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Mayors list New Year’s resolutions for cities
New Years Resolutions

Mayor Ronnie Johnston, City of Covington

1. To improve the quality of life opportunities.

     a. Sidewalks

     b.  Trails

     c. Central Park

     d. Gazebo

     e. Improve Exits 90-92

2.  Recruit quality jobs

     a. Improve diversity of job offers.

     b. Improve income of all job classifications.

     c. Add 500 quality jobs.

3. Covington Cares Program

     a.  Expand reading program at all elementary schools.

     b. Expand Community Cleanup days.

     c. Create job training / certification opportunities

     d. Reduce poverty by 2 percent

Mayor Arline Chapman, City of Porterdale

In addition to my own wish list, I contacted the members of the Porterdale City Council for input.  Here is my list of potential accomplishments for 2018.

1. The further development on the bypass of a commercial district to potentially include, over time, chain restaurants, a grocery store and other businesses that would thrive in the high volume traffic area now anchored by The Waffle House.

2. Begin a street-scape beautification program by developing a partnership with city, local businesses and citizen volunteers to provide and maintain greenscapes throughout the city.

3. Publicize the growth in educational opportunities for students and adults that are available in Newton County.   There are innovative programs available that must be promoted along with a plan to transport participants who are restricted by lack of transportation.  This will lead to an available trained workforce and life-changing opportunities.

Mayor Jerry Roseberry, City of Oxford

Quality of life

1.  Oxford will continue to be a city where quality of life is the first metric used to measure proposed development.  Citizen participation and collaboration with Oxford College of Emory University will continue to be an important part of that process.  Several quality of life projects to be completed, in whole or in part, in 2018, involve parks, trees, sidewalks, trails and upgrades to the city’s water and sewer system. 


2.  Oxford’s general fund, which pays for day-to-day operations, is subsidized by the city’s electric fund and while that will continue, it’s important for the city to evaluate its financial sustainability and prepare to adjust its mix of income resources in the future.  Part of the discussion will include expansion of the city’s customer base through additional housing and limited commercial development along with possible changes to the city’s service delivery area. 


3.  Oxford recognizes that it is part of a larger community and, in addition to working with Oxford College of Emory University, it will continue its collaboration with Newton County, the cities of Newton County and the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission in planning for the future.


Mayor Jefferson Riley, City of Mansfield

1. I would like to create some citizen committees, so the Council can have better input from the citizens. We typically only have a few citizens that attend the Council meetings every month. My takeaway from our brief town hall meeting is the Council needs more community involvement. More town hall meetings or meetings where the citizens can have plenty of time to give their input. The Mayor and Council represent the people and we need a regularly scheduled venue for the community to speak.

2. Mansfield desperately needs a revitalization of our downtown. The City Council has discussed several ideas including the City Center Project, however, the actual costs were much higher than we anticipated. We are looking at options that will be more cost effective. It will be up to the citizens and the council to decide on what direction the city takes on this. We have lost or are losing some of our commerce in our downtown. Two businesses have closed in 2017, Sweet Georgia Brown Hair Salon and Mansfield Trading Post, also Blackwell’s Grocery is moving to a new store on Highway 213 (It’s still in Mansfield but not downtown) and Hays Tractor is moving closer to the Interstate on Highway 11. A local investor has purchased two of our old buildings and is in the process of remodeling them. We did have one new restaurant open in 2017, Roosters and it is doing very well. We are beginning to get calls from interested investors.

3. We have been in talks with the City of Newborn for over a year about establishing a joint law enforcement department. With so much growth rapidly headed to East Newton County, we need to be prepared to protect our communities from what comes with that growth. Getting this department set up and running should be a top priority for both cities in 2018.

Mayor Hal Dally,  City of Social Circle

1 – I would like to continue to recruit industry for better jobs for Social Circle and the region and continue to work with Walton County and Newton County development authorities.

2- I would like to continue working on the downtown area of Social Circle to improve the quality of life and provide the types of businesses and amenities that the citizens want

3 – I would like to continue improving the working relationship between all the cities and county government in both Walton and Newton counties. 

After multiple attempts to contact, Newborn Mayor Gregg Ellwanger did not respond by press time.