The purpose of the the event was to introduce the Mayor and City Council and the City’s department heads, provide departmental updates and processes, present updates on the City’s ordinances, future plans, and provide time for City of Brookhaven citizens to ask questions of the Mayor, Council and staff.
Getting the evening underway, Mayor Davis provided a brief summary of events beginning with the swearing in on Dec 10 (video here) and since that date Davis explained that they have been going through a rapid series of events such as City Council Meetings, Work Sessions, etc., ensuring that the City get started up as the Charter dictated on December 17th. On December 17th, the newly elected Mayor and Council held their first City Council meeting in the history of the City of Brookhaven at 12:01 AM (Video Here). Later in the day on December 17th there was a ribbon cutting ceremony at Brookhaven City Hall (Video Here).
Mayor Davis fast forwarded to January 18th, where he explained that City Operations and Community Development started taking applications for alcohol licenses, business licenses, and building permits.
Two days before, the City held an open house where over 120 people attended, signifying a high degree of interest for prospective business.
Mayor Davis went on to introduce Susan Hiott, City Clerk, and commented that she has a wealth of experience and knowledge and is truly an exceptional find for our City.
JD Clockadale, Interim Deputy City Manager, was introduced and was recognized for the work he does which been instrumental in the start-up of the City.
Mayor Davis proceeded to address the audience - providing information on topics such as:
Next up, Department Head Introductions. Mayor Davis introduced:
First up was District 1 Councilwoman, Rebecca Chase Williams. "Let me personally welcome you to District 1...and I want to thank the good folks here at Marist for hosting us." Williams continued,"I saw a beautiful sight today. I was driving out of my neighborhood...and there were 2 trucks filling potholes that had the City of Brookhaven on the side of it...and I was thrilled!" Williams told the audience that she reported the potholes on the SeeClickFix system that the City Public Works Department utilizes for citizens to report a number of items...among those - potholes and pavement issues.
Councilwoman Williams proceeded to give an informative briefing on some of the happenings in District 1 such as:
- A Stop Work Order placed on the property located at the corner of Nancy Creek and Ashford Dunwoody Rd. "As it turns out they did not have a building permit", Williams explained.
- Hyatt Hotel being built in Brookhaven, next door to Villa Christina (opening March 2014)
- Brookleigh Development on Johnson Ferry Rd at Blair Circle
- 65 Townhomes to be built just behind Costco by Ashton Woods Homes
- An ARC funded $5,000,000.00 streetscape to improve Lake Hearn Drive PCID
- At Ashford Dunwoody Rd and I-285, a PCIS funded $450,000 Landscaping Project
Wrapping up her remarks, "I couldn't be more excited about this City.", WIlliams concluded.
Next, District 4 Councilman, Joe Gebbia. "It's been a whirwlind", (explaining what its like to be a Councilman) "Bottom line is I'm having a blast." Gebbia continued his remarks by noting the synergy that has been established on the Council as a highlight.
Providing some District 4 updates, Councilman Gebbia hinted of a project to be unveiled at a later date that could move the tax base from a $2 million to $36 million dollars in his District. Gebbia further noted that "developers are very very excited about what we're doing...we're getting alot of good buzz", although Gebbia feels we [Brookhaven] needs to do a better job of getting the word out....noting that is happening but it just takes time.
Finishing his remarks, Council Gebbia shared that he could not be more pleased with the progress the Council is making.
Up Next, District 2 Councilman, Jim Eyre. "I spent many years sitting where you are [audience] watching performances and events while my son was here at Marist...it's a different experience to be on the stage...and I appreciate the opportunity and I appreciate your support."
As Councilman Eyre began his remarks, he agreed with Councilman Gebbia that the Council has developed a synergy, and that each member has picked up some "specialities". "We have alot going on in the City of Brookhaven...and I'm happy to say that in District 2 we filled the first pothole [first in the city's history]."
Councilman Eyre, who has already held TWO of his own Town Hall Meetings in District 2 (coverage and video here), shared a question he was asked to him during one of those meetings, "Are you beginning to see some of the benefits of why you ran [for Council]?" Eyre explained that the question really made him think. "At this point, Yes, because we've got all the mundane stuff behind us...we've passed alot of Codes and Ordinances...we had 14 meetings in the first 30 days...we spent alot of time getting the building blocks together...going forward now is when we get to have a little bit of fun."
Wrapping up, Councilman Eyre added, "I'm looking forward to working for y'all [citizens] and working for the benefit of the City of Brookhaven, to see how we can improve and to see how make it [Brookhaven] a better place for all of us."
Last, but not least, District 3 Councilman, Bates Mattison greeted the audience, "I just want to say how proud I am to be a part of the City of Brookhaven, and how great a team we have - both on our elected officials and our administrative office officials. I couldn't be more impressed with the work that they have done." Mattison went on to thank the Governors Commission and the citizens for the fantastic work that was done to help get the City started.
While recognizing some of the work that is being done filling potholes, unclogging culverts, repairing curbs, Councilman Mattison urged the citizens to talk to neighbors and friends to contact the Council with ideas and suggestions for the City. "...the greatest ideas, I think will come from the Citizens."
Councilman Mattison ended his remarks by stating how appreciative he is and how excited he is to be a part of the opportunity that is the City of Brookhaven.
Questions, Comments, and Answers:
From a citizen of District 2 - who was robbed at gunpoint a week ago while walking her dogs in her Drew Valley neighborhood. She gave an accounting of the event - which included a response time of 4 minutes from the Dekalb County Police Department and the arrest of the 2 perpetrators within 25 minutes of the incident. The question for the Mayor was, "I'd like to know, how we can be guaranteed that we receive equal or better service than what I got last week in Dekalb County."
Mayor Davis responded, "Yes. We want to have better Police Service and Police Coverage than Dekalb County. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to help start this city...we're up here for no good reason if we can't do that."
Mayor Davis went on to explain that Public Safety is a huge priority for him and for the council. "In my area in particular, we don't get 4 minute response times, we get an hour sometimes...it's [response times] different in every part of the City."
Q: "I'd like to know, how we can be guaranteed that we receive equal or better service than what I got last week in Dekalb County." D2, Citizen
A: "We want to have better Police Service and Coverage than Dekalb County. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to help start this city...we're up here for no good reason if we can't do that."
Main topics of comments surrounded: