The city is struggling also. I am doing everything in my power to keep all city services available as well as keeping the City of Jasper solvent. It is a tremendous challenge, but one that I enjoy tackling each day.
For the past several years, I have continued to reduce our work force at the city. This has been a substantial savings for the taxpayers, without any substantial reduction in services. I have accomplished this by not replacing many employees who either leave employment or retire. Several positions have not been replaced, like the cemetery superintendent, the assistant police chief and others. I have several employees who have taken on additional responsibilities for no additional compensation. For that, I thank them.
You have seen the construction going on downtown. This is a transportation enhancement grant that is part of the stimulus money. Because the City of Jasper was one of the first three cities in Alabama to apply and have plans ready, we were awarded a 100 percent grant. I realize we have other needs that may be more pressing, but we want to utilize as much “free money” that we can acquire. Also, I believe it will be a tremendous asset, continuing to beautify our downtown area.
Last, we are about to begin construction of a 5000 square foot Jasper Senior Center. The senior population of Jasper continues to increase exponentially. With the help of a $250,000 ADECA grant, assistance from the Walker Area Community Foundation, and city funding that must go to capital improvement, the center should be completed in February 2011. Presently we have small groups of seniors meeting in many buildings all over Jasper. This has been an untenable solution, causing many problems due to locations and accessibility.
I believe this Jasper Senior Center will become the gathering place our seniors (of which I am one) deserve, for many years to come.
I look forward to writing about our new industrial road, park and prospects in my next letter. In closing, let me say again how honored I am to be your mayor. Thank you very much.
Jasper Mayor Sonny Posey is now writing a bi-weekly column to inform citizens about happenings around the City of Jasper.