July 12th, 2010 by billfloyd
Join us for the kick off for the KP Corporate Run/Walk, July 26th – 6-8PM on the square. For actually what the KP Corporate Run/Walk is, see below. Kathy Gannon, Dekalb County Commissioner and Decatur resident, and I, challenge you and your family to join us for 8 weeks of training and a fun evening on Sept 16th. Let’s make Decatur healthier and show others what active living is all about. Will you join us? [Please note that a portion of the money raised will go to the Atlanta Food Bank, run by Decatur’s own Bill Boiling.]
Join Team Decatur for the KP Corporate Run/Walk
Join Decatur businesses and community members as we participate in the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk & Fitness Program. The City of Decatur is participating in the KP Run/Walk as “Team Decatur” – we want you, your family and city businesses to join in this great community fitness activity. Decatur Active Living, Big Peach Running Company, Fleet Feet, and One Step at a Time and Decatur Active Living will be helping you to “get fit” by holding fitness walks and runs; all a part of the 8 week training program.
The Run/Walk Kick-off will be held on the Old Courthouse Square on Monday, July 26 from 6 – 8 pm. Join us for music by Morgan Rowe and lots of fun as well as get information on signing up to participate in the KP Run/Walk and when and where you can begin your 8 week “Get Active” program.
The Corporate Run/Walk will be held on Thursday, September 16 at 7 pm. Join us for an evening of fun, fitness and camaraderie. This event is for everyone – walkers, joggers and competitive runners. The 5K will begin across from Turner Field under the Olympic Rings. After the run, the festivities will continue with the World’s Largest Office Party featuring fireworks and music by Rupert’s Orchestra plus awards for the most fit companies, the best T-shirts and the fastest runners. Let’s put Decatur on the map by winning!
Registration is only $25 before August 15 and $30 after that date- so sign up today! You may also choose to purchase a boxed dinner for $10 to be served at the Team Decatur tent after the race. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Atlanta Braves Foundation and the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
For more information and to register, visit www.KPcorporaterunwalk.com and sign up to be a part of Team Decatur or contact Cheryl Burnette Cheryl.firstname.lastname@example.org or 678-553-6541.
Cheryl A. Burnette
Interim Asst. Director Active Living
City of Decatur
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August 12th, 2009 by billfloyd
Posting of comments should be fixed and seems to be working now. Sorry for the problem.
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August 10th, 2009 by billfloyd
We have had several months now to digest the temporary traffic changes on Church Street. I believe it is working quite well. While I realize that some cars may be delayed at times, it appears to be providing exactly what we wanted, which is slowing of the traffic and parking for the pool and tennis courts while the park is closed. The decision to make this fall will be whether to continue these changes permanently or discontinue and return to four traffic lanes.
I would like to see us make the changes permanent with some modifications. Extend the reduction to two lanes all the way from Commerce Drive to North Decatur Road. Add bicycle lanes and parking on both sides of the road. I would also like to see the traffic lights at Fortner and Lucerne removed and “round-a-bouts” installed. Any thoughts?
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February 23rd, 2009 by billfloyd
The comments below are my opinions and impressions only and do not represent any form of an official city position nor the opinions or positions of any other persons.
Commission/City Staff Retreat
Once a year, as we have for at least the past 18 years, your city commission and the city management team meet outside the city for a few days to review what happened over the last year or so and to discuss what we believe might happen over the next few years and thus establish a few priorities and focus our efforts for the next year.
The conversation this year was dominated by the economy and the impact it will have on our community, and it will be significant. Budget preparations for the 2009-2010 fiscal year have already begun and will be finalized in the next few months. Although the city is in strong financial position today, we will be faced with tough choices within this budget to maintain that position through what is being called “the worst economic times since the depression of the thirties”. We will soon be provided by Dekalb County the official tax digest for this year which directly impacts the cities revenues for the next budget year. But especially now we must also look ahead at the next several years and make our best assumptions about what will happen to property values. If the trend continues down, we must begin now preparing for the necessary changes in future years budgets.
But we will survive. It will be harder for the schools as the state continues to cut their funds. We must not only plan the future but also work for today. In addition to the financial issues, look for your city government to focus on several key issues for the coming year.
A. Create a task force to study and update our land use and development ordinances especially where commercial is next to residential.
B. Making our city environmentally friendly.
C. Seek a fair resolution to our concerns about the Service Delivery Agreement between the Dekalb cities and Dekalb County. We do not wish to be taxed by the county for services they do not provide to us.
D. Continue toward completion of the work scheduled under our bond referendum. This year two of the big issues will be a decision about the public works building and Glenlake Park improvements including improvements to the cemetery. The value for our construction dollars is probably greater today than anytime in past 20 years. So with funds in hand it is a good time to be building GREEN and we are also providing jobs.
There are obviously others issues not mentioned that the city will be working on, but these will consume a majority of the hours available.
I covet your comments and thank you for your support. We have a great city – the best anywhere.
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February 19th, 2009 by billfloyd
In the misdt of crisis we remember we are a nation of loving, caring and devoted people who will sacrifice to help their neighbor. The article below written by a passenger on flight 1549 is worth reading. It is about normal people who are heros. It tells us a lot about ourselves in times of crsis. It tell us we will make it through these hard times.
This is a first-hand account from a passenger on Flight 1549. It is an internal memo to the members of his firm. It is very well written, is descriptive, and gives this man’s honest reactions to the events around him. It’s from a Partner at Heidrick & Struggles, an executive recruiting firm, who was on Flight 1549. Gerry McNamara (New York/Charlotte) was on US Airways Flight 1549 last week. Here is his account of the event:
Thursday was a difficult day for all of us at the firm and I left the Park Avenue office early afternoon to catch a cab bound for LaGuardia Airport . I was scheduled for a 5pm departure, but able to secure a seat on the earlier flight scheduled to leave at 3pm . As many of us who fly frequently often do, I recall wondering if I’d just placed myself on a flight I shouldn’t be on!
Just prior to boarding I finished up a conference call with my associate, Jenn Sparks ( New York ), and our placement, the CIO of United Airlines. When I told him that I was about to board a US Airways flight, we all had a little fun with it. I remember walking on the plane and seeing a fellow with grey hair in the cockpit and thinking “that’s a good thing… I like to see grey hair in the cockpit!” I was seated in 8F, on the starboard side window and next to a young business man. The New York to Charlotte flight is one I’ve taken what seems like hundreds of times over the years. We take off north over the Bronx and as we climb, turn west over the Hudson River to New Jersey and tack south. I love to fly, always have, and this flight plan gives a great view of several NY landmarks including Yankee Stadium and the George Washington Bridge .
I had started to point out items of interest to the gentleman next to me when we heard a terrible crash – a sound no one ever wants to hear while flying – and then the engines wound down to a screeching halt.10 seconds later, there was a strong smell of jet fuel. I knew we would be landing and thought the pilot would take us down no doubt to Newark Airport . As we began to turn south I noticed the pilot lining up on the river – still – I thought – en route for Newark . Next thing we heard was “Brace for impact!” – a phrase I had heard many years before as an active duty Marine Officer but never before on a commercial air flight. Everyone looked at each other in shock. It all happened so fast we were astonished! We began to descend rapidly and it started to sink in. This is the last flight. I’m going to die today. This is it. I recited my favorite bible verse, the Lord’s Prayer, and asked God to take care of my wife, children, family and friends.
When I raised my head I noticed people texting their friends and family….getting off a last message. My blackberry was turned off and in my trouser pocket…no time to get at it. Our descent continued and I prayed for courage to control my fear and help if able.
I quickly realized that one of two things was going to happen, neither of them good. We could hit by the nose, flip and break up, leaving few if any survivors, bodies, cold water, fuel. Or we could hit one of the wings and roll and flip with the same result. I tightened my seat belt as tight as I could possibly get it so I would remain intact.
As we came in for the landing, I looked out the windows and remember seeing the buildings in New Jersey , the cliffs in Weehawken , and then the piers. The water was dark green and sure to be freezing cold. The stewardesses were yelling in unison: “Brace! Brace! Brace!” It was a violent hit – the water flew up over my window – but we bobbed up and were all amazed that we remained intact. There was some panic – people jumping over seats and running towards the doors, but we soon got everyone straightened out and calmed down. There were a lot of people that took leadership roles in little ways. Those sitting at the doors over the wing did a fantastic job…they were opened in a New York second! Everyone worked together – teamed up and in groups to figure out how to help each other. I exited on the starboard side of the plane, 3 or 4 rows behind my seat through a door over the wing and was, I believe, the 10th or 12th person out. I took my seat cushion as a flotation device and once outside saw I was the only one who did….none of us remembered to take the yellow inflatable life vests from under the seat.We were standing in 6-8 inches of water and it was freezing. There were two women on the wing, one of whom slipped off into the water. Another passenger and I pulled her back on and had her kneel down to keep from falling off again. By that point we were totally soaked and absolutely frozen from the icy wind.
The ferries were the first to arrive, and although they’re not made for rescue, they did an incredible job. I know this river, having swum in it as a boy. The Hudson is an estuary – part salt and part fresh water – and moves with the tide. I could tell the tide was moving out because we were tacking slowly south towards Ellis Island, The Statue of Liberty , and The Battery .The first ferry boat pulled its bow up to the tip of the wing, and the first mate lowered the Jacobs ladder down to us. We got a couple people up the ladder to safety, but the current was strong pushing the stern of the boat into the inflatable slide and we were afraid it would puncture it…there must have been 25 passengers in it by now. Only two or three were able to board the first ferry before it moved away.
Another ferry came up, and we were able to get the woman that had fallen into the water on the ladder, but she just couldn’t move her legs and fell off. Back onto the ladder she went; however, the ferry had to back away because of the swift current. A helicopter arrived on station (nearly blowing us all off the wing) and followed the ferry with the woman on the ladder. We lost view of the situation but I believe the helicopter lowered its basket to rescue her. As more ferries arrived, we were able to get people up on the boats a few at a time. The fellow in front of me fell off the ladder and into the water. When we got him back on the ladder he could not move his legs to climb. I couldn’t help him from my position so I climbed up the ladder to the ferry deck where the first mate and I hoisted the Jacobs ladder with him on it…when he got close enough we grabbed his trouser belt and hauled him on deck. We were all safely off the wing. We could not stop shaking. Uncontrollable shaking. The only thing I had with me was my blackberry, which had gotten wet and was not working. (It started working again a few hours later).
The ferry took us to the Weehawken Terminal in NJ where I borrowed a phone and called my wife to let her know I was okay. The second call I made was to Jenn. I knew she would be worried about me and could communicate to the rest of the firm that I was fine. At the terminal, first responders assessed everyone’s condition and sent people to the hospital as needed. As we pulled out of Weehawken my history kicked in and I recall it was the site of the famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in 1804. Thankfully I left town in better condition than Mr. Hamilton who died of a mortal wound the next day! I stayed with my sister on Long Island that evening, then flew home the next day.
I am struck by what was truly a miracle. Had this happened a few hours later, it would have been pitch dark and much harder to land. Ferries would no longer have been running after rush hour and it would not have been the same uplifting story. Surely there would have been fatalities, hypothermia, an absolute disaster! I witnessed the best of humanity that day. I and everyone on that plane survived and have been given a second chance. It struck me that in our work we continuously seek excellence to solve our client’s leadership problems. We talk to clients all the time about the importance of experience and the ability to execute. Experience showed up big time on Flight 1549 as our pilot was a dedicated, trained, experienced professional who executed flawlessly when he had to.
I have received scores of emails from across the firm and I am so grateful for the outpouring of interest and concern. We all fly a great deal or work with someone who does and so I wanted to share this story – the story of a miracle. I am thankful to be here to tell the tale.
There is a great deal to be learned including: Why has this happened to me? Why have I survived and what am I supposed to do with this gift? For me, the answers to these questions and more will come over time, but already I find myself being more patient and forgiving, less critical and judgmental.
For now I have 4 lessons I would like to share:
1. Cherish your families as never before and go to great lengths to keep your promises.
2. Be thankful and grateful for everything you have and don’t worry about the things you don’t have.
3. Keep in shape. You never know when you’ll be called upon to save your own life, or help someone else save theirs.
4. When you fly, wear practical clothing. You never know when you’ll end up in an emergency or on an icy wing in flip flops and pajamas and of absolutely no use to yourself or anyone else.
And I’d like to add: Fly with gray-haired pilots!
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September 15th, 2008 by billfloyd
The City of Decatur along with 9 other local governments throughout the US are acting as pilot sites for a program called “Open City Hall”. The idea behind the project is to provide a way to increase and diversify citizen engagement in important community issues. “Open City Hall” will provide feedback through a specially structured internet-based service that will present position statements followed by “Yes/No” questions and an opportunity to comment.
If it works, we would hope it would augment and diversify civil, civic engagement, and more specifically: (a) facilitate easy and convenient participation in community issues, (b) impede a single voice from dominating the public discourse, and (c) improve the efficiency of decisions makers to synthesize large amounts of diverse feedback.
The goals of this Open City Hall Pilot program are to assess the extent to whether this suite of services can:
Assist local governments in addressing important problems with the key stakeholders;
Increase and diversify the amount of public participation on important community issues;
Augment the tools that government leaders and decision makers use to analyze and synthesize the opinions of citizens; and,
Improve the quality of citizen participation and the public’s perception of government-led decision processes.
We will pilot the program for approximately three-months. There will be a link from www.decaturga.com to the site. We will be able to get reports that synthesize and collate the results and provide a geographic map of responders.
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August 22nd, 2008 by billfloyd
The Governor has demonstrated once again that he apparently doesn’t understand how local governments work, what their purpose is, how their budgets are established, and how the decisions about revenues and expenditures are decided. He seems to be following closely in the footsteps of Speaker Richardson who proved last year, without any doubt, that he doesn’t understand or have a regard for local governments, nor does he care to. The Mayor of Atlanta gets hammered for a shortfall in revenue and she is vilified, but now, less than four months after the Governor signs his approval of the state budget, his revenue estimates are off by almost 2 billion dollars, that’s with a B, and there is no outcry. It looks to me like someone should ask how that happened. Was the economy not in trouble in March? Should not the buck stop at the governor’s desk? But then the governor says it’s not his fault; it’s those incompetent city and county folks who have messed everything up.
The administration strategy has become very clear. Although I’m a little slow, it has now become obvious even to me. They begin to cut, not their expenditures, but the funds they direct to local governments. The focus of those cuts in the last few years has been education, but beginning last year they shifted their focus to all local governments. Case in point, funds they were collecting and returning to our citizens under the homeowner tax relief grant program are now being withheld forcing local governments to either cut more expenses or increase revenues with a tax increase.
How does this work? An example; they cut state funds to education, then when we, as a community, decide we want to keep our Spanish classes or music and arts or whatever, and decide to raise our taxes to compensate for the shortfall, they point the finger at us and announce our budgets are out of control. We are accused of incompetence concerning managing or deciding how we should spend our money. As the Governor stated “(local governments) have never approached it from the standpoint that they have to tighten their belts”. I invite the governor to come to my community, stand in front of our citizens and tell us we don’t know how to manage our budget. We carefully plan our budgets every year and make hard choices, in front of citizens (not in some back office at the capital), about cuts and tax increases. If we get out of alignment with our constituents, there are two opportunities every month (our council meetings) and an election every other year for us as citizens to straighten it out. And we can’t hide in China or on a plane to Spain. Our mayor’s office is out on the street corner.
So I ask the governor to work with us, not blame us. The solutions to our problems are not under the gold dome, they are out here on the streets with us. I ask the Governor to join us in Decatur for a forum to address this divisive approach. Let’s talk, not point fingers.
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August 12th, 2008 by billfloyd
It appears that state revenues for the year will be as much as one billion dollars below projections. Times are hard and we are all struggling and wondering when will it end. So the State of Georgia, with the responsibility to the Governor must find a way to cut expenses. A few years back the state created a program where it would collect taxes from us and redistribute them to local governments (cities and counties) in the form of a Homeowners Tax Relief Grant(HTRG). Great idea. We as homeowners get some relief from property taxes, which incidentally is the major source of revenue (school’s and city) for the City of Decatur. Now how do get this relief? Local governments issue a tax bill with an item shown as HTRG which reduces our tax bills (about $251.96 for me). Most governments in Georgia have already issued tax bills and listed the credits. Local governments get this money from the state by sending a bill later in the year. Now the state says, “Whoops, no money!” so we as a local government will not receive these funds. How much is it for Decatur? General Fund $370,000, Capital Fund $36,000, DDA Fund $14,000 and the school fund $683,000. For the city of Decatur a total of $1,103,000 (estimated for 2008). Now we have already made and approved our budgets so we how do we make up this lost revenue? For Decatur, we have a second bill yet to issue so we remove the credit on our 2nd bill and show it as an increase of (in my case) $251.96, or we have keep the credit and cut services. So, the state makes a choice to cut expenses for lost revenue. Oh no, wait, it was not the state that had to cut services or increase taxes, it was your local government. Pretty easy choice for the governor; just take it from someone else.
Last year we fought hard against a proposal for the state to collect a sales tax and redistribute it to us for property tax with a promise that they would always try hard to keep our revenues at the same level. And we said, “We don’t trust you,” and they wondered why!!!! Some relief program: it’s dropped at the first sign of trouble because it is easy for them to do.
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August 7th, 2008 by billfloyd
Congratulations to Commissioner Burrell Ellis on his victory in Tuesday’s election. I was an active supporter of Commissioner Ellis and believe that he will do an outstanding job as CEO. We had some great candidates this year but I think we, as voters, selected the best for Dekalb. It will certainly be a different type of governing than we have been accustomed to over the last few years. If we are to move this county forward, our focus must be on cooperation and not conflict. Our tax money should be spent on things that improve our quality of life and not on law suits. Since the HOST lawsuit began in 1999 the city has spent over $700,000 of taxpayer money on that particular lawsuit. Someone should ask Dekalb Countyhow much they have spent. I would be willing to wager it has be 4 to 5 times that amount and that is my tax money also. For the past eight years, we as residents of Dekalb have found it difficult to have a meaningful conversation with our top elected official. While we will probably not be able to agree on every issue that comes up, we can agree to talk and we can agree on one thing: we all want a better Dekalb. Dekalb County is a great place to live and work, not in spite of our cities, but because of our cities. Welcome to our new CEO; January can’t get here soon enough. Let’s talk!
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June 18th, 2008 by billfloyd
The 2007-2008 city budget has been adopted and goes into place July 1. While it is a realistic budget and tight, it does allow the city to continue to move toward its goal of a clean, vibrant and active city. There are significant changes in the way we recruit, hire and pay police officers in an effort to reach a fully staffed force. In November the city will make the last payment on the bonds for the conference center and parking deck which will lead to a decision of whether we continue in that business or sell the facilities. The money we collect from the hotel-motel tax goes toward that debt and when the bonds are paid we will install a tourism board so that we can legally continue to collect the tax. The funds will then be used for maintenance and upkeep. There are funds for a marketing study to look for ways that we can support our existing businesses and restaurants. In these tough times we must continue to look for ways to help our local economy. There are some other key items in this year’s budget which I will address later. As tight as this budget is, it continues to put pressure on us financially through property tax. We continue to look for ways to lower our property taxes and one way to help keeps popping up – Annexation. It is obvious and will make a significant difference in all of our property tax bills. More later. I know I haven’t written much lately but that will improve. Thanks for your interest and patience.
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