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Athens-Clarke County names Leisure Services Director

Athens-Clarke County names Leisure Services Director

The following is a statement from the Athens-Clarke County government...  Manager Blaine Williams has named Kent Kilpatrick as the Leisure Services Director for the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County. Kilpatrick has served as the Interim Director for Leisure Services since June 2016, when former director Pam Reidy resigned for a position with another community. He has worked continuously for the local government since 1987, initially as Outdoor Recreation Manager with the former Clarke County Parks Department, which became the Athens-Clarke County Arts and Environmental Education Department after the City of Athens and Clarke County unified in 1991. The Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department formed in 1996 from the former Recreation and Parks Department and the Arts and Environmental Department. Kilpatrick has served Leisure Services Department as Internal Services Administrator since that time, also serving as Interim Director on three separate occasions over the years. “Leisure Services touches the lives of so many residents and visitors to our community in an unbelievable variety of ways,” said Manager Blaine Williams. “Kent has proven over his many years of service in this field for our community to be completely dedicated to the mission of the Leisure Services Department to build a healthier and more livable Athens-Clarke County. I believe that he will provide exceptional leadership as we continue to provide high-quality services and programs our community expects, while also expanding and improving our facilities and offerings throughout the community.” Kilpatrick holds a Bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Recreation from the University of West Georgia. He is also a Certified Park and Recreation Professional by the National Recreation and Park Association. Prior to joining Clarke County in 1987, Kilpatrick worked for Lockheed Martin in Marietta, Georgia for four years as a Recreation Programmer to coordinate employee athletic and recreation programs. 'I am thrilled and honored to be appointed as the newest director for the Leisure Services Department,' said Kilpatrick. 'We have great employees, an extensive volunteer and community support system, and an exceptional variety of facilities and programs, with more on the way. I'm excited about the future of our department and the continued opportunity to serve this community.' The Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department's mission is to build a healthier and more livable community by providing opportunities to learn, to create, and to play in quality parks, programs and facilities that are valued by Athens-Clarke County citizens. The department had over 16,000 program participants in Fiscal Year 2017 and maintains over 2,000 acres, as well as 17 park playgrounds, 35 athletic fields, and 40 miles of trails, among other amenities. It was recently awarded the Georgia Recreation and Park Association's District 7 Agency of the Year for the second time in four years in its population category.  For more information on the Leisure Services Department, visit www.athensclarkecounty.com/leisure or call 706-613-3800.

Jobs coming to Gwinnett County

Jobs coming to Gwinnett County

New jobs will be coming to Gwinnett County.  A risk management solutions firm is expanding its operations in Gwinnett County. Assurant will create 335 new jobs and invest $2.2 million in a technical support center in Duluth

UGA economists forecast good 2018

UGA economists forecast good 2018

Georgia's economy will match its performance last year, propelled by economic development projects, solid population growth and a housing recovery, according to the economic forecast from the University of Georgia Terry College of Business. 'At this late stage of the economic expansion, the outlook for Georgia is surprisingly good,' said Terry College Dean Benjamin C. Ayers (pictured) at UGA's 35th annual Georgia Economic Outlook. 'The main factors that contributed to growth over the last few years will continue to do so in 2018.' Georgia's growth rate will outpace the national average in 2018, he said. The state's employment will rise by 2 percent, nearly twice the 1.1 percent gain expected for the nation, and the personal incomes of Georgians will grow by 5.8 percent, higher than the national average of 5.5 percent. Ayers delivered the forecast, prepared by the college's Selig Center for Economic Growth, to an audience of about 600 business leaders, government officials and chamber delegates at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta. Following the event, the Georgia Economic Outlook series will tour the state, visiting eight cities to deliver local, state and national forecasts. The schedule and ticket information are available at terry.uga.edu/eo. The complete Georgia Economic Outlook forecast is available for purchase online at terry.uga.edu/selig. 'We believe Georgia will be one of the most successful states when it comes to landing economic development projects. Our state will have available workers and our workforce development programs rank as the best in the nation,' Ayers said. 'Another factor that will pay off in 2018 and beyond is the state's emphasis on targeted workforce training. The state of Georgia is building highly specialized workforce training centers designed to increase the supply of skilled workers, which, in turn will attract businesses in targeted industries.' Georgia's unemployment rate will fall below 5 percent, slightly higher than the U.S. jobless rate of 4.1 percent-and every metro area in the state will add jobs, Ayers said. 'The fastest job growth will occur in construction, followed by professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, education and health services, and wholesale trade,' he said. 'Positive, but slow job growth will occur in utilities, information and government.' Larger shipments in Georgia's ports and its increasingly important role as a logistics and distributions center, will help the state realize a 3.2 percent GDP increase, a notch above the national average of 2.5 percent, Ayers said. 'Transportation and logistics will gain from the continuing recovery of construction because construction is one of the most transportation-intensive sectors of the economy,' he said. 'Georgia's manufacturing activity will upshift in 2018, providing yet another tailwind to transportation and logistics firms.' Aided in part by the migration of about 109,000 people to the state, Georgia's population will grow by 1.5 percent in 2018, outpacing the nation's 0.7 percent growth. Georgia's housing market will also be a force for economic vitality, with single-family home starts rising by 16 percent and single-family home prices up 4 percent, on average, over last year, Ayers said. However, not all the news is positive. 'Even though we expect economic growth for Georgia, the economy is operating in either the late-middle or late stage of the current economic expansion,' Ayers said. 'That alone does not mean a recession is imminent. Still, we believe that excesses are developing in both the financial markets and the labor markets, which makes the overall economy increasingly vulnerable to the unexpected shock or policy mistake.' Those risks include interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, a slowdown in multifamily home purchases, uncertainty over health care, global effects from Chinese financial turmoil and geopolitical tensions. Ayers was joined on stage by Dennis Lockhart, former president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, who delivered the national forecast. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, author of the Economic Outlook report and director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth, said he expects solid economic growth for the nation as a whole. 'In 2018, consumer spending, gross private domestic investment, and industrial production will contribute to U.S. GDP growth. In addition, government spending will be a positive factor in terms of GDP growth,' he said. 'The Federal Reserve's monetary policy stance will switch from stimulating to essentially neutral.' In addition, Humphreys expects small businesses across the nation to expand, thanks to increased business and government spending, a hike in exports and the addition of many projects to repair and rebuild properties damaged by recent hurricanes. The Georgia Economic Outlook series is the largest outreach program hosted by the Terry College of Business. For 35 years, it has been the premier forecasting event in the state of Georgia.

Some highlights from the final Republican tax reform bill

After officially releasing the final details on Friday night, Republicans in Congress set votes for next week in the House and Senate on a sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code, as GOP leaders expressed confidence that they would have the votes to pass the first major tax reform package since 1986.

“This is what the American people have been waiting for: more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan.

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is now only two votes and a signature away from becoming the law of the land,” Ryan added, as Republicans said a [More]