By Kevin Parsons
Now that we are through the busy holiday season, of which I hope everyone was able to enjoy with their families, we are ready for 2017 here at the Town of Mountain City. First, I want to humbly thank everyone that turned out for the election this past November and helped elect me to serve as your city mayor. My personal goal is to bring as many people as I possibly can together to help me and the town board make the best decisions we can so that in four years we all can look back and see that the town is in better shape than when our term began.
Our town departments are looking good and I can’t say enough about our great employees and their dedication for the residents here of the town. I was sworn in on December 5th and started going to work immediately getting some meetings together with some people that have the resources to help with one of our number one issues here, which I think everyone will agree, and that is to provide more activities for our kids and young people. We have our playground areas, the skate park and the swimming pool but I want to expand on those areas and incubate new ones. I believe that can quickly happen with some volunteers and very little funding coming from the town budget.
I am happy to say that the Goose Creek Trail Project, of which a grant for its funding was actually awarded in my previous term as mayor, is now completed. This trail is part of a network of future planned trails to allow you another way of traveling through town and off the main roads. This trail provides the connection from Ralph Stout Park all the way to the Welcome Center. Part of the trail is next to the Goose Creek, which is so peaceful to walk beside and also provides an opportunity for you to take a minute to sit on one of the benches and listen to the calming flow of water when things in life get too hectic. College Street that traverses next to the post office has a new layer of asphalt following the waterline project that was just completed. In the near future you will notice an improvement to the facades in the downtown area as we are securing a grant to provide funding for that project. This will improve the looks of downtown and help us with another big issue and that is to fill those empty buildings on Main Street with new businesses that will provide some of the necessities that we currently can’t find here in the county.
That brings me to the last thing I want to talk about and that actually has to do with your budget. The next couple of months we will be knee deep into the town’s budget process for the upcoming budget year, which begins on the first day of July. Even though we inherited a shortfall of income verses expenses in the current budget year I will assure you that I will not support an increase in revenue directly from our town’s property owners. What we can do to increase our revenue while helping you is to successfully recruit new businesses to locate in the city. That will provide new sales tax dollars that are currently going to help other cities and even other states. I will make sure our city departments buy locally and will also encourage not only you but our county government agencies as well to support the businesses we have now before going outside the county. Doing so keeps money in our local economy by helping our friends and neighbors plus it provides needed money in our town budget of which we can use to continue providing the services we are accustomed to by living in the city. In the interim we will be mindful when spending your taxpayer dollars yet strive to keep our departments with everything they need to operate efficiently. We want to make Mountain City the best town to live and work in from all across the state of Tennessee.
The board of Mayor and Aldermen meet the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm at city hall and I welcome everyone to attend any of these meetings. If you have ideas to improve our town or desire to help by volunteering your time to help with upcoming projects please contact me at 423-291-9256.