Brown: Fayette’s future is brighter
Fayette County is in the midst of a significant shift change. Although the process can be bumpy at times, I see a great deal of positive movement.
Sometime ago, I had met with some of our economic development people and determined that residential and retail shopping was not what we needed in the southern end of the West Fayetteville Bypass area.
First, we do not need any further dilution of our retail sector as it currently exists in Peachtree City, Tyrone and Fayetteville. Capitation of business away from our current retail centers drags them all down as well as harming Fayetteville’s ability to redevelop their old strip shopping centers on State Route 85.
Second, we can build houses almost anywhere in the county, but the West Fayetteville Bypass area was one specific place where we could build future corporate campuses with large lots and have the infrastructure needed. Our demographics and quality of life make us an exceptional target for clean, low-impact corporate headquarters with high-paying jobs.
We are faced with the reality that Peachtree City has very limited offerings remaining in their industrial area. Our shift in focus with the West Fayetteville Bypass area literally kept us in the deal on the large economic development project you have read about recently.
Another shift is the enhanced level of cooperation between the county government and the municipal governments. There is a true sense of partnership developing on a host of once contentious issues. Likewise, I have witnessed a superb effort from our Chamber of Commerce with helping the county government leverage our strengths to gain some significant improvements to the interchange at I-85 and State Route 74.
Another noteworthy transformation is the openness to public involvement from the county’s Board of Commissioners. The citizens can now speak on any agenda item at any meeting. Similarly, citizen committees have formed to address critical problems facing the county.
The Board of Commissioners also developed a series of Town Hall meetings on the stormwater utility issue. The first meeting is Feb. 13. These meetings are designed to have a non-confrontational dialog between the government and the citizens with all sides being presented in order to build acceptable solutions.
We also plan on tackling the unfortunate trend of deficit spending in the county government. Obviously, this will not be an easy task, but it is absolutely necessary to our future success. We simply cannot continue on our current track.
The Board of Education is also determined to rectify a series of past financial mistakes. Four of the five current BOE members had nothing to do with the gaffes of the past, but they will act to make the corrections. Their job is an extraordinarily tough one.
The school system is extremely important to the success of our county. Unfortunately, we had to arrive at the point of closing schools for many of our parents to become involved.
This period of distress could usher in a new effort to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our school system.
For the most part, I believe we have the nexus needed between our county, municipalities, BOE and constitutional officers to weather the financial storm and ramp-up our success on the other side.
Your Board of Commissioners always wants to hear from you.
Steve Brown, Chairman
Fayette Board of Commissioners
Peachtree City, Ga.