Members of the North Little Rock City Council on Monday continued discussions about the recently released 2017 State of the City report issued by Mayor Joe Smith.
Aldermen said they planned on continuing discussing various aspects of the report when they convene again on April 24.
North Little Rock has always excelled at being interesting,” said Smith. “From the moment of our unlikely creation by an Arkansas Supreme Court verdict, through decades of growing pains and city hall turmoil, suffering under the derogatory ‘dogtown’ moniker, right up to getting our own submarine, North Little Rock has certainly been a lively place for people to call home.”
Smith added, “It is a history that we are proud of and one that binds us together as a community.”
North Little Rock’s rich history provided an appropriate backdrop for the successful experience of the past year for the city, Smith said.
“We saw an old, beloved bridge come down, and a new one take its place,” Smith said. “A once deserted downtown continued its return as the city’s energetic commercial and entertainment headquarters, the same role it served for our grandparents so many years ago.”
Smith said North Little Rock is one of Arkansas’ most noteworthy cities today.
“After decades of little or non-existent growth, North Little Rock has become one of the fastest growing cities in Arkansas, a distinction it held much of the 1900s,” he said.
Smith said the future looks bright for the community.
“So we look forward to an existing future by examining our interesting past,” Smith said. “We review and find out what has been working the past few years. We see things we like and we inevitably see things that need to change or caN be improved. We adjust our procedures, remove obstacles, or invest in new ways of doing business and serving our residents, visitors and businesses.”
Smith said the city’s finances remain in good shape.
“The state of our city today rests on a strong foundation; the result of calculated, cautious financial management,” Smith said. “Over the past four years we have significantly reduced our debt and navigated a very complicated entry into the energy market waters. Our incredible team of department heads and supervisors have helped reduce expenses, so our reserve fund is healthy today but we must keep a prudent eye on the future and the inescapable obstacles that 100-year-old neighborhoods and infrastructure can present.”
Smith said future revenue growth is hardly guaranteed while increases in expenses most assuredly are.
Smith said municipal leaders are using every tool at their disposal to make the streets, sidewalks, schools and parks safe for all residents.
“The successes we have gained from our neighborhood focus efforts have been encouraging and help prevent and reverse the decline of our older neighborhoods. Residents have been our partners in these endeavors from the beginning and appreciate the support we give them as they look after their community,” said the mayor.