Central mayor looking to bring more business into the city
CENTRAL - Mayor Jr. Shelton writes to Central residents on a weekly basis on Facebook, updating them on the whatever is happening in the city.
This week, he decided to tackle the ongoing conversation of how the city is "growing" and any misunderstandings.
"There's a misconception that we have lots of development going on in central and we just don't. In the last twelve years, our growth rate has been .45 percent and in the last four years we've only approved four developments that total 231 acres," said Mayor Shelton.
Central became a city 13 years ago, and according to the State Treasure's Office, the city's population is over 26,000 people. Mayor Shelton wants the city to continue to grow but understands it's going to need more viable business making its way into the city.
The city's biggest concern is that over 50 percent of the sales tax revenue coming in includes grocery stores and other businesses. Right now, they're relying on their biggest retailer, Walmart on Sullivan Road.
"Big stores like Walmart, if they don't continue in the business model that they are currently in, then your sales tax revenue will certainly drop and that's why it's important to bring other businesses in constantly. And if you don't do that, then you're not providing a stable environment," Shelton said.
Central resident Gary Brown agrees with Mayor Shelton that more businesses would help with city taxes.
"If it's growing like this, then you might have to have the resources so they don't have to go out, and you know they're going to feel more comfortable living in the area of Central."
But it's not as if the city is going broke. Its financial situation is in relatively good shape for now.
"We have about $38 million in reserves and investments in cash... Not to mention about $12 million in the bank in our general operating fund," said Shelton.
The mayor also said he wants to focus on long-term sustainability in the city.