Editor: The theme for National County Government Month for 2017 is "Brilliant Ideas at Work." This theme could easily have been written to acknowledge the new momentum in Liberty County. The strategic teamwork framed by county, city, business, civic and lay leaders was rewarded with the successful passing of our SPLOST referendum. These SPLOST projects, comprehensive by design, will touch every area of the county. The cost of the much needed capital and road projects can now shift from the property owners to all who shop in Liberty County.
Additionally, what better time to have this SPLOST in place than to coincide with the opening of Oglethorpe Square Shopping Center? This public-private partnership is another example of "Brilliant Ideas at Work." Once completed, this center will offer more than 200 jobs, thousands of dollars in new property taxes and millions of dollars in sales taxes over a six year term. Not to mention great shopping and dining opportunities for the region! Already there is land clearing and property negotiations for new commercial ventures at the adjacent properties along the bustling 84 corridor. Can somebody say Buffalo Wild Wings, Krispy Cream and Cook Out?
During our recent county planning workshop it was refreshing and inspiring to hear the Coastal Regional Commission staff announce they use Liberty County as a model for other communities to do county planning. I am glad to say this year’s session was no disappointment to the process. Always a highlight of the session, each entity shared a "report card" of their year’s activities. Whether verbal or by power point evidence of brilliant ideas and proud accomplishments flowed throughout the room. Then, in a very short time we transitioned from individual entity projects to the identification of a plethora of "brilliant ideas" for the overall good of the county. A quick exercise in the democratic process easily led to the overwhelmingly supported top 4 projects: Census 2020, TSPLOST, youth summer programs and a new health department. Once again brilliant ideas rose to the top. We now had our marching orders and focus for the next year(s). A community "report out" is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. April 27 at the Hinesville branch of the Live Oak Library to allow local citizens to witness the presentation, followed by a question and answer session.
A 2016 article in Georgia Trend Magazine made this statement:
"Research has proven that communities that equally invest in community development, economic development and leadership development are the ones that experience sustainable growth and have vibrant economies."
In review of the commitment of the annual planning by Liberty County leaders, the numerous successfully completed projects and the expected impact of the top four recently selected projects, the article could easily have referenced Liberty County.
If we continue to develop brilliant ideas that are brought to fruition, we will experience sustainable growth and remain a vibrant community of which we can all be "Liberty County Proud."
Chairman, Liberty County