PHENIX CITY, AL - A growing city, but a declining city reserve, according to Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe at the 2017 state of the city address.
A full room of council members, city leaders and citizens were in attendance as important topics including budget spending, current, and future projects were discussed, as well as addressing citizens' personal concerns.
"Our reserve has dropped to $5.8 million," said Lowe.
As Lowe made a point to address the severe rain damage the city was a victim of during the first few days of the new year, he said the rain not only caused harm to the physical state of the city but also potentially funds in the bank.
"I mean you literally had graves coming down the streets," said Lowe. "Roads washing away. You know we can't have people going across that. It's too dangerous."
Lowe said the damages have to be fixed, but whether the state of Alabama or Phenix City funding the repairs has yet to be determined.
"That money has to come out of our reserve and that's why we have to be aware of using it," said Lowe. "If we are not declared by Alabama, then 100 percent of those repair funds comes out of our reserve."
Lowe says the state of Alabama says it has to reach a $6 million threshold of evaluated damage before it agrees to pay 75 percent to the city of Phenix City for declared repairs. Regardless, Phenix City is still left with the tab of 25 percent of the funds to pay.
"The quickest way to knock a city on its knees is not having a strong reserve," said Lowe. "Thank God we have a strong one."
Phenix City's reserve funds decreased to $5.8 million for 2017. Lowe cited the Whitewater Avenue and parking garage project as a reason behind the lowered amount.
However, the city's budget of $31 million for city developmental projects saw an increase, according to Lowe.
"I'm telling you this is serious business," said Lowe.
However, Lowe added a positive addition to the city's list of completed projects included the Phase 1 of the city's new wastewater treatment plant. Lowe estimated the overall cost of the treatment plant project is around $7 million.
"Some great things are happening in Phenix City," said Lowe.
Lowe ensured, regardless of the financial bumps which could be potentially faced as a decision is made addressing the rain and storm damage repairs, that Phenix City remains in good financial standing.