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Hartselle Enquirer

Smelser presents State of the City

Randy Garrison

Hartselle Enquirer

 

Mayor Bill Smelser presented the annual State of the City address Tues., April 26, at the Sparkman Civic Center. Hartselle Chamber Chairman of the Board, Dan Copeland welcomed all who attended the breakfast event. The Rev. Danny Pitts, with Grace Point Church gave the invocation.  The Freight House catered the meal.

Smelser opened his message sharing with the attendees that they should be proud of their city council. He also mentioned the great relationship Hartselle enjoys with the Morgan County Commission, Hartselle Utilities and the Hartselle City School System.

He recognized his family at the beginning, daughters Sonie and son-in-law Paul Wilson, daughter Kim and grandchildren Scarlett, Caroline and Carson.

Smelser mentioned the city’s revenue was up 1.2%, sales tax collections are up 2.5% and TVA in lieu of tax payments are down 10%. Other revenues are basically flat.

Budgeted revenues for 2016 are $10,562,320 with expenses budgeted at $10,443,518.

In business growth, he mentioned a $26 million expansion by Busche, a $7 million expansion by ProFab Machine and a $1.3 investment by Diamond Pro.

“We have the most dedicated employees in the state,” Smelser stated. Adding, “they are a very lean work force, with many of the

city employees having 20 to 30 years of service.

The city was able to add three new cars to the police department fleet, moved dispatch to E-911 and each officer has a 700Mhz radio on them and in their police cars. A grant for body cameras has also been applied for. The move to E-911 is saving the city $100,000 per year.

Hartselle purchased new protective equipment for the fire department and utiitzed the Alabama Fire College for training. Hartselle Fire and Rescue responded to 1,900 calls last year with 29 of the calls structural fires.

The Department of Development continues downtown flood mitigation, along with landscaping along the I-65 Hartselle exits and has received a grant to improve downtown sidewalks along Hickory and Railroad Streets.

The Park and Recreation Department has been able to compete lighting and scoreboard upgrades to the Groover Rd. complex and have plans for a concession stand, pavilion and restrooms for 2016. A ¾ mile expansion of the walking/ running trail by way of an ADECA grant is also in the works. The city has also assisted with the Special Needs Accessible Playground (SNAP) with in-kind services and city labor, along with funds to match a federal grant.

The Public Works Department has replaced the box culvert in front of Smith’s Florist and worked with resurfacing Nanceford Rd.

The Administration Office is in charge of collecting taxes and disbursing funds. This includes handling cemetery plots in the city cemetery, issuing permits and collecting and handling business licenses. They also conduct city elections, oversee municipal court, payroll, human resources, IT, health and liability insurance and the library.

Smelser recognized the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce and President Danielle Gibson, Hartselle Beautification and Director Carolyn Wallace.

Smelser in his remarks said Hartselle is a great place to live and a great place to raise your family. He thanked all who came to the city address as those who make up Hartselle.

He also gave his thanks to those who shop Hartselle, live in Hartselle and  worship in Hartselle. Hartselle is a great place to call home, with the way of life and security in Hartselle.

Many attending the event thought the Mayor had forgotten to recognize his wife at the beginning when he mentioned his children and grandchildren. However, he said he saved the best for last, his best friend and supporter, his wife, Sandra. Smelser said after 48 years she deserved a special recognition.

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