As we prepare for the upcoming Legislative Session, let’s not be timid in advocating the basic home rule tenant that local officials are in the best position to make local decisions affecting the everyday health and welfare of their residents.
Georgia’s hotels are partners in the economic health of Georgia’s cities. The hotel/motel tax provides a foundation for a partnership between Georgia’s local governments and Georgia’s lodging industry.
Think of an industry that when cultivated and sustained, automatically creates jobs, improves quality of life, generates economic development and can completely revitalize a community. That industry exists, and it is tourism.
The key for us to continue to move forward in our respective cities, even with the uncertainty that comes with the election of new city officials, is to understand that rather than a top-down approach to governing, a collaborative environment is essential.
They are also great economic engines, bringing tourist dollars to local businesses. Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites have an annual economic impact of $562 million and create more than 8,000 jobs.
Loyalty and passion are what we all want for the communities we serve. Loyalty is best described as residents’ general satisfaction with a place, the likelihood to recommend it to others and their outlook on the community’s future. Passion, in this sense, is best described as a connection to a place and the pride taken living there. Local Parks and Recreation play a key role in achieving these outcomes.
The energy is still around us and the meeting of leadership to guide your association continues to amaze me. The 2015 Annual Convention featured a new format, a new approach to our educational classes and energized sessions throughout. The immediate feedback has been very positive from the membership.
Those initiatives and endeavors that make the most lasting and powerful impact on the life of our communities are those that are based in a spirit of collaboration.
Great places have great art. Art can establish a community’s identity. Can you image New Orleans without jazz? Chicago without the “Bean?” Or Paris without just about everything that makes it so great? These places—and so many more—are inextricably linked to their arts.
If your city had a new construction company move to town, this would be good news—more jobs, more economic activity and more tax revenues to be collected. How about if your city received funding from your state to widen a road? Again, you would probably welcome this news with open arms. Now, think about a new arts organization moving to town. Would you look at this group with the same economic lens that you used to look at the construction or transportation business?
After more than 20 years in office, I’ve learned that being a leader isn’t about power or the attention that comes with being elected to political office. It’s much more pragmatic than that. As civic leadership expert Otis White recently wrote, “A leader is someone who helps people get where they want to go ... by seeing the opportunity for getting there.” If we look through that lens, I believe GMA exemplifies that type of leadership.
Georgia’s private, not-for-profit colleges are valuable partners with communities across this great state. Not only do these colleges and universities educate more than 76,000 diverse students, many come from other states and nations. The importing of students to Georgia brings welcome dollars to local businesses. But, that’s not the only way private colleges boost local economies.
We live in an ever-changing world, with technology advancing and shaping society and our place within it. It’s not unusual these days to “discover” some new technology only to have it become obsolete as soon as you figure out how to use it! So within that framework, it is good to know that some things don’t change.
Since its inception in 1999, the Georgia Cities Foundation (GCF) has strived to serve as a catalyst for downtown revitalization. Our goal has been to promote economically sustainable projects and to build public-private partnerships that will help ensure the long-term health and economic vitality of Georgia’s downtown areas.
People, regardless of their demographic or socioeconomic standing, or whether they live in large cities, suburbs, or small rural towns, are looking locally for those ideas and solutions that “improves quality-of-life for themselves and their communities.”