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Mayor Bradford's 2017 State of the City Speech

2/14/2017

2017 STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS

Good evening citizens, friends, and supporters of the Town of Jonesboro.

The first thing I want to do is express my thanks and appreciation to you for allowing me to serve as your mayor.

Secondly, I want to thank you for the support you have given me for the past two years and 45 days. Your support has been unwavering, and I can assure you that if I didn’t have your support, we would not have been able to make the progress we have. So, let me say once again, thank you very much.

Finally, I want to express my sincere and heartfelt thanks to the council and o the staff and employees of the Town of Jonesboro. They have given me their full support and cooperation, and I am thankful to them.

Tonight, I come to you to report the State of the City.

God has blessed Jonesboro – we know that, but I’d like to prove it to you from the past year: 

This past summer, we launched our first summer youth program with the Boys and Girls Club of Northcentral Louisiana. As you probably know, these programs allow children in our community to build skills and learn about proper health and fitness through interactive games and activities.

Reaching these kids within our community was and is a priority of mine, and I’m glad to see our community agrees. Through the generous donations of individuals and businesses across Jonesboro, the Boys and Girls Club is now a permanent member of our community, operating year-round.

Getting this club permanently established here to provide opportunities to children in our community was a goal of ours. What we’ve proven is that when our town comes together, determined to invest and grow our community, we succeed at accomplishing our shared goals.

And, while we’re talking about the Boys and Girls Club, I’d like to remind you of a donation form you received along with your water bill—we’d like it returned with a check—because we believe in investing and building our community.

In the coming year, my administration will be working with the local schools to fully integrate this program and provide these opportunities to as many children and families as possible.

This last year, we’ve really been blessed financially through generous donations from our community and through grants. I am thrilled to report that over the year we received over $500,000, and we will continue to see the effects of these funds into this coming year.

For this year, we will begin focusing on obtaining grants for our sewage infrastructure. While it’s not the most exciting of projects, our sewage infrastructure is equally in need of repair. I’m beginning to focus our energy on obtaining some of these grants, and I think we have a better shot at getting one of these for sewage than for our streets.

In August, we received a Delta Regional Authority grant in the amount of $250,000 for the drilling of a new water well on the southernmost portion of town where we have seen exponential growth over the past decade.

The fact of the matter is: our water system’s infrastructure is old and outdated. This project will help many families and industries in the area where we have been plagued with water pressure problems. While it’s not the only solution, it is part of the puzzle.

This is not only an infrastructure project; it is also very much an economic development project. That portion of town continues to grow and create jobs. This vital addition to our system will undoubtedly provide economic opportunities as individuals in our community capture the entrepreneurial spirit and new businesses come in.

Speaking of new businesses, Jonesboro created twelve last year. If you haven’t noticed, we’ve got an O’Reilly’s starting to piece together near the middle school, and they’re starting work on the Dollar Tree across from Walmart. This is great for our community because it shows we’re growing and creating jobs.

But it is small businesses—those along the Boulevard and throughout the town—that are truly the backbone of our community. Time and time again, we’ve seen our small businesses step up to invest in our community.

We are focused on helping small businesses succeed and will be creating new policies to promote this entrepreneurial spirit and developing new tools to equip our entrepreneurs with the guidance and help they need and deserve. We’re going to keep it easy to set up shop and pursue opportunities here in our community.

Among the new businesses we want to bring to and create in Jonesboro is a restaurant. And you’ve probably heard me say it before, but I’m saying it again: I want a restaurant where plates break if they’re dropped.

But, business leaders and others have continually told me that they will not come to Jonesboro unless they can serve alcohol. It’s a simple reality. During the upcoming elections, Jonesboro will have a referendum on the sale of alcohol.

Since alcohol is such a controversial topic, trust me—you only end up with wine because you’ve bought it. That’s not changing.

Now, this time last year, we were holding a press conference and bragging about our freshly painted and repaired water tower. A year later, some of you have probably noticed that it’s not looking so well. It’s starting to lose its shine and turning colors on us. The company that painted it is refusing to fix their problem, and that’s not right—so, we’re suing them

And, my final proposal: a new hotel bed tax. This tax will only be a tax on individuals who decide to stay in a hotel here, and all the funds will be specifically dedicated to our parks and recreational account.

Rep. Jack McFarland will be introducing this legislation in the upcoming regular session, and in the bill, it says that these funds are specifically for our recreation center, so there’s no way around it—we’re investing in our parks and recreational facilities by law.

My office will be sure to provide the public with more information on this legislation as the time draws near, but this tax will also require a referendum, even after it passes in the legislature. But don’t worry, we’ll be sure to let you know when to go vote for it.

As I finish this speech, I hope you noticed one exceptional theme about our town: we give back. We are truly a community that knows it’s wise to invest back into our town and to take every opportunity we’re given.

That’s the Jonesboro I love and know. Time and time again, the strength, resolve and generosity of our community has never stopped amazing me and making me appreciate the great people in our town.

I believe in us; I believe in you, and I believe in Jonesboro. And I know the days ahead of us are filled with opportunity. Together, we will continue to move forward.

Thank you all. May God bless you and may God continue to bless our community.