel & Tourism, musical acts are now part of the experience on the lawn. If you have not checked it out, I highly recommend you do so. It will be a fun night out with family, friends and neighbors. Check it out:
SMYRNA CONCERT SERIES
The summer music concert series at the Village Green continues again this summer with three Saturday night functions, including the annual birthday celebration complete with the ever-popular fireworks finale! Cindy and I attended the well-attended event in June. The other two are on the calendar for July 13 and August 3. Tables are available for rental through Smyrna Parks and Recreation, but reservations are required in advance. The concerts, however, are FREE to attend for all citizens.
FILMING IN WARD SEVEN
Once again, Hollywood comes calling on Smyrna. The independent film "Switching Lanes" spent time filming in Ward 7 and the Market Village recently. Since Georgia has passed tax incentive legislation, the film and video production activity has increased exponentially. Cobb County is "Camera Ready" and Smyrna is becoming a popular site for productions.
The City Council passed a streamlined film ordinance last fall, designed to assist in the safe and smooth permitting process to mitigate resident disruption while filming is underway. Smile, Smyrna, you're on camera!
KEEP SMYRNA BEAUTIFUL AWARDS
Earlier this year, Keep Smyrna Beautiful received national recognition, including the First Place Non-Profit Litter Prevention Nationwide Award for Smyrna's creative use of the "Littering Is Wrong, Too" campaign, in addition to Adopt A Mile and other numerous litter prevention and litter cleanup programs.
Keep Smyrna Beautiful also won the 2012 Keep America Beautiful - 2nd Place National Affiliate Award (population category 50,001-200,000), recognizing excellence in overall programming and results.
Angie Bolton, volunteer and Board Member with the program, who is also an IBM employee (a Ward 7 business), was singled out among volunteers representing nearly 600 certified affiliates nationwide with the Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson Award.
Throughout the year, volunteers may participate in aspects of the KSB program, including quarterly cleanups. The next citywide cleanup day is Saturday, July 20, starting at 8:30AM
1 Smyrna City Council meeting, Council chambers, 7:30PM
8 Smyrna Committee of the Whole, Conference Room, 5:30PM
11 Smyrna Business Association, Community Center, 11:30AM
"State of the City" address by Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon
13 Smyrna Concert Series on the Village Green; 7:00-10:00PM
15 Smyrna City Council meeting, Council chambers, 7:30PM
17 Summer Jam 2013, Coalition of Cobb Business Associations,
Cobb Civic Center, 548 S. Marietta Pkwy, Marietta; 5-8PM
18 TOWN HALL Meeting on the Silver Comet Parkway
Presbyterian Village, 2000 East-West Connector, 7:00PM
22 Smyrna Committee of the Whole, Conference Room, 5:30PM
25 TOWN HALL Meeting, our quarterly update on issues
Jim 'N' Nicks, South Cobb Drive @ E-W Connector, 7:30PM
3 Smyrna Concert Series on the Village Green; 7:00-10:00PM
Special event: Smyrna's Birthday celebration with fireworks!
5 Smyrna City Council meeting, Council chambers, 7:30PM
6 Ron Fennel's birthday! (Hunter's is 25th and Cindy's is 31st)
12 Smyrna Committee of the Whole, Conference Room, 5:30PM
19 Smyrna City Council meeting, Council chambers, 7:30PM
26 Smyrna Committee of the Whole, Conference Room, 5:30PM
2 LABOR DAY
3 Smyrna City Council meeting, Council chambers, 7:30PM
9 Smyrna Committee of the Whole, Conference Room, 5:30PM
16 Smyrna City Council meeting, Council chambers, 7:30PM
23 Smyrna Committee of the Whole, Conference Room, 5:30PM
Regular City Council meetings are available for viewing on local cable access television, and now online with the new Granicus system.
WARD SEVEN COMMUNITY PROFILE
I am proud to represent the neighborhoods and businesses in Ward Seven, many of which are listed here. If you l wish me to attend one of your community or neighborhood meetings, please email me your request. I am available to speak to your civic organization, as well. If I missed yours here, please let me know!
Ward 7 Neighborhoods: Bennett Woods, Bennett Woods North, Colonial Hills, Concord Station, Concord Walk, Cooper Lake Woods, Creekside at Vinings, Deerwood Estates, Eastgate at Vinings Estates, Enclave at Cooper Lake, Enclave at Oakdale, Harmony Walk, Highland Oaks, Highlands Ridge, Highlands at Vinings Estates, King Valley, Lakeview, The Cove at Vinings Estates, Oakdale Bluffs, Oakdale Ridge, Oak Forest, Oak Hills, Parkland Run, Riverline Hill, Summer Place, Westbrook Park, Wetherbrooke, Woodbridge Crossing, Woodland Brooke, Woodland Gate, Woodland Walk, Village at North Cooper Lake, Vinings Estates.
Key Employers: IBM, United Distributors, S.P. Richards, Glock, National Envelope, Atlanta Bread Company/Bake One, MHC Kenworth, Fire Systems, Inc., Office Max, Kenny's Great Pies, XO Communications
If you do not receive our regular newsletter update via email, or have a friend you wish to receive it, please let us know by emailing a request for addition to our distribution list. You may also feel free to forward this email to your neighbors and/or friends.
As always, let me know if there are issues I may assist you to resolve with city services or staff. It remains my distinct honor and a pleasure to serve as your Smyrna City Councilman!
Ron Fennel, Ward 7
Smyrna City Council
2800 King Street
Smyrna, Georgia 30080
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