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Hall growth still on the move, leaders say
State of the County remains strong, commission chairman says
Hall County Commissioner Scott Gibbs takes part in a discussion Saturday during the State of the County forum at Hall Republican PartHy headquarters. - photo by HAILEY VAN PARYS

It was a good year — that was the message at the Hall County Republican Party’s State of the County forum at the GOP’s offices Saturday morning.  

“We are a part of a team and a team works together ... not everyone is going to agree with us ... they might be throwing rocks at us for a while,” board Chairman Richard Higgins said.

Advice for the next few months was also offered by Commissioner Scott Gibbs.

“You have to watch what is coming down from the legislature,” Gibbs said.

Higgins was the primary speaker at the meeting and led by addressing the national election.

“I think we have a lot of positive things going on,” he said. “The saying is true, we’ve got it all in Hall. We are really fortunate to live here.”

Forum attendee Doug Aiken agreed. “We’re sailing in the right direction,” he said.

Afterward, Higgins read off a list of accomplishments the county achieved during 2016. He mentioned Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s purchase of Barrow County Hospital.

“If you have a heart attack, you live in the right county,” he said.

The chairman mentioned he had talked with other counties having trouble keeping their hospitals open.

“They’re having to spend money to keep them afloat,” Higgins said.

He also talked about the new public safety office, the Hall County Correctional Institute and a future firing range and training facility set to be repaired and expanded sometime this year.

The 911 Center also got a face-lift, replacing its 10-year-old technology.

“It had to be upgraded,” Gibbs said.

Also cited: 2,750 feet of sidewalk was placed along Floyd Road and a traffic light was installed across from Sterling on the Lake neighborhood on Spout Springs Road. Approximately $1.7 million was given by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the project, under the terms it would be able to use it.

Attendee Mark Pettitt of Chestnut Mountain was concerned about how much the county would have to pay or would be “on the hook for.” He was assured by commissioners Gibbs and Jeff Stowe the facility wouldn’t cost the county anything.

That’s a lot of accomplishments for “a sleepy community that exploded overnight,” Gibbs said.Not only did he go over the accomplishments made this year, but Higgins also talked about the tax reports from last year.

“Everybody wants to know where the money goes,” he said.

Last year, a little over 53 percent of the tax dollars went to public safety, which Higgins ensured the attendees was a good thing.

“It’s almost like the Wild West out there,” Higgins said.

He also said the county hopes to catch up with surrounding counties’ technologies soon in order to help officers.

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