Signal Mountain Mayor Howley Presents Accomplishments, Future Challenges In Final State Of The City Report

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - by Gail Perry

At the last meeting where Mayor Chris Howley presided over the town council, he presented a “State of the Town Report.”  Included in it is an overview of financial and tax status, transparency issues, the number and amounts of grants that have been received during the past two years, accomplishments that have been made, open projects and issues that remain to be dealt with and suggestions were included for future councils to address.

Financial Overview:

·         For budget year 2018-2019 total operational costs are $7,535,011.

·         For budget year 2018-2019 total fund expenditures are $9,332,595.

·         At the end of the year the fund balance will be $3,434,096.

·         Over the past six years, actual revenue exceeded budgeted revenue by 7.79 %

·         Over the past six years budgeted expenses have exceeded actual expenses by 7.40%

·         The total swing of an average of 15.19 %

·         The state of Tennessee recommends for cities to maintain reserves of 25 % ($2,263,154 projected for 2018-2019)

·         The established minimum in Signal Mountain is 35% ($3,168,416 projected for 2018-2019)

Taxes:

·         The town paid off the balance of the school bond and that tax sunsetted as required

·         Tax rate was increased $.32 per $100 of assessed value to cover the loss of the Hall Tax

·         Property tax rate was adjusted in 2017-2018 due to re-assessment as required

·         There have been no tax increases to cover increase in expenses

Transparency:

·         Began video taping all regular and agenda council meetings ( thanks to councilmen Landrum and Spalding’s efforts)

·         The most public meetings were held (43) since 2007, including ISD and water system meetings

·         Instituted monthly financial reports

·         A record number of record requests were fulfilled, (65) 57 % came from one citizen

Grants Received for the past two years:

·         Public  Works received $2,629,658

·         Police received $63,879

·         Fire Department received $858,451

·         Recreation Department received $400,000

Accomplishments:

·         Created Centennial Committee

·         Completed a new maintenance facility

·         Completed fire station  #2

·         SSVC Committee and report

·         Achieved a Aa3 Moody Rating

·         Land Use plan and zoning issues’

·         TDOT meeting on 10/20/17 discussing future plans for the road coming up the mountain

·         Water System Sale RFP

·         Started Sparkle Day

·         Re-paved nine miles of roads

·         Purchased a new ladder and engine

·         ISO rating went from five to three, which should improve insurance rates

·         Paid off the school bond

·         Sunset of school bond tax

·         Dealt with the loss of Hall Tax

·         Added a Special Projects and Compliance Manager

·         Solved the police and fire turnover

·         James Boulevard project approved

·         Police/Fire department community engagement

·         Replaced old equipment5 with hook lift trucks

·         Continued work on state police accreditation

·         Discussion on small city coalition

·         Hosted Mayor/City Manager meeting

·         Invested $500,000 in the MACC

·         Improved police and fire technology

·         Adjusted rates and use charges

·         Transitioned Operation of the library

·         Investigated possible land swaps

·         Placed temporary town judge

·         Started town attorney RFP process

·         Negotiated new Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club lease

·         Honored / recognized 16 individuals or groups

Open projects and Issues:

·         Direction of town water system

·         Hiring of new town attorney

·         James Boulevard project

·         Marion and Driver Field improvements

·         MACC improvements

·         Shoal Creek Bridge replacement

·         Ohio Avenue trail project

·         Old Town sidewalk project

Suggestions for future councils:

·         Study the water system issue very closely.

Retaining the system will have a significant impact on the town’s budget—outside of the water system’s budget

·         Continue monthly financial summaries

·         Continue strong support of the police and fire departments

·         Recognize and appreciate the effectiveness and professionalism of the current town staff

·         Continue transparency improvements efforts and community involvement

·         Do not be afraid to investigate and address the tough issues even if they are unpopular.

 

Click here to view Mayor Howley's presentation.

 

 


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