DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Feb 3 2009

Raise your voice

by Heather S

Burrell Ellis, DeKalb County’s new CEO, is hosting meetings at locations across the county for you to ask questions and voice concerns about the County’s budget.  Mr. Ellis’ invitation and details are below.  And, if you would like to review the budget before going to a meeting, please visit your library branch’s Reference Desk!

Dear Neighbors,
To make your priorities our county government’s priorities, one of the most important tools in our toolkit is our annual budget. This is how we pay for a county government that gets the job done for you, delivering the services you expect on time, within budget, and with a smile.
The first budget of our new administration is now out. I want to share some of the highlights with you, especially:

  • The national — indeed global — economic downturn has had a significant impact on what we can spend. To bring the 2009 budget back into balance, I have cut $189 million from departments, but I am confident that all of our county departments will be able to continue the level of service and professionalism that you expect.
  • The budget strongly supports public safety and continued projects of the 2006 Bond Referenda.
  • The establishment of a Chief Public Safety Officer to oversee and coordinate the operation of Police, Fire Rescue, Medical Examiner’s Office, the Juvenile Court, the Recorders Court (which has reportedly lost millions of dollars in revenue in the recent past) and to upgrade our 911 emergency computer software (which is severely inadequate).
  • Continuation of the 18-month Master Police Officer incentive plan designed to retain senior officers who attain this designation.
  • The allocation of 52 new positions to cover the scheduled new library openings during 2009.
  • Continued expedition of implementing the 2006 Bond Projects — construction of Transportation, Library and Parks and Greenspace Projects.
  • Continued focus on upgrading public safety facilities, equipment and capabilities. The recommendation includes $1.5 million to continue the process of converting all public safety communications (radios) to state-of-the-art digital platforms. The computer system in the county’s 911 Emergency Center is severely inadequate and must be fixed.

For more information on the 2009 budget, please visit www.yourdekalb.com.

I want to go into greater detail about the budget with you. To do so, let’s meet face-to-face . Let’s do it in your neighborhood, because you told me that  making your county government more ‘user friendly’ for you is one of your priorities. Meeting face-to-face will give me the opportunity to answer your questions, explain the proposals I’m making, and determine what additional information you need. Most important, face-to-face we can brainstorm together about ways to make this budget work for you. I WANT YOU TO BE PART OF THE PROCESS. That’s important to me.

Here are the neighborhood face-to-face gatherings I’ve lined up so that we can meet and discuss your county’s budget:

East Lake YMCA
275 Lake Blvd SE
Atlanta, GA 30317
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
7 – 8:30 p.m.

Tucker Recreation Center
4898 LaVista Rd
Tucker, GA
Thursday, February 5, 2009
7 – 8:30 p.m.

Stephenson Middle School
922 Stephenson Rd.
Stone Mountain, GA 30087
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
7 – 8:30 p.m.

Torah Day School
1985 LaVista Rd., NE
Tucker, GA 30329
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
7 – 8:30 p.m.

Exousia Ministries
2652 Bond St.
Lithonia, GA 30058
Thursday, February 12, 2009
7 – 8:30 p.m.

St. Timothy United Methodist Church
5365 Memorial Dr.
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
7 – 8:30 p.m.

Berean Community Center
2440 Young Rd.
Stone Mountain, GA 30088
Thursday, February 19, 2009
7 – 8:30 p.m.

I hope to see you at one – or even more – of these face-to-face community conversations. Join us. Make your voice heard. Community works.
As always, you can contact me directly to discuss any issue concerning DeKalb County. My phone number is 404-371-2881. I listen.

Sincerely,

Burrell Ellis
Your DeKalb County CEO

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