By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Mayor Jack Reed Jr. on Tuesday will give his first State of the City address since taking office nearly three years ago, and he’s expected to highlight Tupelo’s positives.
Notably, the city has made major strides in reducing operating costs while boosting its quality of life via park and recreational improvements.
It also has seen a recent upswing in its economic indicators, specifically sales tax revenues and new residential construction.
In the first four months of the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, the city has collected nearly $5.7 million in sales tax revenues, according to the Finance Department. That’s 6.5 percent more than during the same period last year and the largest increase since before the recession.
The number of single-family construction permits also saw its first increase since the recession, with roughly 60 issued during the previous calendar year, according to the Development Services Department. Builders told the Daily Journal in December that business is picking back up, and most are confident in the industry’s future here.
The address starts at 4 p.m. at the BancorpSouth Conference Center behind the Hilton Garden Inn. It’s free, and the public is encouraged to attend.
Reed’s speech will last about one hour, and he’ll be flanked on stage by City Council members and the heads of his municipal departments.
“He’ll go through, department by department, and talk about the successes and challenges from this past year and the upcoming year,” said city Communications Director Annabeth Freeman. “We’ve had a lot of people call about it. We’re hoping to have a good crowd.”
City Council President Fred Pitts also encouraged people to attend, saying it will be a good opportunity to learn about the city and how it works.
Other highlights likely will include Tupelo’s win last summer as a four-time All-America City; its recently acquired Class 4 fire rating, which translates into better insurance rates for homeowners and businesses; its leaner budget due to cost-cutting measures like not filling positions vacated by attrition; its efforts to promote health and education; and its new capital funds budget to improve parks and neighborhoods.
State of the City
– State of the City
– 4 p.m., Tuesday
– BancorpSouth Conference Center
– Free and open to the public