Another year is soon coming to a close. Our city is improving every year and we are proud of the accomplishments we have been able to make happen here at home.
Our Christmas decorations are up and our city employees should be commended for their dedication in helping the city look its best for the holiday season. The ladies in the office helped put the wreaths together and decorated the tree in Agusta Park. This is what it takes, team effort, to make thinks happen.
I am very proud of our town and all the fine citizens who live here. We could not live in a better place.
It has been a pleasure to work with the senior citizens at the senior center and help with home delivered meals. Senior citizens are a very important part of our community and they do a lot of good for our friends and neighbors.
City employees as well as myself participated the the Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society held in May. We all had a lot of fun and raised $2,385 for the event.
Water and sewer lines were voted on by the city council in April and approved down to the state line. The lines have been laid and are in working order at the present time. The cost of the project was $31,000. We are proud to have city water and sewer lines down to the Arkansas state line.
In September a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new Tourist Information Center over by McDonald' s in the east part of Thayer. We want to invite tourists to visit the center when it opens. The city of Thayer and chamber of commerce received a 90/10 matching grant for $57,000. The tourist information center will have a railroad theme with railroad memorabilia. The caboose will have concrete decks on each end where picnic tables will be. There will be 11 parking spaces. New roofs have been put on the municipal pool facility and the cemetery office building. These are metal roofs that should last a long time and save dollars in the long run. The inside of the cemetery office has a new paint job and has been remodeled this summer.
Cingular built a new tower in the industrial park and revenue is coming in each month. The city is receiving $500 a month leasing this 75-foot by 75-foot lot for the 250-foot tower. Plenty of room is left in the 40-acre industrial park tract for growth. A new building has been built to house the electrical equipment needed for Cingular operations by the tower. Vaisaala Inc. operates a lightning detector sensor site at the Thayer Airport. This lease brings in $1,200 a year in revenue for the city.
The city board passed a $3 million budget this year. We have $200,000 in CDs in a reserve fund plus interest of $16,269. We have tried not to deplete our city funds. We have kept spending down to a minimum, allowing us to make needed repairs, replace some vehicles and pave some of our streets. We have been able to asphalt several streets in the city, spending $52,650 this summer for these improvements alone.
We were able to purchase a 1995 Ford truck for the electric department. We also bought two trucks for the street department, a 1983 Chevrolet and a 1993 Ranger. These were $10,000 as we bought good, used vehicles to make our tax dollars stretch as far as possible. We have received a Local Law Enforcement Block Grant for $9,000 for a police car.
Thayer Fire Department received a $21,400 grant from the State Emergency Management Agency, a part of the Homeland Security Grant Program for 2004.
Free recycling bins were made available through the Oregon County Recycling Center. Thayer is a part of this operation. These bins are available at Thayer City Hall for anyone who needs one. We were able to blacktop the parking area at the Recycling Center from grant money this year.
The city was given a $10,00 grant from the Solid Waste Management District to purchase a leaf vacuum. This helps keep pollution down by not burning leaves. Residents were asked to rake their leaves and leave them in a ditch or near a street so city workers can pick them up. A list is available at City Hall for leaf pickup service. The leaves are taken to a compost site, and once they have decayed they will be available to the public for gardens and flowers. The site will be located at the Oregon County Recycling Center where there is plenty of room. The public will be informed when they can start getting the compost.
We spent $17,940 for new rotor mixers for the water treatment plant, a much needed repair that was essential to the operation of the facility.
All and all, it has been a very good year and I am looking forward to a brand new year serving the citizens of Thayer. We have all worked hard and stood united, making Thayer a better place to live.
And now, ending my yearly letter, I want to wish you and yours a merry Christmas and happy New Year.