2017 proposed budget invests in public safety, judical system and community engagement

Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash presented a proposed $1.56 billion budget for fiscal year 2017 to the public and the Board of Commissioners during a briefing on Tuesday. The proposed budget is up about 5.5 percent from this year and includes a $1.18 billion operating budget plus another $384 million for capital improvements.

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Nash said, “This proposal is in line with Gwinnett’s history of sustainable, conservative budgeting practices and looks at least three to five years ahead at future implications of our decisions. The primary focus of this proposed budget is on retaining employees, supporting public safety, expanding the judiciary to meet demand and enhancing community engagement.”

Capital improvements funded by SPLOST programs include an $82 million expansion of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, a new gym at George Pierce Park plus expansions and improvements at other parks. Construction on the courthouse expansion is slated to begin in the middle of 2017 and should be completed in late 2019. The senior center housed in the Norcross Human Services Center will also be renovated.

Water and sewer user fees will fund upgrades to water and sewer facilities, sewer line inspections using a new acoustic monitoring system to help locate clogs before spills occur, and more public education to keep fats, oils and grease out of the sewer system.

Nash again tapped residents and business people to serve as volunteers on a budget review committee. They heard presentations from elected officials and department directors in late summer and studied departmental business plans, budget needs and revenue projections before making their recommendations for the 2017 budget. Videos from the presentations are available to view online at www.tvgwinnett.com.

Commissioners will hear oral or written public comments at a public hearing on Monday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center auditorium, 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville, and online throughout the month of December before adopting a final budget at their meeting on Jan. 3.

The proposed budget is available for viewing online at www.gwinnettcounty.com and as a hard copy in the Financial Services office at GJAC, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.