By Jamie Miller
Mayor Jill Dabbs began the State of the City address by commending all[more] city employees and council members for their dedicated service and continued commitment to the city.
"This year has been an honor and a rewarding one to serve with it’s challenges," Mayor Dabbs said.
She prompted the citizens and elected officials present to be encouraged and to see the continued growth of Bryant through.
The vision of Bryant for 2012 is to promote a connected and unified city. New technology and communication improvements are a must to accommodate City growth, she said. "We must act our size," Dabbs said.
The City will be working in 2012 on being solution-oriented, working smarter, spending less and getting more done, the Mayor continued.
Although there is much to be done in 2012 within the City of Bryant, Dabbs was adamant about celebrating what has been done.
In the Public Works Department, she noted, they worked hard at completing overlays in 2011, finishing the Debswood Road project, keeping an aggressive mowing schedule during the growing months and working on improving the Bishop Park entrance. Current projects include the completion of the water tank.
In the Water and Street Departments, Dabbs mentioned, roads and culverts were repaired with 438 work orders being completed in 2011 in the Street Department. They are continuing to repair numerous roads and work at getting as much done with an annual $300,000 budget as they can. The Mayor referred to around $3 million in road projects that the city wants to complete in the future.
Bryant continues to grow in businesses with the addition of Orange Leaf, Whole Hog Cafe, Datsaburger, many residential neighborhoods and a new elementary school, she said. The Planning Department plans on insuring a finishing product with all projects in 2012 and to maintain strong working relationships.
The Bryant Animal Control Department has a 78 percent adoption rate compared to a 45 percent national adoption rate. "They are passionate about taking care of animals," Dabbs said.
The Fire and Police Departments accomplished much in 2011, according to the Mayor, adding that the Fire Department received a $18,000 grant from Firehouse Subs and bought three thermal cameras. They also checked on the elderly throughout the hot summer months to make sure they were hydrated and cool, among many other things. The Police Department added three additional officers and got $400,000 worth of equipment for around a $4,000 cost to the City. The School Resource Officer Program was also implemented back into the Bryant School District.
In Human Resources and Finance, new programs were implemented and processes were revamped, she said. In Finance, all city cell phones were moved to one vendor saving the city thousands of dollars. Fifteen acres were bought by the city as a result of the decision by the City Council for the future. The acres were acquired for a possible downtown area for Bryant.
The Parks Department opened the Water Center at Bishop Park and started the Silver Sneaker Program for seniors in 2011. In the future, "we will continue to grow into our state of the art facility," Dabbs said. A splash pad and pavilions are in the plan to be installed in 2012.
"We will continue to sustain a growing and thriving community and accomplish much in 2012," the Mayor concluded.