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Strides, setbacks mark county's 2012
by Mary Cosgrove
December 27, 2012 02:52 PM | 1413 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As the year closes out, looking back at 2012 shows many highlights for Henry County, but the year was not without a few pitfalls, either. The Neighbor took a look at the year and selected some of the largest highs and lows:

DEVELOPMENTS

DeWafelbakkers had its ribbon cutting in July. The frozen waffle and pancake manufacturer located on Declaration Drive is expected to create 240 jobs and bring $27.5 million to the county during the next three years.

The county broke ground on its new transit facility in June, and recently had the grand opening for the 5,035-square-foot facility, which is anticipated to meeting the growing needs for in-county transportation.

Fire Station No. 9 opened on Rock Quarry Road in Stockbridge in July.

The county also had the grand opening for its new Emergency Operations Center this summer. The $4.9 million facility is located on Industrial Boulevard.

The Henry County Airport is moving forward with a 1,000-foot runway extension. Coupled with a 25-foot widening, the runway will be able to land larger planes, such as corporate jets.

BUDGET

Facing a $12.5 million decline in its tax digest, the county raised its property taxes from 13.595 mills to 14.5 mills. In June, the commissioners adopted the county’s $115.5 million general fund budget, which included four furlough days for employees.

POLITICS

The county commission saw a waterfall of turnovers at the beginning of the year when county manager James Butch Sanders resigned from his post. It was filled in February by District 2 Commissioner Fred Auletta. His unexpired term was filled through the appointment of District 2 Board of Education member Brian Preston, who later won the new term for the seat in July. Elizabeth “B.J.” Mathis’ bid for a second term as commission chairman was unsuccessful, as former Hampton mayor Tommy Smith beat her in the August runoff. District 1 Commissioner Warren Holder lost his bid for re-election to political newcomer Bo Moss and District 3, which was left open when incumbent Randy Stamey did not seek re-election, was won by Gary Barham.

Stockbridge Mayor Lee Stuart was recently ousted from office by city council after facing several allegations that he violated the city charter. Allegations included releasing confidential information and attempted monitoring of city email accounts.

Most regrettably, the city of Hampton lost its leader, Mayor Raiford Walker “R.W.” Coley, 77, who died in October after succumbing to a battle with pneumonia. The longtime Hampton resident served the city for seven years.

PARTNERSHIPS

Henry Medical Center became Henry Piedmont Hospital in January, after a year’s work between the hospital and Piedmont Healthcare.

Henry County School’s Academy for Advanced studies, a dual enrollment partnership between the school system and Southern Crescent Technical College, Clayton State University and Gordon State College is slated for a fall 2013 opening.
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