By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Bell, Boff come aboard
Economy, water among issues facing officials
patrick bell 2008
Probate Judge Lynwood Jordan, far right, swears in Forsyth County Commissioner-elect Patrick Bell on Monday. With Bell are wife Amy and son Clayton. - photo by Jim Dean

The Forsyth County commission welcomed two new members during a swearing-in ceremony Monday.

Patrick Bell and Jim Boff, whose four-year terms begin Thursday, spoke in excited tones prior to the event.

Boff said he planned to "bring an honest and open opinion" to the board, while Bell said he would stress the importance of "teamwork and professionalism."

Bell, who unseated District 4 Commissioner David Richard in the July 15 Republican primary, said working with other local government entities will be a priority.

"We can't continue to work autonomously," Bell said. "We just won't get anywhere. I get very frustrated with the battle we seem to pick with everybody."

Bell, whose district covers most of north Forsyth, said the county should try to work with Cumming and state officials, as well as the local school system, to "share some of the burden."

Bell and Boff attended a county commissioners' school together with 160 other first- or second-term officials in Rome the week of Dec. 4. Boff said it was "a very good learning experience."

Boff defeated Julie Tressler in the Aug. 5 runoff election for the District 5 post held by Linda Ledbetter, who chose not to seek re-election. The district includes Cumming and much of eastern Forsyth.

Boff said attending commission meetings and work sessions has been a valuable tool in understanding the issues facing the board. He's also been "boning up on the [unified development code]."

The code, known as the UDC, represents a comprehensive revision of the county's zoning and subdivision regulations and will address growth and development issues.

"Stuff happens fast around Forsyth County," Boff said. "You think you're up to speed one minute and then you find out things have changed."

Boff said among the biggest difficulties of being a commissioner is "trying to fathom what the economy is going to do."

Bell agreed the economy will present challenges.

"We've got such a tight budget we're going to have to work with," Bell said. "That's why I say we're going to have to work to get along better with other local leaders."

Boff said water remains the most important issue in Forsyth County, chiefly "where we're going to get it from and how we're going to get it, how much we're going to get and how we'll distribute it."

"It is the single most important thing," he said.

Bell said the goal that holds the most significance to him is "maintaining the level of service our citizens are used to with the reduction of revenue." Jump-starting economic development will be key.

"We have to bring businesses and jobs to Forsyth County," Bell said.

Probate Court Judge Lynwood Jordan swore in both men Monday afternoon, as well as second-term Commissioner Brian Tam, who held off three challengers to win re-election in the July 15 Republican primary.