[From left: Michael Paris, Jevon Gibson, Chairman Robb Pitts, Sarah-Elizabeth Langford]
On Wednesday, May 10, 2023, the Council for Quality Growth and Fulton County Government hosted the 2023 State of Fulton County Address, in partnership with Legendary Events, at Flourish Atlanta in Buckhead. The Council would like to thank all of our sponsors and our three marketing partners, the ATL Airport Chamber, the Greater North Fulton Chamber, and the Greater South Fulton Chamber of Commerce. More than 400 Council and Chamber members, elected officials, businesses, residents, county staff, and partners of the county attended in support of the Chairman. The State of Fulton breakfast was presented by the Development Authority of Fulton County and the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority.
Chairman Robb Pitts’ address was about the “Fulton Impact.” He first took the opportunity to acknowledge the many elected officials, county department directors, and executive staff that contributed to the county’s accomplishments over the last few years. He commended the county’s strong response to the pandemic, including emergency rental assistance provided to 10,000 households, $38 million given in small business loans, and over 500,000 vaccines administered at the Southeast’s largest vaccination site, Mercedes Benz.
Pitts immediately turned to the pressing need for access to healthcare in Fulton County. “We now have a literal healthcare desert in central and south Fulton,” he said. The county is leaning into its partnerships with Morehouse School of Medicine and Grady Hospital to provide primary care clinic and other health services to residents in those communities affected by recent hospital closures. Pitts announced two mental health initiatives coming to Fulton soon – $15 million in capital funding for a new Behavioral Health Crisis Center and the launch of a new mobile health unit and Fulton Cares Mobile App. “We only need to look at the headlines to see that mental health is critical,” Pitts said, “and this is why Fulton County is investing $16 million in mental healthcare every year.”
He reported great successes on the economic front. “We are the economic heart of this state,” said Pitts, “home to Fortune 500 companies and an incredible entrepreneurial spirit. Fulton County is where opportunity calls home.” He applauded the county’s Tax Allocation District (TAD) projects, an affordable housing program involving tiny homes in College Park, and the growth of the executive airport corridor. He announced upcoming efforts to drive international trade and direct foreign investments into the county. Pitts also stated he’s undertaking efforts to make Fulton County the “electric vehicle capital of the world.”
Before concluding, Pitts mentioned the clear challenges the county faces to ensuring public safety with overcrowded jails and case backlogs. “We’re in the midst of serious discussions about the Fulton County Jail,” he said. “We recognize that solutions are needed. Now is the time for us to have open dialogue and ask the hard questions.” Despite the challenges ahead, Fulton County invested $75 million to the case backlog problem in 2021, resolved more than 100,000 cases, and was recently recognized as a Georgia County of Excellence for their work.
The Chairman also highlighted some exciting things ahead for Fulton County, including a new Elections Central Hub going into the 2024 cycle, a one-billion-dollar investment into water infrastructure projects such as the Big Creek water treatment facility, and a truck driving school initiative with Atlanta Technical College to train 500 students each year. “Fulton County is the best place in this nation to live, work, start a business, get an education, and start an impact. Fulton County is a big deal,” he said.
The Council for Quality Growth works with Fulton County and its local municipalities year-round to advocate for our members doing business in those areas. The State of Fulton County annually convenes the county’s business community with its local government bodies, as well as with other local leaders from across the region. “Fulton County is an integral part of the continued economic growth we’re seeing across the region,” said Michael Paris, President & CEO of the Council, “and the Council is proud of our ongoing partnership with the county and its 15 local municipalities as we work collaboratively to attract new investment and improve the quality of life for those living and working in Fulton County.”
The State of Fulton also featured remarks from Bob Ellis, Vice-Chair of the Fulton County Commission, Jevon Gibson, CEO of the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority, and Katherine Zitsch, Director of the ARC’s Metro North Georgia Water Planning District.