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Mayor: The state of the city is strong

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  • Mayor: The state of the city is strong
    WIL PETTY/Staff Milledgeville Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan gives her annual State of the City address during the City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 10.

Tuesday night’s City Council meeting only had one vote, which was to approve the minutes from the previous meeting.

Instead, the regular scheduled council meeting provided Milledgeville Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan to provide citizens an address on the State of the City.

“As I begin my third year in this role, I continue to be humbled to be able to serve you and this city,” she said. “I look forward to 2020 being the best year so far of this job.”

Parham-Copelan touched on a number of successes the city saw last year, including its recognition of being one of the coolest cities in the country by Budget Travel, its recognition as one of Georgia’s safest cities and a number of public works projects.

“No one works harder to enhance the quality of life in our city than the staff,” she said.

But the biggest accolade mentioned came to fruition earlier this year, when the City of Milledgeville and the Baldwin County Board of Commissioners formally agreed on a Service Delivery Strategy

“Since last September, the city and county worked what seemed to be nonstop in negotiations to get the agreement accomplished,” she said. “I believe (SDS) can and should be the beginning of continued cooperation between the City of Milledgeville and Baldwin County to do what is right for all of the citizens in our entire community.”

Parham-Copelan also praised city council, City Attorney Jimmy Jordan, Interim City Manager Hank Griffith and former City Manager Barry Jarrett for their efforts in the past year.

Additional highlights were the Milledgeville Fire Department’s improved ISO score from 4 to 3, using Community Block Development Grants for sewage issues, the Streetscape project and replacing sidewalks around South Liberty and Washington streets.

“The (improved rating) is a testament to the tremendous work and dedication put forth by the Fire Rescue members and the other staff throughout the City of Milledgeville,” Parham-Copelan said in relation to the improved ISO score, noting the improved ratings could help decrease insurance premiums for citizens and other property owners in the city.

Alongside focusing on Milledgeville being named one of 10 of BudgetTravel’s coolest cities, Parham-Copelan also honored Milledgeville MainStreet for its designation as a “Georgia Exceptional Main Street,” or GEM.

“With only 17 in the state, GEMS represents some of the best Main Street programs offered by the state, and shows a commitment to excellence and stable leadership in their programs,” she said. “Each of these downtowns has seen millions of dollars in private and public investment with an emphasis on historic preservation, business development and job creation.”

While focusing on the accomplishments of last year, Parham-Copelan also addressed the city’s efforts for the future. Included is the completion of the Streetscape project, the construction of a pocket plaza on Hancock Street and park space next to the farmer’s market pavilion.

“Our city will be creating public spaces that will promote people’s health, happiness and well-being,” she said.

In addition, the city is working on creating a youth council, improving the quality of live in Milledgeville and increasing public outreach to its citizens.

“In order for the City of Milledgeville to prosper, we must know where we are going and how to best get there,” she said, noting the city will utilize a strategic planning process.

In close, Parham-Copelan said the city is in good shape, and she hopes it continues to see growth in the years to come.

“The state of the City of Milledgeville is strong,” she said. “I, along with the city council and City of Milledgeville staff look forward to making it stronger in the years to come.”