DeKalb Approves 2017 Budget CEO Addresses Priorities of Water Billing, Blight and Employment

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved the county’s 2017 operating budget of $1.3 billion, which funds DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond’s top priorities of water billing, residential and commercial blight and employment.

“I appreciate the support from the commissioners and I’m looking forward to working with them as we address these critical issues,” CEO Thurmond said.

To address the high water bill crisis, commissioners approved CEO Thurmond’s request for $1.5 million.

“During the next 90 days the administration will implement strategies that will reduce errors associated with maintaining our meter inventory,” CEO Thurmond said. “We will improve efficiencies in meter installation and data management billing. Greater emphasis and investments will be made in customer service training and employee retention.

“These strategies will effect a more accurate and efficient DeKalb water billing system,” CEO Thurmond said.

Additionally, the budget includes $2.6 million for CEO Thurmond’s upcoming Operation Clean Sweep, an initiative that will focus on litter removal, cutting grass in county rights-of-way, and removing debris, trash and grass from roadway drains.

The funding for Operations Clean Sweep also will be used to purchase four street sweepers, a front loader, dump truck, trailer and other equipment.

“Residential blight did not appear overnight and will not be easily remediated, but I am convinced that a more focused, multi-departmental blight remediation strategy, in cooperation with civic groups, faith leaders and the private sector, will result in improved quality of life for us all,” CEO Thurmond said.

Another initiative of CEO Thurmond that received funding is the DeKalb Works Summer Employment Strategy. In this $250,000 program administered by WorkSource DeKalb, 155 eligible youth between the ages of 14 and 24 will have the opportunity to earn wages and develop valuable employment skills. These youth will be placed with private and public employers for six weeks in a work-based training environment.

“I believe this subsidized employment opportunity will provide our young people with resources to buy basic needs such as food, clothes and school supplies,” CEO Thurmond said. “A job often means much more than a paycheck. It can also mean connection with a lifelong mentor, career path exploration, practical training and the development of soft skills.”