By Monticello Arkansas Mayor Jason Akers
My fellow citizens, it is my duty as Mayor under Arkansas code 14-58-302 to deliver to you a State of the City Address within (90) days of taking office.
While a state of the city address is typically for the previous year, I feel it is important to relate to you the current state of our town moving forward into 2023.
I am honored to tell you that the city of Monticello was fiscally sound moving into 2023. At the end of December 2022 the city had $15,719,518.14 in cash on hand and certificates of deposit and our city currently has over $36,748,661.42 in fixed assets. Our one cent sales tax is performing at or above expectations and continues to be utilized judiciously for purposes that benefit all areas of our great city.
In preparation for the future we have been evaluating city processes and procedures. We have and will continue to make improvements and adjustments. The Mayor’s Office has renegotiated contracts and agreements that will save tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars annually and we have eliminated several practices that created duplicity of effort and inefficiency within our city government.
City administration has added a purchasing agent and we have and will continue to negotiate the prices we pay for the materials and services the city requires. We are assisting local service providers in learning the required processes for bidding on large city jobs and encouraging our local businesses to do business with their city government so we can all keep our money local. We must, however, be good stewards of taxpayer money.
Thus, those doing business with our city should remember that our people’s business should not be taken for granted and we should all strive to be able to say we spent tax dollars where our taxpayers got the best deal. To any entity that would intend to provide our taxpayers with sub-par services or materials, consider this notice that our citizens will receive quality work or services in a timely manner or we will do business elsewhere. Period.
As each of you know, our aging infrastructure has been in need of repair for decades and significant efforts are being made to address this issue. Currently our city has multiple infrastructure and recreational projects ongoing. Those projects are as follows:
The Bowser Road pump station replacement which is being engineered;
Davis Street to Merrydale drainage project, which is out for bid;
The Lake Monticello Trail Project is currently under construction;
Repainting of the Conrad Street water tower- is now being engineered;
Overflow and aeration upgrades at the West wastewater plant is currently in the design phase;
The Main Street water line relocation project is still in early stages of engineering.
And of course the Scogin Drive project, which will ease access to Drew Memorial, UAM, public schools and other vital locations. This will be the project that expands our city westward and creates new opportunities for development and growth. Groundbreaking is expected this year barring any weather or unforeseen delays. I had the honor of signing the check fulfilling the City of Monticello’s financial commitment to this project and am exited at seeing it come to fruition.
Two recently completed projects were the removal of years of sludge buildup at the East Wastewater Treatment Plant and the installation of the wastewater baffle system. We are now in compliance with the State regulatory agencies in matters relating to these projects and we can thank Mayor Paige Chase for starting these projects and directing them on the path to completion.
As I alluded to earlier, the Mayor’s Office has been examining policies and procedures and altering, editing and removing when necessary those policies or practices that do not conform to efficiency, modernization, equality or effectiveness. The “old ways” don’t work anymore and adaptation and new approaches are the only way to move our city forward. You have my commitment as well as that of your City Council to continue to aggressively and systematically attack the long standing issues faced by the city. And hang on, because we are just getting started.
Your prayers and support are invaluable as we press the fight moving forward into the future. Both your Mayor and your City Council need your support now more than ever as we strive to make our city a place where we can all be proud.
May God Bless you and may God Bless the Great City of Monticello.
Mayor Jason Akers