State of the City Update After 6 Months in Office
August 1, 2011
To the Citizens of Prattville:
Having been in the Mayor’s office for a little over 6 months, it is time for me to provide you with another update.
The Council and I have been working extremely hard to reduce our expenditures while maintaining our services. I’m proud to say that working along side our department heads has generated great results. They have been able to keep up with the tasks that they have been given even though their budgets were reduced. All of our departments are working harder and leaner, but also smarter. I’ve reminded them that you, our tax-paying citizens, are our customers. Additionally, I’ve expressed to them they are working for themselves as citizens and also tax-paying like the rest of us.
At our July 5th Council meeting, I announced that May’s sales tax payments, our first month including the limited duration sales tax increase, produced extra revenue in the amount of $438,866.80. This additional sales tax revenue is being dedicated to debt service. (Please see the "What Do the Numbers Mean" article on this site.)
We should have two studies back in the next three to four months that address the needs of our wastewater treatment plant and also our sewage rates. I feel that with these studies, the sewage surcharge should be eliminated and replaced with a change in our usage-based rate. We should have both a short and long-range plan for that department to keep it running both efficiently and dependably. Can you imagine not being able to flush your toilet for a few days?
For the future, I see Prattville’s revenues staying steady with a minimal increase. In order to stretch our dollars, I have been pulling together citizen-based committees. These committees are being tasked to find creative ideas and funding for the City. Some of those committees are: the Independence Day Celebration Committee, the Pratt Pool Citizen Committee, and the Autauga Creek Improvement Committee.
The Independence Day Celebration Committee worked together to fund the biggest and longest fireworks show that Prattville has ever had. They found sponsors for our fireworks show, the cardboard boat races, advertising for the event, and the sponsorship stars to recognize those businesses and individuals who gave so generously to the day’s events. They were also able to honor our World War II veterans with a great tribute; they deserved this and so much more.
I also have pulled together an Autauga Creek Improvement Committee, which looks very promising. We came up with short and long-term goals for our untapped natural resource. From this committee, a group of citizens has already held multiple clean up efforts with substantial results. Our Canoe Trail is reopened for business. For a map, please visit our “Attractions” page within the Visitors section of our website.
I have plans for other citizen-based committees to be created in the near future. Please help me move our great city forward by getting involved with these or other committees. You can also pass along your thoughts and ideas by completing my Suggestion Form, which is delivered directly to my email inbox.
I have been renegotiating contracts in an attempt to reduce our costs. To date, I have saved the city somewhere around $400,000 through these renegotiations.
We are currently working on the 2012 budget, finding areas to further streamline our departments along with cross-training a number of our City employees to better serve you.
You can also find on our state-renowned, city website, new pages that make it easier to do business with the City, to find activities for your family, as well as tips and ideas to be a better neighbor, among other items. Navigate the residents and business sections to see what we have added in recent months.
There have been multiple inquiries recently concerning High Point Town Center. I have been in contact with the proper authority on this project and hope to report on it in the very near future.
At this point in my status report to you, I would like to thank our city employees for all the hard work that they do for us, the citizens of Prattville. Without them, we would find ourselves spending more for some of the same services that we currently receive.
In closing, I feel we are moving in the right direction and with your help, I see a bright future for our City. Please call my cell phone, (334) 391-3948, if I can be of service, or my office number, (334) 361-3609, if you wish to set up a meeting.
Thank you for allowing me to serve.
Bill Gillespie, Jr.
Mayor, City of Prattville