Rockdale residents urge support of jobs program

CONYERS -- Jobs were on the minds of many at the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday.

Following President Barack Obama's speech on Sept. 8, several residents spoke to the BOC about the state of jobs in Rockdale County.

"Give these people a discount. Give them some incentive to come to Rockdale County and help us. Give these people a job."

"I urge people and citizens to call these Republican congressmen and encourage them to stop playing politics with our lives, and to support the president's jobs package," said Rockdale resident Jean Duncan. "We need those jobs."

Chairman Richard Oden also encouraged people to support President Obama's job package.

"There is no reason for Congress to hold up this bill for putting Americans back to work," Oden said. "Congress, quit holding people hostage and allow local governments to put people back to work."

"We need jobs today, not in 14 months," he continued.

Josie Dean, also a resident of Rockdale County, said Rockdale should help its citizens out by encouraging economic development through what she called "discounts."

"Give these people a discount. Give them some incentive to come to Rockdale County and help us," she said. "Give these people a job."

Small business owner Lynn Bures spoke about the county possibly loosening advertising restrictions to encourage small business growth.

She said her business has suffered because of zoning restrictions that state she may use only two banners a year for advertising purposes.

"I understand we want Rockdale County to be beautiful. But in order to do this, we also need to provide our citizens and customers the ability to make money," Bures said. "But you guys have to help me help you."

Bures said she plans to rehabilitate several locations around the county to encourage business growth, but is discouraged by the sign ordinance.

"We need to change the sign ordinance, not only for me, but for other small business owners. This is the plain and simple fact, people: we want Rockdale County to grow," Bures said.

Commissioner Oz Nesbitt said he thought the Planning and Zoning Department was working to review many of the county ordinances.

"(Bures) cannot do business if people do not know she's there. She needs to be able to have the proper signage," Nesbitt said. "It's time for us to revisit this again, and make sure that we give small business owners an opportunity to bring in business, if that's what we need to do."

The Board of Commissioners along with the city of Conyers also honored Solo Cup's 75th anniversary Tuesday by declaring Sept. 13 "Solo Cup Day."

Glenn Sears, executive director of the Conyers-Rockdale Economic Development Council, said Solo Cup was greatly deserving of being honored.

"As far as this company, there isn't a scale to measure how important this company is to this community," he said.

Solo Cup employs more than 300 people at its Conyers location.