DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Burrell Ellis used his 2013 State of the County Address to business leaders as a call to set a course towards a future that reflects the best of the stakeholders of this great county.

Speaking to an audience of 500 business and civic leaders at the Thalia N. Carlos Hellenic Community Center in Atlanta, CEO Ellis said a frank discussion of the state of our county must include the struggle that accompanies success.

“Here in DeKalb County, we are in fact a great community. Yes, we have our struggles, but our struggles make us stronger. And we have what it takes to withstand challenges and continue forward, and that’s why I am encouraged,” said CEO Ellis. “Working together, we can survive any struggle. And that is the State of DeKalb County; a great community with a strong track record of success!”

CEO Ellis cited the 2013 budget process as an example of the spirit of partnership and collaboration. The Commissioners worked with staff and external stakeholders to develop a budget recommendation that is lean, responsible, and responsive to constituents’ priorities. Strategic priorities in the recommendations include funding for 25 more police officers, streamlining the permits and licensing operations, building a new animal shelter and providing a 3% pay increase to the lowest paid county workers, earning less than a livable wage, as defined by national standards.

CEO Ellis also noted that collaboration with state lawmakers is needed to change the laws that govern the creation of new cities and annexation of existing cities.

“DeKalb County has been forced to take a defensive posture at the Georgia General Assembly. Efforts to incorporate or annex prime real estate have severely hurt our bottom line,” said CEO Ellis. “But, unique state law on this issue has allowed revenue shifting from the County to city governments, and that hurts us all, whether we live in incorporated or unincorporated portions of the county.”

“I ask each and every resident of DeKalb County to join us as we embark on a journey to build a greater DeKalb County. Join us in creating a model of excellence and governance,” said CEO Ellis.

To read the full text of Ellis’ speech click here.

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