BREAKING
Confirmed COVID-19 cases pass 100 in Forsyth County, 10,000 total in Georgia
Eight more cases of COVID-19 were reported from Forsyth County on Thursday by the Georgia Department of Public Health.
Full Story
By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Cumming Police Department awards and more from this week’s city council meeting
Cumming Police Department
Cumming Police Cheif David Marsh recently handed out the officer of the year award to Tracy See-Holbrook. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

Awards for police officers for their efforts over the last year, an annexation for Northside Hospital Forsyth and a change to the city’s 2019 budget were among items discussed at the Cumming City Council’s last meeting of the year.

All items were approved 5-0 unless otherwise noted.


Cumming’s Finest 

Cumming Police Chief David Marsh handed out a pair of awards to two officers for their work in 2019.

Marsh presented the department’s lifesaving award to Officer Shaw Bowman, who Marsh said earned the award when responding to a medical call after a woman was found unresponsive from a drug overdose. Marsh said his actions “undoubtedly saved the life of this individual.”

“Officer Bowman had recently been through medical training class with Sgt. [Tony] Hodgkins and recognized the signs of a potential drug overdose victim,” Marsh said. “He very quickly administered a dose of Narcan, which is a medicine designed to combat the effects of opiate overdose. The medicine appeared to have some effect, and he continued first aid and found the woman was still in crisis.

“Officer Bowman administered a second dose of Narcan, which served to recover her even further. He continued his care for her until an ambulance arrived on the scene.”

The second award of the evening was officer of the year award, which was given to Officer Tracy See-Holbrook.

Marsh said commended her for her compassion, her work calming and reassuring children during difficult situations and her respect from the department and said she was “an officer who has shown time and time again through her actions that she cares more about the needs of others than she does about her own desires.”

“Throughout her career, Tracy Holbrook has shown a true desire to help others, and this year, in particular, she’s done a remarkable job outside of her normal duties to help,” he said. “Officer Holbrook was tasked with all of the planning and scheduling for staff and volunteers during the annual Cumming Fair, and the city received many compliments on the law enforcement presence and visibility throughout the event.

“She has helped organize and participate in the blanket drive for low-income seniors in Forsyth County, and was recently featured in many media news outlets.”


Better than expected 

Though the 2020 budget was recently approved by the city council, city leaders had approved a change to the 2019 budget.

“We exceeded our projected revenue this year by $623,900,” said City Administrator Phil Higgins. “Therefore, a budget amendment is needed to balance the 2019 budget.”

The 2019 budget was balanced at $14.3 million. The expected expenditures and revenues for the 2020 budget are balanced at $14,235,356, down from 2019 and the amended 2018 budget of about $15.1 million.


Paving the way

The city of Cumming received four bids for a paving project for the Forsyth Central High School parking lot at the upcoming Cumming City Center but leaders decided not to approve any of them.

After reviewing these bids with the staff and our engineer, it is my recommendation tonight that we reject these bids and approve the mayor to negotiate with the two lowest bidders,” said City Administrator Phil Higgins.

The two lowest bidders were Bartow Paving for $1,919,147.97 and Vertical Earth for $1,943,700.28

The remaining bids were from JG Leone Enterprises for about $2.4 million and Baldwin Paving at around $3.6 million.

Mayor Troy Brumbalow said he felt the city might be able to get a better deal through negations, similar to the Cumming Fairgrounds bridge over Castleberry Road. 

“I think it’s worth exploring to see if we can get it cheaper,” Brumbalow said. “That worked out well on the bridge, so I think it’s worth a shot.”

Hospital expansion

The council approved an annexation for about 12 acres on both sides of Ronald Reagan Boulevard for a planned expansion of Northside Hospital Forsyth.

Scott Morgan, the city’s director of planning and zoning said the development included “two medical office facilities and an associated parking structure,” would be zoned to the city’s institutional district and matches the city’s comprehensive plan for the area.

Forsyth County did not oppose the annexation. 

Emory Lipscomb, a zoning attorney representing Northside, said the annexation meant all of the hospital would be within the city limits.

“Northside, I think, is one of the premier attractions and benefits that you get living in the city of Cumming, and traditionally they have annexed into the city over the years, and this is just a continuation of that that has occurred,” he said. 


Moving to the city

Over the past year, the city of Cumming and Forsyth County have debated between moving from the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission to the Atlanta Regional Commission.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the city council voted 4-1, with Councilwoman Linda Ledbetter opposed, not to oppose Forsyth County’s decision to move to the ARC.

“This is a resolution concerning where the city [stands on] Forsyth County’s request that Forsyth County be moved out of the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission and to the Atlanta Regional Commission,” Tallant said. “The county passed a resolution and wanted the city to adopt a joint resolution. This is not that resolution. This resolution simply states that the city of Cuming does not object to Forsyth County asking the [Department of Community Affairs] board to move Forsyth County to a different region.”

Both groups are among 12 regional commissions in the state that provide plans for the respective region.

ARC represents Henry, Cobb, Rockdale, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Douglas, Cherokee, Fulton and Fayette counties, municipalities in those counties and the city of Atlanta.

GMRC is made up of Forsyth, Dawson, Lumpkin, Union, Towns, White, Hall, Banks, Habersham, Rabun, Stephens, Franklin and Hart counties and their cities.

Forsyth County Commissioners previously said they favored moving to the ARC due to issues with growth, economic development and other issues that are more similar to metro Atlanta counties than those in the northeast corner of the state. 

Cumming Police Department
Cumming Police Cheif David Marsh recently handed out the department’s lifesaving award to Officer Shaw Bowman. - photo by Kelly Whitmire