FULTON — City councilors have elected second-year councilor Audrey Avery to lead the city’s legislative branch as president of the Fulton Common Council in 2021.
Avery replaces longtime Councilor Larry Macner, R-6th Ward, as council president, marking the second consecutive Republican to hold the role after three years of Democratic and Conservative leadership. Each year the council president is chosen at the city’s first meeting, and serves as the presiding officer in the absence of the mayor and, if the mayor were absent from the city or unable to perform their duties, would serve as acting mayor.
Fulton Mayor Deana Michaels congratulated Avery and said she looked forward to working together over the next year. Michaels noted council president is an important role in city government, and said she is committed to working with Avery and the council in the coming year to improve and modernize city government.
“Welcome aboard and I look forward to working with you in that capacity,” Michaels said to Avery following her appointment. “It’s important that we continue to work collaboratively … and I think that great things can be done.”
Following the election this week, Avery, R-5th Ward, said she was “honored and humbled” to be chosen for the role.
Avery hoped and prayed the next year would be better than the last, and pledged to work with the mayor and fellow councilors and “do whatever (she) can do to make Fulton better.”
“It’s about our constituents and the betterment of our city,” Avery said of the role of the council, adding officials would work hard to move the city forward. “We will collaborate as a full council and come up with ideas to better our city.”
First elected in 2019, Avery vowed to bring new ideas to the table and take a “team approach” to solving the tough issues facing the city.
“I promised before I was elected that I would do everything I could for my community, and I work very hard,” Avery said when asked about her peers on the council entrusting her with the leadership role after just a year on the council. “I just work toward taking care of what needs to be taken care of.”
Avery said 2020 was a challenging year for everyone, and the COVID-19 pandemic slowed some of the progress councilors and the mayor were hoping to achieve. Avery said, however, the six-member common council, which was seated just prior to the pandemic, works well together and would continue efforts to move the city forward.
In the upcoming year, Avery said improving the city’s housing stock and aiding homeowners who cannot afford to make repairs to their properties would be a focal point, as well as improving and beautifying the city’s parks and public spaces.
Determining the future of Sharp’s Pond would also be a priority, Avery said, adding the city “really needs to figure it out.” Avery noted many residents are disenchanted with the dam removal and the way the process unfolded, and said the area is part of the city’s history and could be a future asset.
Finding ways to streamline city services and improve efficiency in day-to-day operations will also be important in 2021, Avery said. She commended the city departments for their efforts and doing more with less, but noted there are always areas to improve.
Overseeing the $10 million state Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) award Fulton received in 2019 will be an exciting and important role for the council in 2021, Avery said. The state is expected to announce the final slate of DRI projects in the coming months.