On Tuesday, the City of Villa Rica held their monthly city council work session and meeting. There were more items on the agenda than in previous months, but this particular month is somewhat special because not only was the city recognized and awarded several Villa Rican Readers Choice awards by its citizens, but the city, in turn, recognized key city employees that have shown and continues to execute excellence throughout their time working for the city, the new K9 member of the Villa Rica Police Department named Bob was introduced to the council, Pete Zorbanos was recognized as he is retiring as the Director of Utilities, and at the conclusion of the executive session, the new municipal judge was named.
The Villa Rican Reader’s choice awards were presented to the mayor and city council on Tuesday during the monthly work session. The city was recognized and voted by the readers of the Villa Rican for the Best Employer, The MILL Amphitheater as the Best Live Music Venue, Gold Dust Park for Best Park, and named Cpl. Tommy King and Sgt. Noah Tolbert as their favorite Villa Rica Police Officers.
“Now we as a city get a lot of honors from state and professional organizations, but this one comes directly from the people of this city and for that reason the staff considers this worth acknowledging,” Villa Rica’s Public Information Officer Ken Denney said.
That evening, the city council meeting began with several recognitions. Among those were the Villa Rica Police Department Nyree Simpson and Glenda Golden who have held positions for the city for five years.
Captain Hunter Etheredge was acknowledged by Chief Mansour for being a part of the Villa Rica Police Department for 15 years.
Villa Rica’s City Judge Michael Hubbard was recognized for his service as he was named about a month ago to be the Chief Magistrate of Carroll County, and city manager Tom Barber was also recognized for his five years of service with the city.
“What has really happened here with Tom is he came in here and like a sponge learned so much about this city and the shortcomings that we have faced over the years… The truth is that there were a lot of things that needed a lot of work here , and Tom came in and wrapped his head around all of those things and he has been nothing but serious about every part of the job, in terms of infrastructure he doesn’t get into the politics of the day-to-day. He doesn’t get into the rumors and the gossip and all of that stuff. He keeps to himself when it comes to any of that stuff,” Mayor Gil McDougal said. “And I have to tell you, I think that is how you survive five years, but I think it is also how you get things done here and that is what Tom has done and we appreciate your five years here.”
Zorbanos, who is retiring as the Director of Utilities for the city, was given a heartwarming goodbye and an appreciation speech by Barber as what Barber called an intricate player in some of the major improvements the city has made.
“We have had a very productive and focused relationship for five years now. And I don’t think that I can do justice trying to explain to people that have not been here working the incredible responsibility that he has shouldered coming into an environment where all the parts of Villa Rica that we talk about were messed up,” Barber said. “He was the one who had to fix the water and sewer, and I can’t put that into words what that felt like everyday; the sense of never getting to the bottom of the pile but never even having a complete idea of what has to be fixed… but Pete has driven a bazillion miles. He’s not from anywhere near here. He lives on the other side of Athens. He’s been away from his wife for six and a half years now working here. We rotated through technicians, operators, and managers. It’s staggering when you look back at all he has done… Villa Rica will forever be in his debt and not know it.”
According to Barber, he and Zorbanos have “put out so many fires from system improvements where fire flow and pressure is adequate, eliminated places where sewer spills were taking place, trained people, and much more.”
“I am so sobered just by the recognition of what all we’ve done since you have been here…We are in your debt and we will be in your debt forever,” Barber said.
After the ceremonial presentations were completed, a motion to adopt the consent agenda was made and approved. There were no objections to any of the items listed in the consent agenda and therefore all were approved by a unanimous vote. They moved on to the governing body where one item (establish date for lottery) was tabled until the next meeting. There were a few community development items regarding signage, a wall repair at Hixtown for a mural installment, alcohol license permits, and others that were approved by a unanimous vote. There was a financial update and city manager report as well and then the council entered into an executive session where they approved Hubbard’s replacement in Douglasville attorney Keith Rollins who will preside until Dec. 31.