Phenix City mayor highlights sales tax revenue in State of the City address

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 8:20 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Thanks to booming sales tax revenue, finances for Phenix City have never looked stronger, the mayor says. But that doesn’t mean the city is problem-free.

Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe delivered the State of City address Thursday night and highlighted the latest developments in the city - and one major hurdle the local government has to overcome.

It was a State of the City address unlike any other before - deep into a pandemic. Mayor Eddie Lowe began his address with an attitude of gratitude, praising city employees for their perseverance.

“They were focused on doing the business of our citizens,” the mayor said. “This is unlike any other state of the city we have had. That’s why it’s important to us as a council to show these people, brag on these people.”

The city has had a hard time keep positions filled with staffing down 48%, according to the mayor.

“We tell people to apply because it’s a great organization to work for,” Mayor Lowe added “The benefits are great. We have been struck by COVID like most companies have. I have to say that we were warned. The council was warned in 2020 by our city manager, which we got through, but it hit us in 2021.”

One of the top highlights from the address, sales tax revenues in the city - and the last five years show impressive growth.

“2017 to 2021, we have grown by 231%. - from $7.7 million to $25.8 million,” Mayor Lowe said. “That’s unheard of.”

A more impressive note from the address that Lowe highlighted is the city’s operating reserve - how long things could run as normal without any funds coming in.

“237 days of operating funds without cash coming in,” the mayor said.

Lowe highlighted that the city has paved 59 miles of roadway since 2009, but went on to add that rising costs and inflation are causing difficulty on current projects.

“We’re just thankful that we are in a very good financial position, however, we need to stay on our knees and pray cause things can change,” he said.

The mayor also highlighted 300 new jobs coming to the city and a new park coming to 14th Avenue.

Plus, there’s the ongoing expansion project at the public safety building downtown and plans for a fire department training center.

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