The practice of holding town hall meetings dates back to colonial America and is one that continues at all levels of government today. The district commissioners and I see these forums as an opportunity for every day residents to share what’s on their mind with elected officials. So in keeping with tradition, we started another series of meetings in March. A total of four will be held this spring.
At the first town hall of 2015, residents asked questions about sidewalks, speed limits, public transit, noisy neighbors, and homeowner association politics. While we do our best to address many of the questions that come up during these sessions, there are some topics, such as HOAs, that fall outside our jurisdiction. Fortunately in a public gathering like this, you often find others who have faced similar challenges and can make helpful suggestions.
One of our jobs as commissioners is to make sure we have infrastructure like roads and water pipes in place to serve current and future residents. We also focus on supporting the outstanding quality-of-life here in Gwinnett with excellent parks, libraries, and public safety protection. And Board members use long-range planning to determine what major facilities we will need in the years ahead. But talking with voters can help us see more immediate needs, such as more sidewalks or speed limit changes.
The next town hall meeting will be held on Thursday, April 23 at the Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center in Berkeley Lake followed by another on Tuesday, May 12, at the Hudgens Center for the Arts at Gwinnett Center in the Duluth area. Earlier meetings were held on March 10 at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center near Buford and on March 26 at the Dacula Park Activity Building in Dacula.
Staff members from various departments are present at each meeting to answer questions starting at 6:15, followed by the town hall meeting with commissioners at 7:00pm. It’s low-key and very informal. No podium—just people talking and listening to each other.
Town hall meetings are by no means the only way to get in touch with me or your district commissioner. You can reach us by telephone or through email—our phone numbers and addresses are available on the County’s website, www.gwinnettcounty.com. We accept public comments at the end of commission meetings; our meeting schedule is also on the web. And you can always pull us aside when you see us at the many community events we attend throughout the year.
I hope you’ll come out to one of the town hall meetings this spring. We want to hear from you!