Gwinnett approves $1.7B county budget with a public safety emphasis

3:35 p.m Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 Local
Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash during a 2016 meeting. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Gwinnett’s Board of Commissioners approved Tuesday the county’s 2018 budget.

The nearly $1.7 billion budget, first proposed by Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash in late November, includes money to extend recent pay raises given to county employees and law enforcement personnel.

Nash and her fellow commissioners approved in October a surprise resolution that gave a 3 percent pay raise to all county employees — plus an additional 4 percent increase to sworn employees of the county police department, sheriff’s office, department of corrections and 911 center. The new budget leaves those raises in place through 2018.

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Overall, Gwinnett’s 2018 budget is about 7 percent higher than it was in 2017.

“I think we funded the things that are most critical,” Nash said.

The budget was approved by a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Tommy Hunter, who joined the meeting via phone after suffering a health scare over the weekend, was the lone “no” vote. He offered no explanation for his decision.

The budget includes funding for 152 new positions throughout the county — roughly two-thirds of which will go to public safety agencies.

Sixty-six new positions will be created at the Gwinnett County Police Department, many of which will be set aside to help staff a new precinct planned in the Grayson area. The Gwinnett County fire department will get funding for 36 new positions, jobs that will be used to staff new medical units at stations 27 and 30 — the only two stations in the county without such units.

New positions will also be created in the county’s community services; planning and development; water and sewer; and IT departments. Many of the new jobs being created are making up for positions left unfilled during the Great Recession, officials have said.

The budget also includes millions of dollars to maintain and upgrade the county’s water system — as well as funding for a $30 million “water innovation center” being planned at the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center.

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