Growth, CIP projects on agenda
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle Mayor Dwight Tankersley says his number one goal in the new year is to bring new businesses to the I-65 and Highway 31 corridors. He sees them as a means of generating more needed tax revenue for the city's general fund.
"I'm thankful our tax revenues are up. We had a 11.2 percent increase in sales tax in December and we're 3.7 percent ahead of what was budgeted for the first quarter of this fiscal year," he said. "But even if this trend continues for the remainder of the year we still won't have the money we need to do all the things citizens want done.
"I feel the answer to more tax revenue is business growth."
He said two commercial developers have recently indicated an interest in locating restaurants at the I-65 and Highway 36 interchange and other developers have shown an interest in the Highway 31 corridor.
"They are considering restaurants, strip malls and general retail business establishments," he pointed out. "Things are in the taking stage at this point but I'm hopeful we'll have some commitments in the near future."
Tankersley said he will meet with Alabama's congressional delegation at the nation's capitol next month in pursuit of grant funding for several local initiatives. They consist of phase two of the proposed north downtown bypass; industrial park infrastructure upgrade; emergency sirens; a proposed north-south drainage mitigation project; and a wireless computer network for city departments.
He will be accompanied on the trip by council members and representatives of the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce, Hartselle Development Board, Hartselle Utilities and Morgan County Commission.
Drainage improvements are another need he plans to pursue.
"Public works has identified a number of localized drainage problems that need immediate attention," he pointed out. "One of these is located to the west and south of the Indoor Flea Market (Old Wal-Mart building), where a larger drain pipe is needed to move water away from businesses in the area. We have $30,000 budgeted for projects like this one. If that is not enough to get the job done, I may have to go back to the council and ask for more money."
Tankersley said he also will stay focused on budgeted capital improvement projects totaling $456,912 to make sure they are completed in a timely manner.
One of these projects is the renovation of the lobby area at city hall as a safety measure. Bulletproof glass enclosures will be installed in front of customer service counters for the protection of the city clerk/controller and her staff and the municipal court clerk with $20,000 budgeted for this project.
Other capital improvement appropriations are listed as follows: