Fulton County is a big deal and getting bigger because everything is here in the county.
“The day will soon come when there is a casino and horse racing in Fulton County as well as a professional cricket arena, and Fulton County will be the future home of the Grammy Hall of Fame and will be a bridge to trade with nations like India and Qatar,” Fulton Board of Commissioners chair Robb Pitts said.
Throughout his May 7 State of the County Address to about 400 individuals, including elected officials and other guests at Flourish in Buckhead, Pitts continually emphasized the theme that Fulton is a big deal and getting bigger.
Prior to the start of his address, Pitts paid tribute to former District 6 Commissioner Emma Darnell, who died May 5 of an undisclosed illness.
“My longtime friend and colleague, Commissioner Emma I. Darnell, dedicated her life to public service, including 27 years on the Fulton County Board of Commissioners,” he said.
Following that tribute, Pitts’ address centered on the success and accomplishments of the county, citing such services as health care, education, criminal justice and business.
“Everything is here in Fulton County,” he said. “When I walk out in front of the Fulton County Government Center, in a matter of minutes I can be at one of the premier sporting venues in the United States, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, or at the State Farm Arena. And going a few steps to the east, I can be at the state capital, federal government offices or the Atlanta City Hall,” he said.
With regard to customer service, Pitts said the county “is in the people business, not just bricks and mortar.”
“Senior services, healthcare, job development, arts, libraries and criminal justice; these are the things we do each and every day,” he said. “You may not know it, but more babies are born at Northside Hospital than at any other hospital in the nation.”
He also said Fulton is a proud partner of the Grady Health System, investing $60 million this year in it.
“In addition, we have approved more than $80 million in bonds for Grady’s new surgical center, which will add to the number of patients Grady will serve each year,” Pitts said.
With regard to education, Pitts again emphasized that in the county, “education is a big deal for the county’s children as we have world-class schools, both public and private, from pre-K through Ph.D.”
Criminal justice is another “big deal” in the county, as the chairman said the county not only runs two jails but has the busiest court system in the Southeast.
Pitts also revealed that the county is not only finalizing a trade mission to India, “but we will be hosting the ambassador from Qatar in the next few months.”
“Today as I stand before you, unfortunately, Fulton County is the only one of the three largest counties in Georgia with no elected representation on The ATL board, and that must change,” he said, referring to the 13-county transit organization that includes MARTA.
Despite all its accomplishments, Pitts said, the county still has its problems with sex trafficking, opioids and HIV/AIDS.
“We are making strides to end sex trafficking in our community, but with regard to HIV/AIDS, the state of Georgia, the county of Fulton and the city of Atlanta still lead the nation in new cases of HIV/AIDS,” he said. “Simply put, the continuation of this epidemic is unacceptable and must be stopped.”