2020 Proposed budget puts Board’s strategic priorities in focus

Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash presented a proposed $1.83 billion budget for fiscal year 2020 to the public and the Board of Commissioners during a briefing Tuesday, November 19.

The proposed budget for 2020 is less than a one percent increase compared to the 2019 adopted budget. It consists of a $1.43 billion operating budget and $401 million capital improvement budget, which includes funds from the County’s SPLOST program.

“In putting together this budget, we tried to think not only about current challenges but anticipate issues we will face in the future. We have continued Gwinnett’s tradition of conservative budgeting based on strategic planning,” Nash said. “The result is a budget that will enable us to deliver the superior services that our community has come to expect from Gwinnett County.”

The budget was developed based on six strategic priorities set by the Board of Commissioners in March 2019 during its annual planning session.

A Safe and Healthy Community remains a top priority with funding for a Situational Awareness and Crime Response Center that will allow the Gwinnett Police Department to use technology to integrate and analyze data from various sources to investigate and prevent crimes, supplement manpower and resources where possible, and act as a real time crime center. The budget also calls for equipping an alternate E-911 center to provide an extra layer of security and support to the main E-911 center. The budget would also create 30 more master police officer positions to help the department meet service demands.

The proposed budget would add two medic units and three alternate response vehicles equipped with advanced life support capabilities to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services to free up fire engines and ambulances for other emergency calls.

The budget includes funding for an 11th Superior Court judge approved during the state’s 2019 legislative session. The budget would fund the judge position in addition to support positions in the areas of the Clerk of Court, District Attorney, and Administrative Office of the Courts as well as additional Sheriff’s deputies for courtroom security.

The budget addresses the Mobility and Access priority with a five-lane bridge on Harbins Road over State Route 316 and a park-and-ride lot at that intersection. It also would explore the development of a Bus Rapid Transit Corridor along I-85 and expand and improve the Gwinnett Place Transit Center to enhance customer experience. The budget would also extend the Ivy Creek Greenway to connect the Suwanee Creek Trail to the Mall of Georgia.

As part of the Livability and Comfort priority, the budget would fund the development of Beaver Ruin Park off Satellite Road with wetland trails and boardwalks as well as fund the relocation of the Duluth, Norcross, and Snellville libraries. The budget also provides funds to help address homelessness.

To support the Strong and Vibrant Economy priority, the budget would create the Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center to aid small business startups by providing resources and services including physical space, education, and networking connections. Funding would also be allocated to continue the Infinite Energy Center Expansion and development of the Water Tower and Training Center, a research and training facility.

Funding is also proposed to enhance the County’s cybersecurity efforts for the Smart and Sustainable Government priority. The proposed budget also includes a 4 percent pay-for-performance increase to maintain a quality workforce.

In the Communication and Engagement priority, the budget will fund the 2020 elections with several options for early and advance voting and an increase in poll official pay to staff County precincts.

The budget was developed after department directors and elected officials each presented business plans for 2020 to the Chairman’s budget review team earlier this fall. The team is made up of six Gwinnett residents selected to serve by Nash who review the departments’ requests and make recommendations.

Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Thursday, December 12 at 7:00pm in the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center auditorium, 75 Langley Drive in Lawrenceville. They invite oral or written comments about the budget during the public hearing or through an online comment form through Tuesday, December 31. The Board plans to adopt the 2020 budget on Tuesday, January 7.

Quick links for the proposed 2020 budget