Important Announcement
PubHTML5 Scheduled Server Maintenance on (GMT) Sunday, June 26th, 2:00 am - 8:00 am.
PubHTML5 site will be inoperative during the times indicated!

Home Explore 2020 Your Forsyth - Forsyth County's Annual Report for 2019

2020 Your Forsyth - Forsyth County's Annual Report for 2019

Published by Forsyth County Georgia Government, 2020-09-14 14:28:32

Description: 2020 Your Forsyth - Forsyth County's Annual Report for 2019


Read the Text Version

2020 Forsyth County Government’s Annual Report for 2019

Message from the Chairman What a difference a decade can make! In 2010 the county had 175,511 residents. The latest population numbers (from 2018) are 236,612. That is a 34.8% increase in just 8 years. And we are expecting to see another increase in population following the 2020 Census. We are not surprised that others want to join us. Our county has a wonderful school system, public safety departments that can’t be beat and a low millage rate. We are adding high-tech jobs, along with places to meet for fun and recreation. Add to that the range and beauty of our landscape – from the rivers and creeks to the mountains to the lake – and it is no wonder Forsyth County was named the fastest growing county in Georgia in 2019. While we know that growth is almost inevitable, your Board of Commissioners is working to help maintain the quality of life that makes Forsyth such a desirable place to live. This includes quality residential and commercial developments, improvements to our infrastructure and creating a world-class park and trail system. We hope you enjoy reviewing this report and learning more about what happened in Your Forsyth in 2019. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. We look forward to a great 2020! Sincerely, Laura Semanson 2020 Chairman and District 5 Commissioner 2

Photo: View of Sawnee Mountain from McCoy Circle Message from the County Manager What a difference 10 years can make! In 2009 we were just coming out of a recession. And here we are — a decade later — with a strong local economy, low unemployment and an enviable quality of life. It takes a lot of people, working together, to help make this happen. This past year, Forsyth County government was hard at work taking your vision for an ideal place to call home and making it a reality. Forsyth was named the state’s most affluent and fastest growing county — as well as a top community for incoming investment — among other accolades. Also in 2019, Forsyth County received, for the first time, the highest bond ratings possible from all three major bond rating agencies, joining a select group of state and local governments. It is with great pride that we present this report that highlights many of the accomplishments made in 2019 in Forsyth County. I am proud to serve a county government that works diligently to make Forsyth County Georgia’s best community, and I look forward to a new decade of continued success. Sincerely, Eric Johnson County Manager 3

2020 Forsyth County Organizational Chart Administration County Mission Manager As trusted stewards of Forsyth County’s future, the elected officials and Eric Johnson employees are dedicated to serving the community and to providing effective, professional public service with integrity and a commitment to excellence. Deputy County Vision Manager Forsyth County is committed to providing and maintaining the most efficient, Tim Merritt customer service-oriented county government possible. The county will be an innovative and strategic leader in providing essential and effective public 4 services in a fiscally prudent and professional manner. By preserving and enhancing a high quality of life, Forsyth County will remain a healthy, safe and compelling place in which to live, work, recreate, visit and invest.

2020 Board of Forsyth County operates under Commissioners the commission-county manager form of government. The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners is made up of five members, each living in a specific district and elected by their district to serve four-year 1DISTRICT terms. Each January, the five members elect officers for the coming year. The mission of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners is to exercise the Molly Cooper powers, duties and responsibilities vested in and imposed upon it as the duly Secretary constituted governing authority of Forsyth County. The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners meets in regular session twice a 2DISTRICT month, on the first and third Thursdays. The board also holds a work session twice a month, on the second and fourth Tuesdays. The meetings are held in Dennis Brown the County Administration Building. The meetings are open to Member the public, and they also can be viewed on TV Forsyth (Xfinity Channel 23 and AT&T Channel 99) and online at 3DISTRICT Todd Levent About Forsyth Member Date of Incorporation...........................................December 3, 1832 4DISTRICT Form of Government............................................Commission-County Manager Total Area in Square Miles.................................247 Cindy Jones Mills 2019 Population Estimate...................................236,612* Vice Chairman County Government Employees as of December 31, 2019....................................1,396 Full-Time, 440 Part-Time 5DISTRICT *Source: U.S. Census Bureau as of July 1, 2019 Laura Semanson Chairman 5

2019 Year in Review Photo: Chattahoochee Pointe 6

Barry Head Sworn in as County’s Fourth Fire Chief Year in Review After serving as interim fire chief since the retirement of former Chief Danny Bowman in October 2018, Barry Head was sworn in as the Forsyth County Fire Department’s fourth chief on January 17, 2019. Chief Head has protected Forsyth County for over 25 years and has served in various public safety roles with both the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department. He held the position of division chief, field operations prior to being named interim fire chief. Parks and Recreation Photo: Fowler Park Facilities Go Tobacco and Vape Free Forsyth became the 22nd county in Georgia to adopt a tobacco-free policy at their parks and recreation facilities after the Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance making all county parks tobacco and vape free. The ordinance prohibits the use of tobacco, tobacco products, vapes or other alternative nicotine products in any form at all parks and recreation facilities, indoors and outdoors. Text to 911 Service Made Available During Emergencies In March, the Forsyth County 911 Center made a new service available to residents allowing them to text 911 during an emergency when voice calls are not viable. Although voice calls are still the best and fastest way to contact 911, having the option to send a text message provides an opportunity for those with hearing or speech impairments and those in unsafe conditions to seek help. The service is offered by all mobile providers to customers with a text or data plan. 7

New Disc Golf Course Opens at Chattahoochee Pointe The county’s second disc golf course opened to the public on March 17 at Chattahoochee Pointe (5790 Chattahoochee Pointe Dr.). The new disc golf course is situated in a natural setting along the Chattahoochee River and features 18 holes with two sets of tees as well as multiple basket-setting options. The disc golf course was funded by SPLOST VII funds. / ForsythCounty @ForsythCoGov Government @forsythcountyga New Social Media Channels Added for News and Information In early 2019, official Forsyth County government accounts were added to Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Nextdoor. Residents now have more ways than ever to be informed through social media about the latest county government news and information. Highest Bond Ratings In 2019, Forsyth County received the highest bond ratings possible, Received by County and the resulting lowest cost of borrowing, from all three major U.S. bond rating services (Moody’s, S&P and Fitch). Bond ratings provided by Moody’s (Aaa) and S&P (AAA) were issued in July, and a AAA rating was issued by Fitch Ratings in early December. 8

Animal Shelter Adoption Specials Year in Unite Hundreds of Pets with New Review Homes The Forsyth County Animal Shelter hosted two successful adoption promotions in 2019 that waived adoption fees on all pets. The shelter’s “Summer of Love” and “Home for the Holidays” promotions helped the shelter find forever homes for 258 dogs and 338 cats. In total, 1,366 animals were placed into homes or transfered from the shelter to a rescue partner in 2019, including animals returned to their owner. New Map-Based Forsyth County Geographic Information Services (GIS) launched a new digital map Web Application, in July with updated information and status updates on zoning applications, Insight2Forsyth, permits, variances and other properties with proposed action. Insight2Forsyth Launches provides access to information regarding items such as new applications for zoning changes and/or variances (VA), Conditional Use Permits (CUP), Preliminary Plans (Sketch Plats – SP), Zoning Applications (ZA) and Zoning Condition Amendments (AZ) as well as other items that are posted on colored road signs advertising actions that are being considered. 9

Photo: Haw Creek Park Mental Health Program Grant Awarded by the Department of Justice A $400,000 Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program grant was awarded to the county in September by the United States Department of Justice to help reduce the number of people booked into jails with mental illnesses as well as shorten their length of stay, increase treatment availability and reduce recidivism rates. To best utilize the funds, the Forsyth County Finance Department and Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office have established a planning team comprised of county leaders, stakeholders and decision makers from multiple departments and agencies. Forsyth County Courts Unveils New Website, The Bell-Forsyth Judicial Circuit Office of Court Administration launched a new website in December designed to provide residents with improved access to Superior Court, State Court and Juvenile Court information. Website visitors can access information such as legal forms, the daily court calendar, a case search portal and more. 10

Forsyth Named State’s Year in Healthiest County for Review Seventh Consecutive Year For the seventh consecutive year, Forsyth County was named the healthiest county in Georgia. The distinction comes as part of the annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps study initiated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The rankings are based on how well and how long we live. Photo: Forsyth County Courthouse Work Underway to Shape South Forsyth Community’s Identity In September, a series of workshops were held for residents as well as business and property owners in south Forsyth County to provide their input on the South Forsyth community’s branding and design initiative. The recommendations will help support a brand style for South Forsyth’s identity, specifically non-residential uses along commercial corridors, which will include both architectural and landscape-based elements. The approximate boundaries for this portion of Forsyth County are State Hwy. 400 to the west, McGinnis Ferry Road to the south and north of State Hwy. 20 on the northern boundary. 11

Ground Broken for the Future Home of Fire Station 11 Ground was broken on August 6 for the Fire Department’s newest facility, Fire Station 11. The new station will be located on Pittman Road and will be a 12,000 square foot, four-stall station that will allow for future growth. Construction of the new station is funded by the voter-approved Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) VI program and by Impact Fees. The station is expected to open in the summer of 2020. Photo: A rendering of the final version of Fire Station #11 12

County Hosts Household Hazardous Year in Waste Recycling and Disposal Event Review The Recycling and Solid Waste Department and Keep Forsyth County Beautiful hosted a Household Hazardous Waste Recycling and Disposal event in November. Residents were able to dispose of corrosive, ignitable, toxic and/or reactive hazardous waste such as paints, cleaners, oils, fuels, batteries, fluorescent or HID light bulbs, herbicides, pesticides and more. Animal Shelter Partners with the Forsyth County Jail for a Unique Program Pups with Purpose launched in 2019 to partner dogs from the Forsyth County Animal Shelter with carefully selected Forsyth County Jail inmates who are given an opportunity to give back to society by providing foster care and training to the dogs while enhancing their own social and vocational skills. Once the dogs complete training with their handler, they become available for adoption. In 2019, 16 inmates benefited from the program, 13 dogs were adopted, and one was adopted by a Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office employee to be used as a therapy dog in the jail. 13

Veterans Memorial Unveiled at County Courthouse Senior Services Opens an Art Gallery at Sexton Hall The Sexton Hall Enrichment Center (2115 Chloe Rd.) unveiled a new art gallery featuring a variety of media and talents on display, created by artists from the Cumming Arts Center as well as residents involved in Senior Services programs. The gallery grand opening reception was held on Nov. 15. 14

Year in Review In early December, a memorial recognizing all U.S. service member veterans was unveiled next to the county courthouse steps. The memorial includes a statue of a WWII era American soldier offering food to two children in war-torn Europe. Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Recognized by National Weather Service The National Weather Service and the Georgia StormReady Advisory Board recognized Forsyth County as a StormReady Community, a designation reflecting the county’s high level of severe weather preparedness. The StormReady program encourages communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations by providing emergency managers with clear-cut guidelines on how to improve their hazardous weather operations. 15

How is the government funded? General Fund Revenue Four sources comprise the majority of the General Fund revenues: Taxes 76.7% Charges for Services 12.2% includes taxes from property, motor vehicles, cable television, alcohol includes parks and recreational fees, judicial fees, sheriff excise, intangible property, real estate transfer tax, financial institutions and correctional fees, and sales of printed materials and the local option sales tax Licenses and Permits 5.7% Fines and Forfeitures 1.8% includes business licenses, a portion of motor vehicle tag related to the courts and restitution fees, alcohol licenses and permits throughout unincorporated Forsyth County Special Revenue Funds Special Purpose Local O ption Sa les Ta x (S PLOST) SPLOST is a Funds not primarily supported by the General Fund, but rather from their own funding source, include the Fire Department, special one percent voter-approved sales and use tax in Forsyth which is funded by a separate millage rate property tax, and County for a specified period of time (up to six years), raising an the 911 Center, funded by land and wireless phone charges. estimated amount of revenue for designated programs or Water & Sewer and Recycling & Solid Waste are Enterprise named capital projects. First approved by Forsyth County voters Funds supported by user fees rather than tax dollars. in 1987, the sales tax has been continuously extended through voter approval by referendum seven times. Bonds Grants Forsyth County voters have approved previous bond referendums to fund specific types of projects. In 2014, a In 2019, the county was awarded grant revenue totaling $200 million Transportation Bond was approved by voters. $6,167,301 from federal and state agencies. These bonds fund designated projects and are paid for via property taxes. How are county funds expended? Public GoGveenrnemraelEnTthxpee2n0d19ituadreosptceadmGeenineruanl Fduenr dbuexdpgeentdaittuarpepbruodxgimetawtealsy$$113371,9.838m,9i8ll8i.on.* Safety 36.02% (Sheriff, Coroner and Ambulance Services) 19.30% Other & Transfers Judiciary Parks, Housing & Health & 11.30% Recreation Development Welfare 11.11% & Culture 6.05% 3.99% 7.45% Library 4.78% *Unaudited results. 16

How are property taxes calculated? Millage Rate The County Maintenance & Operations millage rate funds: A millage rate is the amount per $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. • Judicial System • Tax Assessor The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners sets the millage • Tax Commissioner • Code Enforcement rates for the county Maintenance & Operations, Fire District and Bonds (the Forsyth County Board of Education sets the • Sheriff’s Office • Planning & Community millage rate levied to fund schools). • Board of Commissioners Development The Fire District millage rate funds the Fire Department. • Coroner • Health and Welfare including Senior Services • Parks & Recreation • Libraries The Bond millage rate funds payments on General Obligation Bonds. In 2019, the Board of Commissioners increased two of the county’s three millage rates and reduced the third by 26.5%. This rate is used to calculate the property taxes that will fund the 2020 budget. • 4.791 mills – Maintenance & Operations • 2.175 mills – Fire District • 0.970 mills – Bond The county’s millage 20.19 20.40 rate continues to be one of the lowest millage rates among metro Atlanta counties. 2019 M&O and Fire 12.73 12.96 12.66 9.54 10.21 11.32 9.90 9.18 10.35 8.49 7.67 Forsyth 6.97 Cherokee Hall Paulding Douglas Henry Fayette Cobb Coweta Gwinnett Fulton DeKalb Rockdale Clayton comparable counties other metro area counties Source: Georgia Department of Revenue 17

179 2,866,977 716,971 new participants items checked out from the libraries people visited in accountability courts* 61 graduates *Drug Court, DUI Court, Family Treatment Court and CARE Court program 2019 by the numbers Animals adopted 10,594 from the Animal Shelter... new registered 338 cats voters 258 dogs 28 others ( Guinea pigs, rabbits, frogs, hamsters) 18

223,590 total calls for service answered by the Sheriff’s Office 168 roads resurfaced by Engineering Department 57totalling miles 1.9M estimated 81,619 park visitors calls handled by the 911 Center 231,657 1,900 TONS of collected recyclables from recreation center member visits three convenience centers 14,771 total incidents answered by the Fire Department 18,577 total number of apparatus (fire engines and specialty vehicles) dispatched 4:54 average response time 19

Connect with Forsyth County Government on social media! / forsythcounty @forsythcountyga @forsythCoGov government Board of Commissioners • 110 E. Main Street, Suite 210 • Cumming, Georgia 30040 • (770) 781-2101 • TV Forsyth - Comcast Channel 23 and AT&T Channel 99

Like this book? You can publish your book online for free in a few minutes!
Create your own flipbook