Chatham County Commission Chairman Pete Liakakis’ 2009 Inaugural Address (continued)

Pete Liakakis
Pete Liakakis

We are fortunate to have the experience and professionalism of Sheriff Al St. Lawrence and the members of his department in this undertaking.

As the expanded detention center comes on line, the county will be soon thereafter be completing a major expansion of the courthouse. The increased capacity of courts will not only improve the efficiency of judicial proceedings but it will also insure the courthouse better serves citizens through improved accessibility and customer-friendly features.

Within the next 18 months, the county will also complete a new records center which will not only centralize records into a single archive but allow them to be better managed. The new building, which will be constructed to withstand a category 5 hurricane, will also include document imaging and a document destruction program to improve the modernization of records management.

While the big projects always seem to grab the headlines, smaller ones can be just as important to the safety of our citizens. For example, another important but little- noticed improvement this year will be the enhancement of our community’s emergency notification system. The commission has funded doubling the number of emergency sirens throughout Chatham County, which means 95% of our citizens will be advised in advance of threatening natural disasters.

Another project which few notice but which will yield public safety dividends in the future will be the implementation of the interoperable communications system. This multi-million dollar public safety enhancement will put into place a regional communication system.

Even the animals who are pets of countless citizens will also benefit by the construction of a state of the art animal rescue center which will be completed during 2009.

As we create new county facilites, we must provide for the maintenance of those facilities. Because of prudent financial policies during the past four years, this commission has transferred almost $30 million from excess fund balance into capital improvements and capital repairs. Capital improvements continue to bolster the sales tax program in funding projects which improve the community’s quality of life. Just as importantly, funding for capital repairs ensures that the needed maintenance of the county’s capital assets today will avoid burdening future commissions.

In 2007, the commission unveiled an ambitious list of 185 projects totaling 350 million dollars. Work continues on completing the projects on this list, which include roads, drainage, parks, boat ramps, new and renovated trails, and county facilities to improve service, and the commission expects almost all of them will be completed within the next four years.

While investing in our service infrastructure pays dividends in the community’s quality of life, this commission also understands the need to invest in economic self-sufficiency. Over the course of this next term, the commission will continue its focus on removing the constraints which keep almost one out of every six of our community’s families impoverished. A renewed emphasis will be made with the construction apprentice program and other programs targeted to help our citizens reach economic well-being.

Commission Chairman

Pete Liakakis’ speech

will be continued.

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