Greetings people of Douglas, our great city, “always shining bright”. The City of Douglas continues the quest to ensure the citizens of Douglas have a great environment to live, work and play. Over the last few months, I have taken measures to seek out, identify and recognize youth leaders in our community. The youth are our future and should be encouraged to keep Douglas “Always Shining Bright” in state of Georgia. Growing up in Douglas, I know, firsthand, how important it is for community leaders to step up to the plate and foster leadership skills in our youth. The youth of Douglas are vitally important to the future of Douglas. I commend the leaders in our community who are developing, teaching and have become mentors to help our youth exceed their leadership goals. We need more mentors, to be a light for our youth, by taking an active role as investors in our youth, encouraging them on to be their shine their brightest.
On April 9, 2018 during our regular meeting, I am very proud to announce that the City of Douglas will swear in the inaugural Douglas Mayor’s Youth Council. Our youth council, consisting of 14 members, will serve as an advisory council to mayor and commission and will review proposed city ordinances and provide recommendations from a young adult point-of-view.
The youth council will convene monthly to discuss an agenda, in which they will prepare, and will advise back to mayor and commission. Each member has been assigned a title and will carry out a specific task at each of their meetings. The members are: Asia Denning (Junior Mayor), Daisey Surrency (Junior Public Information Officer), Samantha Martin (Junior Commissioner Ward 5), Savannah Cothern (Junior Commissioner Ward 6), Zianna Odom (Junior Commissioner Ward 4), Zaylon Bivens (Junior Commissioner Ward 1), Ashunti Glover (Junior Commissioner Ward 3), Liyah Carswell (Junior Commissioner Ward 2), Ana Escobar (Junior City Manager), Teairra Thrower (Junior City Clerk), Irian Tatum (Junior City Attorney), Avery Hurst (Junior Finance Officer), Journee Wilkerson (Junior Public Information Officer), and Alexis Davis (Junior City Attorney/Junior Finance Officer).
The City of the Douglas has several initiatives to clean up the City. Our efforts to keep our city “shining bright” by a systematic and volunteer approach is working great. First, I am proud to say that one of our first clean-up initiatives, monthly residential “Junk Drop-off” dates has been really successful. On the first Saturday of each month, citizens may bring large debris for disposal at no cost to the citizen. Working together with Waste Industries, this initiative has proven to be successful. Additionally, the City also offers a program of curbside disposal for brown and white goods. Once a pick up date has been scheduled, the citizen is responsible for placing the brown/white good at the curbside of property. The City along with ESG Operations and South Georgia State College will host the Great American Cleanup (GAC) day on April 28, 2018. Each year, on GAC Day, volunteers focus on an area in Douglas that needs cleanup. This year, volunteers will base their cleanup efforts in the South Gaskin and Pinecrest Drive area. Citizens who are pro-active and volunteer for cleanup initiatives are a great asset to our community as they help to keep Douglas “shining bright”.
Our quality of life initiative began over two years ago and focused on cleaning up around personal and business properties. Through our Community Development Department, our Code Enforcement Division is busy enforcing new and existing ordinances. Firstly, overgrown grass, litter around homes, and litter that is left after an eviction, is the property owner’s responsibility. The City is developing an action plan to address unkept vacant properties/lots. Property owners are being held accountable for the upkeep of their rental homes or businesses. Secondly, we are also enforcing an ordinance pertaining to abandoned and/or inoperable vehicles remaining in resident’s yard for an extended period of time. Rusty, old, junked cars do not need to be left in people’s yards. Not only are they an eyesore, but, they can also provide a haven for various nuisance animals. People who have inoperable vehicles in their yards should expect to receive a penalty or face a fine when the Code Enforcement office conducts an inspection. Thirdly, the City is increasing its efforts to address abandoned and/or unlivable residential properties and abandoned and/or fire damaged commercial properties. Once again, City Code Enforcement officers will be issuing fines and penalties for those owners who fail to keep their property to standard. Code Enforcement will keep a record of whether the property owner takes action and cleans up the abandoned building or property. The City recognizes that addressing the aforementioned issues will be challenging; however, we are committed to keeping Douglas shining bright and to ensure we are appealing to those passing through, visiting, and residing in our great city.
Since Douglas has a large rental property environment, we plan to host a Chat-NChew with landlords within our community to develop an action plan to address concerns pertaining to rental properties. The Chat-N-Chews are listening sessions, also known as a Town Hall Meeting, for our leaders to visit neighborhoods of our constituents to directly hear what’s on their minds. Please be sure to continue to check our local media for details on the next Chat-N-Chew, which will combine Wards 2 and 5.
Effective April 1, 2018, the City of Douglas will enact a balanced approach to the electric rate. In the past, the City had a summer and a winter electric rate. Moving forward, the City will have only one electric rate for residential customers. Below is a comparison chart for electric rates during Summer 2017, Winter 2018, and a combined average for the 12 month period. These rates will change once summer rates are initiated.
In closing, with warmer days upon us, please take a moment to do some personal refresher training pertaining to outdoor activities such as boating safety, swimming safety and personal care of yourself and pets during the extreme temperature days. I strongly recommend that you become familiar with all boating safety and regulations and that you also conduct inspections of all equipment such as boats, jet skis, etc. It is my hopes that you, your family, and friends get out and make family memories together as you enjoy all that nature has to offer during this springtime and upcoming summer months.