Last year was a productive one for the city, Lebanon Mayor Huck Lewis said at his annual State of the City address Friday, but he believes this year will be even better.
In his fourth State of the City address, held at the Community Center at Lebanon High School Friday afternoon, Lewis said the city is in the best financial shape for 2014 than it has been in any of the three previous years. The city’s assessed valuation has increased, and forecasts show it will continue to increase for the next few years, he said. That allows the city to spend more money without raising property taxes. It has given the city room to increase budgets in parks, public safety and give a pay increase to city employees.
“Overall the city is doing very well,” Lewis said. “Even with our revenue increasing, we must be conservative in how we spend money. We must continue to grow so we don’t have to cut services.”
Lewis said the city has been very efficient in the way it provides services. When he came into office, he said the city was spending all of its revenue. For 2014, he anticipates have 20 percent left over at the end of the year.
“When you need a police officer or a fireman, or when you need to get down a city street after a snow storm, I don’t want there to be a lag in response,” he said. “You need those services immediately.”
The city is very closely following a financial plan, Lewis said. This road map is needed, he added, due to the high number of projects the city is currently working on.
See Saturday's Lebanon Reporter for more on this story.