Mayors give review, look to future

By Chris Bridges - The walton tribune

Loganville Mayor Skip Baliles gives some off the cuff remarks during his State of the C­ities address. Photo credit: The Walton Tribune

Growth was a buzzword during the State of the Cities address by local mayors.

Held during the Walton County Chamber of Commerce October luncheon last Thursday, five mayors and one vice-mayor gave updates on their municipalities while also looking to the future.

Loganville Mayor Skip Baliles said there were 424 building permits issued in 2021 up from only 29 in 2012. Through the first nine months of 2022, the city has used 329 permits, the first-term mayor said.

Baliles said one question city officials are dealing with is where to put the new library. The new facility will need to be on 2.5 acres.

Loganville has also welcomed film crews to the city in recent months and is expecting them to return.

Monroe mayor John Howard said “growth is occurring” in his city and “you all can see it.”

Monroe has benefited from a new water plant and new water tanks.

“We are looking to grow smart,” Howard said. “We want people who want to be in Monroe and help us be better.”

Howard also proudly pointed out statistics which show no increase in violent crimes and a deduction in “petty crimes.”

Social Circle Mayor David Keener said numerous new businesses were opening or have opened in his city. The population sits officially at 4,974 but that figure could be above the 5,000 mark.

Walnut Grove Mayor Mark Moore is new to city politics but said challenges are being met. A new 220-acre park is in the works. Moore said he appreciated cooperation among the mayors in Walton.

Between Vice Mayor Wanda Satterwhite and Good Hope Mayor Randy Garrett both bragged on the small town feel of their cities.

Garrett said a favorite saying is “everything is gooder in Good Hope.” 

“We like consistent, quality growth,” Garrett said. “We like being a small, rural town.”

“I am proud to be a part of Walton County working with other elected officials,” Satterwhite said during her remarks.

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