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Tucker continues making infrastructure improvements after taking over services from DeKalb

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Tucker continues making infrastructure improvements after taking over services from DeKalb

FILE PHOTO FROM MARCH 11, USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: Bottom photo L to R: City Manager John McHenry, Council member Alexis Weaver, Council member Cara Schroeder, Council member Roger Orlando, Mayor Frank Auman, Council member Amy Trocchi, Council member Vinh Nguyen, Community Development Director Courtney Smith

Tucker, GA — Since Tucker formed a Public Works department and took over road and stormwater maintenance from DeKalb County last July, ongoing infrastructure improvements have become a regular feature of city council meetings. 

The March 25 work session was no exception. The city made changes to an oversight agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation, amended a trail contract, and awarded three contracts related to stormwater maintenance and repair.

The city approved two memorandums of understanding with GDOT and the Tucker Summit Community Improvement District concerning oversight of the improvement project for Hugh Howell Road at Mountain Industrial Boulevard. This project has itself frequently appeared on the city council’s agenda.

GDOT has exceeded its budget for overseeing the project and requested $20,000 from the city. $10,000 will come from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) account for the road improvements and $10,000 from Tucker Summit CID.

The city also approved a contract amendment in the amount of $52,165 for the engineering design of the Hugh Howell Road Trail Phase 2 due to the need for a hydrology study and designing around more utilities than expected.

City Engineer Ted Baggett said the hydrology study is necessary to design better drainage along the trail, which will also benefit the houses nearby.

In addition, the city awarded two stormwater repair contracts for Bonaparte Lane and Silversmith Lane to CAJENN, in the amount of $47,886 and $90,988 respectively. The city also awarded a contract for video inspection and cleaning of stormwater conduits at eight locations throughout the city in the amount of  $95,825.

This year, stormwater fees represent a $1.2 million addition to the report on interim finances that Finance Director Beverly Hilton offered at the city council meeting. Hilton said that to give comparable numbers, she used snapshots from fiscal year-to-date numbers from the last four years. Over that period, the YTD revenue for the city’s general fund has risen overall from $12.4 million to $19.7 million. General fund expenditures have remained well below revenues and expenditures for the city through February 28, 2024 are $9.6 million.

Since the fiscal year started in July, Tucker has spent $1.2 million on stormwater improvements and $4 million on SPLOST-funded projects, including road improvements.

Meanwhile, in addition to efforts to attract new businesses, the city is also trying to attract visitors. Discover DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO James Tsismanakis offered a presentation about the tourism marketing that the organization does for the city of Tucker, which is funded by the hotel and motel tax. 

Tsismanakis said that despite hotel occupancy being down, tax revenues have remained relatively steady because hotels are not dropping their prices as they might have in the past. 

Tsismanakis said that Discover DeKalb represents the county as a whole and several other cities as well as Tucker, promoting not only events like Tucker Restaurant Week, but other draws to the area that are less obvious, like lacrosse match-ups, motorcoach tours, and family reunions.

“[DeKalb is] the family reunion capital of the South,” Tsismanakis said.

In response to a question from council member Alexis Weaver, Communications Director Sonja Szubski said that her staff designs promotional materials for events, and Discover DeKalb distributes them throughout the county to attract DeKalb residents from outside of Tucker to city events. 

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