It goes without saying that this has been a challenging year for all of us. As we reach the halfway point, there’s reason to be optimistic that we’ll come out of this year stronger and more united than we went into it, as individuals, families and as a community. As a city government, we’ve been working harder than ever to fulfill our regular responsibilities to our citizens and keep the city moving forward while we grapple with coronavirus, the closure of schools and businesses, and the aftermath of several racially-charged killings, including one much too close to home. A lot of what’s happened has been talked about at length, and some of it has gone almost unnoticed. So, for these next few paragraphs, I want to say thank you to some people who have been instrumental in keeping Tucker successful in a variety of aspects.
For the better part of four months now, we’ve been battling the coronavirus pandemic. My own background is in business and economic development, not public health, epidemiology or medical research. Because of that, I early on assembled a task force of people who live here in Tucker who could advise me on how the City should respond to coronavirus. Professionally, these people touch all parts of the issue. They were generous with their time and it was comforting to get advice from such brilliant minds. On their advice, we have enacted several executive orders, modified guidelines for our city staff, and distributed almost 13,000 medical grade masks to businesses and residents in our community. Their work on the task force isn’t done, but I’m grateful for what they’ve done for Tucker so far.
Next, I want to thank all of the people who have made their voices heard surrounding issues of social justice. It was eye-opening to me to talk with people young and old at rallies and other events, hear their stories and what they think can be done to bring about positive change. I had the privilege of working with our DeKalb County Police and our City Council on a resolution to encourage Georgia lawmakers and lawmakers at the federal level to pass hate crimes legislation. I also want to thank the citizens who organized and participated in five separate days of public demonstrations with a positive message in favor of loving, valuing and respecting all members of our community back in the first half of June. It was a privilege to be a part of a powerful example of a grassroots force for good.
And, as always, I want to call out our city staff professionals who have continued to diligently perform their duties under the most difficult conditions, but always putting Tucker’s citizens first. We have managed to keep open or re-open almost every aspect of our park facilities now, and I believe it has contributed significantly to the physical and mental health of our community. Our city engineer and his team have worked very quietly over the past couple months to resurface almost 80 roads throughout the City, while also making progress on two critically important sidewalk projects, downtown and on Henderson Road. Our finance department led us through a four-month budget process, creating a budget that is not only balanced, but creates a range of contingencies that will keep us financially healthy through our next fiscal year regardless of potential economic developments. We have re-opened court for offenses and code enforcement, re-started the regular meetings of our various boards and commissions, and held Council meetings in which the public was able to fully participate despite all the restrictions on gathering. And the fact that you’re reading this is just one reminder of the excellent work being done by our communications department throughout these difficult times. A sincere thanks is due to every member of Team Tucker.
The important work of our city is never done and I’m certain that new issues loom on the horizon. The fact that we have learned, grown, and adjusted as people, families, and as a community gives me confidence that whatever comes our way, Tucker will be not only able to handle it, but to gain from the experience. Let’s keep our eyes and our spirits looking ahead. That’s the Tucker way.