Rockdale County CEO Richard Oden told residents and stakeholders that Georgia’s second-smallest county plans to do great things in the future, including continue revitalizing neighborhoods, increasing the tax base with more commercial development, and boosting tourism under his administration.
“Throughout all the challenges and obstacles in 2013, we remained steadfast on our journey to center ourselves in a position to gain a strong, sustainable future,” said Oden. “Here, in Rockdale, we will grow our tax base and will work hard to snag great economic development opportunities. I am sure of it because we have valuable tools and dynamic leaders.”
Oden gave his speech, despite dealing with the recent death of his mother. The CEO planned to rest after the State of the County Address and then leave early for Akron, Ohio to attend his mother’s funeral. Shirley Oden was 83. She died at home on Jan. 6.
About 50 people attended the CEO’s address at the Rockdale Auditorium. This year, department heads shared their accomplishments in a video that played rather than give individual reports. The theme of his address was “Continuing to Move Forward by Uniting, Building and Energizing the county.”
Oden said his vision for the future includes building a performing arts civic auditorium and developing the area on Sigman Road near I-20 with a banquet hall facility, trade center, five star hotels and other facilities to attract tourism.
Oden said the county’s accomplishments included restoring the historic Milstead community, laying the groundwork to increase economic development, continuing to gain neighborhood revitalization grants and developing a tax base ratio that is moving toward less residential and more commercial property values making up the tax base.
Oden thanked county staff and Rockdale’s team of directors, while congratulating the departments that “make Rockdale work.”
“I am honored that you decided to join me and I sincerely thank all of my colleagues and our elected officials who have joined me here tonight,” said Oden, who was first elected to the position in 2009. He was re-elected in 2012 for the four-year seat. “The year 2013 was filled with so many different kinds of experiences—from government shut-downs to unemployment continuing to hamper some of our workforce. It ultimately united us in more ways than one.”
At the conclusion of the event, Oden honored Michael Minkoff, a retired police officer, with the Charles P. Cole Citizens Involvement Award.