Salem Mayor Gives State of the City Address MondaySalem Mayor John Raymer painted an upbeat message in his annual State of the City Message to the city council Monday night, outlining accomplishments in virtually all areas of the city.
Raymer says the city's location gives the city opportunity for the future. "On an average day 12,000 vehicles travel Route 50 one way or another through our town. 10,000 travel on Interstate 57, and fewer than a 1,000 of them stop in Salem. Salem's location as the county seat, the fairgrounds, and as a recreation area continues to give us an advantage. Any more retail business from interstate traffic remains a new potential source for local business prosperity", said Raymer.
Raymer says sales tax collections increased by nearly five percent over 2011. He reports reserves in the general fund remain very low, but the city council remains committed to operating within funds available and leaving tax rates as they are.
Raymer says the weather is one of his big concerns for 2013. "Drought remains a big concern. With many area farmers contributing to the agricultural economy, the recent drought reduced the available jobs and opportunities in farming. The city's water supply from Carlyle Lake could be affected by declining water levels and increase the need for more water to be released for Mississippi River operations", said Raymer.
Raymer says 2012 was a good year for the city's job base. "Manufacturing is a bright spot with the announcement of new jobs at North American Lighting and stability in outdoor pre-fabricating building and decking, athletic equipment production, abrasives, electrical power maintenance, propane truck fabrication, tire capping, tornado shelter fabrication, and many mixed producers that maintain small operations. Retail operations remain stable as well as real estate and financial services", said Raymer.
Raymer says seven new businesses began operation in the downtown area, with an eighth moving to a new location. He noted the expansion of Rollinson's to a full line appliance store. Raymer says a number of infrastructure improvements were completed, including the resurfacing of South College and North Shelby Street, replacement of the water main on West Main, and installation of new sewer pipes in the Frisco area.
Raymer also noted the appointment of a Bryan Park Advisory Committee that will address concerns over the conditions of trees and city equipment in all the parks. Raymer noted the Salem Aquatic Center as the new jewel in Bryan Park. He noted the work of the Department of Emergency Management to plan for potential problems, the various activities of the Recreation Department, and the large number of special events held in the community.
Raymer concluded his message by listing 35 specific accomplishments by the City that he called the Signs of Life in Salem 2012.
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