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Former city manager inducted into Municipal Government Hall of Fame
Edwards in hall of fame
Auburn Mayor and GMA President Linda Blechinger, left, and Tifton Mayor Julie Smith, right, induct former Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards into the Municipal Government Hall of Fame. With Edwards are his grown daughters, Candace Webb, center, and Kallie Breningstall holding Edwards’ infant granddaughter Joli, and Edwards’ granddaughters Adalee, front center, and Cambree, front left.
The Georgia Municipal Association inducted former Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards into the Municipal Government Hall of Fame at the association’s annual convention in Savannah on June 25.
The hall honors municipal officials who exemplify the best in public service, and who, throughout their careers, have contributed to their communities and Georgia’s cities.
Edwards began his career as Hinesville deputy clerk in 1978. The following year, he became city manager, a position he held until his retirement in 2017. During his career of nearly 40 years, he served under six mayors and saw the city’s population grow from 7,800 to more than 35,000.
Under his leadership, Hinesville received statewide attention for becoming one of the first cities along the coast to establish a non-potable reuse line system to dispose of treated wastewater in the absence of a major stream or river big enough to carry it. The end result was a wastewater treatment plant capable of handling the demands of a growing population, while at the same time providing the city with some needed water for landscape irrigation.
Another example of his innovative leadership was the installation of a fire station beneath an existing 2.5 million-gallon water tower. This combined use of a property saved the city the expense of buying additional land for a new fire station.
Recognizing the value of the city’s downtown, Edwards led an effort to develop the city’s downtown redevelopment master plan, which was designed to help encourage new downtown businesses while maintaining the integrity of some of the city’s historic landmarks. He also spearheaded an effort to reactivate the city’s Downtown Development Authority.
During his tenure as city manager, GMA designated the city a City of Ethics, a City of Excellence and was the first city in the state to host a Georgia Department of Community Affairs Quality Growth Resource Team.
“Billy was an outstanding city manager, and in addition he also lent his time, talent and expertise to GMA,” GMA Executive Director Larry Hanson said. “He’s served on the GMA Board of Directors, our insurance and retirement boards, the Federal Policy Council, the City Managers’ Advisory Group and was very involved in GMA policy committees. He also served as a mentor to many colleagues along the way.”
Based in Atlanta, GMA is a voluntary, non-profit organization that provides legislative advocacy, educational, employee benefit and consulting services to its 521 member cities.

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