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Mayor's monthly minutes for June 2018: Saving money and being energy efficient – what a way to keep Douglas “always shining bright”

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Mayor Tony Paulk DouglasNow.com file photo Mayor Tony Paulk

As the Mayor of Douglas, I am happy to share how the City of Douglas is striving to continue ensuring the citizens of Douglas is a great environment to live, work, and play. This month, we have a new initiative that is launching for our utility customers, the recreation department is offering summer programs for our youth, and our new Douglas-Coffee County Teen Court begins.

Douglas Utilities employees have been working diligently to prepare for improvements that will move Douglas into the 21st century with our services. We began earlier last year with the addition of the SMART grid for our utility customers. We are beginning to implement Utility Hawk. Simply put – we are giving our customers the power to regulate their utility usage.

Utility Hawk is an online program that allows customers access to a portal that will show real-time utility usage at their home or business. Customers will be able to create a free account and receive information about their usage – water, electric, and gas. This is a great tool to save our customers money and allow control of usage. Utility Hawk will improve customer service and consumer engagement by enabling customers to see an estimate of their bill and perform a host of other valuable functions. Additionally, customers will be able to sign up to receive a text message, email, or phone call alert if consumption indicates a possible leak or abnormal usage. If a customer’s consumption appears to look as if consumption will exceed the set threshold, an automatic alert will be sent out. We are empowering customers to take charge and make decisions on their utility usage. By using the Utility Hawk Customer Portal, citizens will know about their leaks before costly damages, see how much usage is taking place by the hour, set limits on their account, and allow alerts to be sent to them. Saving money and being energy efficient – what a way to keep Douglas “always shining bright”!

Summer is upon us and our children are out of school. Normally in the summer months, juvenile crimes go up because children are bored and have “nothing to do”. I encourage parents to take advantage of camps that are offered in our community. We have camps through the Recreation Department, Boys & Girls Club, Wiregrass Technical College and First Baptist Church – just to name a few! Now is the time to take a few minutes and review summer safety with your child. Far too many children drown over the summer months. The Recreation Department offers swimming lessons throughout June and July. Leaving children at home alone during the summer is not an easy decision. Parents, please make every effort to keep our children safe during these summer months by providing a safe environment. Make sure your child is mature enough to be left alone and encourage them to check in with you throughout the day.

The Douglas-Coffee County Teen Court is a program I am excited about! This is a program that gives our youth the power to make good decisions after making a bad choice. First time offenders, who have committed misdemeanor offenses and who recognize the error of their ways and desire a second chance, can participate in the program. After completing the 90 day program, the offense will not be on the juvenile’s record. Stopping our youth from committing incidences and escalations of breaking the law is the goal of the program. This program is amazing – the entire court excluding the Judge is made up of youth volunteers. What a way to involve our youth. Juveniles making difference in another’s life – by offering a second chance to one of their peers.

It’s time for Douglas to “shine bright” and become passionate about our youth. I want to spread this passion to other leaders in other communities. We have to instill leadership qualities in our youth and guide them so they make wholesome decisions to keep Douglas “Always Shining Bright” in the state of Georgia. Encouraging and mentoring our youth will keep Douglas “always shining bright”.

In closing, remember to continue to cleanup around our homes and businesses. I want to see citizens take full advantage and participate in our monthly junk cleanup. It is coming up Saturday, June 2, from 8:30 a.m.-Noon at the City Pole Yard. This is FREE to Douglas citizens and a fantastic initiative to show that we want to keep our neighborhoods “always shining bright”!

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