Mayor Steele: Looking ahead for 2011 in F’ville

Ken Steele's picture

As we begin 2011, it might be useful to share a brief recap of 2010 prior to looking ahead to 2011.

Very few individuals, companies or governments have been immune from the lengthy slowdown of our economy. Your city of Fayetteville has been no exception, although we are pleased to report that we have fared better than most.

Much to the credit of senior staff and our employees, we saw indications of the slowdown several years ago and responded proactively to ensure that we could maintain our high level of service to the city.

Many tried and true techniques were employed to maintain a balanced budget even with reduced revenues. Early retirement, hiring and pay freezes, consolidation of departments, balancing workloads and cross training of personnel have been the norm these past few years.

Many innovative ideas were generated and put forth by our employees and to them goes the credit for maintaining high service levels to the community.

During 2010 we were able to utilize local transportation dollars to accomplish numerous local projects.

By working collaboratively with the county, state, and federal entities, we were able to leverage our limited funds to obtain a much larger amount of money to accomplish intersection and safety improvements, resurfacing some streets and the extensive sidewalk and pedestrian path system that has been appreciated by most in the community.

The 2010 amphitheater season was a success and the various special activities directed by our Mainstreet program were enjoyed by thousands.

As we move into 2011, what might we reasonably and conservatively expect?

The basic mission statement of the city will remain unchanged. Our focus is to provide those primary services you have come to expect from local government, i.e.: Public Safety (police and fire), water and sewer, public works, all aspects of engineering, planning and zoning, code enforcement, municipal court, Mainstreet and economic development and the associated administrative services to keep everything running smoothly.

We will provide those services in a professional, effective and economical manner.

As we plan for 2011 and talk to leaders in various fields, it is our belief that we have not seen the end of the recession in the metro Atlanta area.

However, here in Fayetteville, we have seen some tentative signs that better days are ahead. Business people and individuals are beginning to think and plan for new endeavors, but at this stage it remains talk for the most part.

Thus, what are the city’s plans? We have several larger transportation projects in the pipeline with the roundabout at Grady and Beauregard scheduled to be done this year.

The collaborative Ga. Highway 85/Hood Avenue project is in the engineering stage with construction planned for the 2013 timeframe. Several more sidewalk projects are anticipated. The money for these projects is already available from dedicated local, state and federal funding sources.

Mainstreet Fayetteville is already planning for the year’s upcoming events and we eagerly await the announcement of the amphitheater line-up for this summer season. We have heard that the line-up includes talent that our season ticket holders have requested the most over the past five years. Several new innovations are also anticipated.

In conclusion, the residents of Fayetteville can rest assured that, no matter the economic environment, our expenditures will always be less than our revenue and the residents’ city tax burden will stay on an even keel.

[Ken Steele is the mayor of Fayetteville. He has served on the Fayetteville City Council since July 1994. He also was elected in 2010 to head the Georgia Municipal Association, the lobbying group for Georgia’s cities.]