State of the City
October 6, 2015
Partners and Stakeholders,
As we open the 4th chapter of this quadrennium, I feel certain that Daniel Pratt would be proud that his 1839 Prattville has evolved to what you see today.
Prattville is known as the birthplace of industry here in Alabama. Pratt and his works are known locally, statewide and globally. I mention this for several reasons. We have evolved from a manufacturing village to a destination location for food and shopping. We have also become a destination for golfing, fishing, and kayaking. Our roots run deep, and through hard work and development, we have diversified. There is now something here for everyone.
A role of government is to provide an environment for private enterprise to flourish. When you couple this with our proximity to the interstate, our relationship with Maxwell Air Force Base and our citizens, who remain friendly and welcoming, you have a recipe for success on so many levels. We are very blessed to have citizens that are patriotic and willing to give back to our community.
Our financial footprint is firm. We have several reasons for our improved financial status: our citizens, our employees, and our City Council. We have a very committed workforce, dedicated to serve. Our City, County Commissioners, our Board of Education, and our Chamber of Commerce are working together to improve the River Region.
Our financial improvement has been noted. It has been noted by Standard & Poor’s through credit rating upgrades, the Government Finance Officers Association with a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, and by others in the financial world.
With the passage of our 2015/2016 fiscal year budget, which is based off of prior year's actual revenue, our growth is successfully documented. It proves that our opportunities are ours to determine, as is our destiny, but we can only achieve success through continued partnerships, as Partners of Prattville. Our strength as partners positively affects our ability to make capital investments, and to cultivate our human capital into a quality workforce for future.
This great city has received a number of accolades over the past year and a half:
Best Places to Retire, designated by Money Magazine ranking Prattville as #1 in the Golf Lovers category.
Most Business-Friendly Cities in Alabama, ranked #2 by the Alabama Policy Institute on economic vitality, business tax burden, community allure and transportation infrastructure.
Best Towns in Alabama to Raise a Young Family, designated by nerdwallet.com ranking Prattville as #4.
Best Suburbs in Alabama, ranked #13 by Niche.com based on livability using grades for weather, safety, schools and access to activities, jobs, housing and transportation.
2015’s Best Cities for Women Entrepreneurs, ranked #46 in the nation by GoodCall, which also equates to #1 in Alabama.
In my opinion, we have survived the economic downturn. During this past year, Prattville realized an approximate business capital investment of $75,550,000 from projects. We had 11 commercial projects and 14 retail projects. Approximately 616 jobs were created in Prattville from these projects. Retail trends are up in all categories, ranging from 12.51% in building materials to 166.83% in service stations.
Lodging revenue is up 12%. Building permits are up 10%. Permits are another key indicator showing consumer confidence in this community, a result of past investments paying dividends.
Whether it’s sidewalks, paving, sewers or technology, infrastructure is vitally important to the health of this city. Without it, growth is not possible. We have paved a number of streets in the past year and with passage of an item on tonight’s Council agenda, we will be paving quite a few more. This is money well invested.
There is good debt and bad debt. Our overall debt is down 38.3% since 2011, and will decrease several more percentage points with the advent of our November 1st bond payment. We must continue to remain good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
In February 2012, some of our goals were to cut our expenses, tighten our belts, maximize our revenues, and decrease long-term debt. We have successfully accomplished these items. With that being said, we continue to be conservative in our spending and fiscally responsible in our debt payments. It is our commitment to you, the Partners of Prattville, that we continue to provide quality services.
We have a lot of great plans and projects in store for our general government, public safety, public works, and quality of life programs in the coming year with the continued support of this community.
One thing is certain; change is always constant. We intend to embrace it and grow. Our roots are leading us back to economic growth in manufacturing, while we continue to develop technology-based opportunities and diversify our industries.
I look forward to a bright and successful 2016 with all of you!
Bill Gillespie, Jr.