Prattville mayor looks to major projects in 2018 - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Prattville mayor looks to major projects in 2018

Prattville City Hall (Source: WSFA 12 News) Prattville City Hall (Source: WSFA 12 News)
PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) -

The city projects Prattville Mayor Bill Gillespie wants to accomplish in 2018 are literally staring back at him. All he has to do is peek around the corner and see the transformation taking place inside city hall. There is no doubt the in-house projects will be finished early in the year.

"I see so many great things ahead of us," he said.

The job includes knocking down walls, creating more space, and moving departments to other parts of the building. Much of this was made possible after the police department moved into the public safety building late in 2017.

"Well, in 2012 or '13 we had to shut down some of that and pass it over to our HR department," the mayor said, admitting, "they were living in a shoe box."

The public safety building was a major project last year, along with the new public works department. Gillespie says at some point the city will need to build a new fire station off Highway 14, but that is probably at least a year or two away.

Gillespie says the city's finances are good shape. There are no layoffs in the works and no hiring freeze. But that doesn't suggest there aren't challenges, not unusual for any city in America.

"You'll always have financial challenges because nobody has a bank account big enough," Gillespie said.

The mayor pegged much of the city hall in-house renovations at a cost of around $245,000. Some of the money is coming from the yearly allotment Prattville receives from the state oil and gas lease.

Also, the city's overall debt has plunged from a staggering $65 million to around $47 million during the mayor's tenure, a reduction of a little more than 26 percent.

As for the future beyond 2018, the mayor, whose in the middle of his second full term, says he will run for re-election. He took over in 2011 after Mayor Jim Byard resigned to accept a position in former Gov. Robert Bentley's administration.

Gillespie says he plans to give his 'state of the city' address at the next council meeting later in January.?

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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