The recession has crippled the economy, but Mayor John Fretti sees this as the “Year the Bleeding Stops,” in this year’s State of the City address.
In this year’s 35 minute address, Fretti will focus on the recovery of the Valdosta economy, how it impacts our state and city citizens and the triumphs of Valdosta‘s road to recovery in 2010.
“The old mantra is we have to do more with less, but in Valdosta, we’ve had to do less with less,” Fretti said. “And because of that, we have been able to do better with less.”
For the past three years, Valdosta has reduced its total budget by five percent each year and has had contractions in its workforce, but Fretti feels encouraged by last year’s steady increase in works projects and industry.
“We were proud that in 2010 Valdosta constructed a $22 million residence at Five Points in our midtown area,” he said. “Also since the opening of Cheddars, their doors have been packed with customers and is always very busy.”
Fretti also spoke high on the fact that the city broke ground on the new Grove apartment complex, a “Campus Crest” project that will house up to 580 college residence.
The mayor also talked of VSU growth in campus enrollment and the new $3 million practice field and soccer complex.
“It feels like we’re stabilizing and we may be gaining the confidence we need,” said Fretti in regards to the economic changes over the past year. “We’ve seen some indicators that may be hinting towards a slight upswing.”
Fretti said the city has accrued zero debt in the general fund of the city and has not asked for any help during the current economic climate of the city.
“Personally feel that in these low times that you should borrow yourself to maintain your operations and have others pay it back if you do not have the line of revenue,” he said.
Budget increases will start in the coming years after the 2011 evaluation because the economy is very unpredictable in Fretti’s eyes and when revenue does come back up, the city’s reserve funds will be replenished.
Fretti also discussed the water crisis in Jan. of this year.
The mayor said the problem started because surges of electricity came from Georgia Power to the water treatment plant.
His stated that his plant was so smart, it stopped the surges from coming in and “frying the entire plant.”
“When the surge of energy came in my plant shut itself down and gone into stealth mode to not let any surges in,” He said. “It took six hours for Georgia Power to fix the surges.”
He explains now we have a secondary auxiliary cord to different from Georgia Power so if the main line goes down we have additional power.
“I was out of water too! It was not fun,” said the mayor.
As far as the future, the mayor sees this year as the turning point to ending the recession that has plague Valdosta.
In 2010’s State of the City address, Fretti spoke of hopefully seeing the end of the recession, but now the light at the end of the tunnel is vaguely being seen.
“This is the year that I see that the bleeding stops, we stop spinning and spiraling down and level out,” said Fretti. “We may start to climb up a little bit.”
The 2011 State of the City Address will be held during the City Council at Valdosta City Hall today at 5:30 p.m.