Lunsford offers ‘state of the city’ talk

Published 6:17 pm Friday, May 13, 2011

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford delivered what might be called a state-of-the-city address to the Troy Exchange Club on Thursday.

And, what the mayor had to say was accepted with nods and often punctuated by laughter from the Exchange Club members.

Lunsford is a self-proclaimed Troy cheerleader and expressed pride in the city that he leads and satisfaction and confidence in the direction the city is headed.

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“The thing that I’m most proud of right now is the Troy Airport,” he said. “If you haven’t been out there recently you need to go. It’s something that we can all take pride in.”

Lunsford also spoke about the announced retirement of Troy Chief of Police Anthony Everage effective Oct. 1.

“Anthony Everage is one of the most principled individuals that I have ever worked with on all levels,” he said. “He took over a good police department and made it better, stronger. We will miss him. We’ll try to hire from within from the captain’s rank.”

Under Lunsford’s leadership, the City of Troy has moved forward in all areas. The mayor gave credit to the “great people,” who work for the city.

“I meet with each department every week because I want to know what’s going on,” he said. “Then, I let them do their job. I don’t micro-manage.”

Evidently, Lunsford’s way has worked. The city’s budget went over $10 million for the first time his first year in office, 1982.

“This year’s budget is $46.5 million,” Lunsford said. “We’ve increased the budget and never added a tax. We’ve been able to do this by growing the tax base. We did what we needed to do, diversify.”

Lunsford pointed to the military facilities in Pike County and KW Plastics as prime examples of the diversification that has kept Troy moving forward even during the recent economic downturn.

“KW Plastics is the largest recycler of plastics in the world,” he said. “KW Plastics has revolutionized the paint can industry with its plastic one-gallon paint cans.”

The mayor also pointed to CGI that is “hiring every day.”

Lunsford said that his philosophy of industrial recruitment is not the norm.

“I’ve never tried to buy industry,” he said. “An industry will be profitable or not whether the city gives it money or not.”

The $850,000 incentive to CGI has paid dividends that far exceed the cost to the city.

“CGI didn’t cost the city,” Lunsford said. “Because of the jobs CGI brings, we were able to get water, sewer and street improvement grants totaling $5 million.”

Lunsford also talked about the one-cent sales that that was put on for the operation of the hospital.

That tax goes off in September and a decision will have to be made as to whether to renew the tax or break the hospital trust fund.

“The right thing to do is take the tax off,” Lunsford said.

The mayor said the city is moving in the right direction and the future is bright. Not all cities the size of Troy can say that and all Trojans should be proud.