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MAYOR CHRIS MOORE
479-721-3747 (cell)
479-770-2185 (work)
chris@lowellarkansas.gov
 
   


The Mayor is the city's chief executive officer and conservator of its peace and has a statutory duty to oversee the enforcement of city policies and rules. This includes the responsibility of management and administration of all affairs of the city government and services with direct oversight of the departments of the city.

The City of Lowell employs approximately 60 full time employees.

State of the City - February 19, 2019

Good evening. It is my privilege to address you this evening. I would like to greet Mr. Burns and his staff, of the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce. I extend my gratitude to the city officials in attendance this evening, the city employees, and most importantly, the citizens of Lowell. Thank you for spending your time here, with us, this evening. I am pleased to present to you the City of Lowell, State of the City Address.

The past six weeks have been somewhat of a whirlwind here. After taking my oath of office, I immediately began the task of stream lining this government. For many years before, this government has bloated and is now living beyond its means. For governments, there are three possible ways of easing that pain. Federal governments can print money to pay for the things they cannot afford, while States and Municipalities can borrow money to pay for the things they cannot afford. This is not an option for me, as I will not preside over the financial destruction of this city over pet projects which we cannot afford. Secondly, a government can raise its means by implementing taxes upon the governed. This, too, is not an option for me. Increased taxation due to failed economic policies is tantamount to theft and only treats the symptoms of the problem and not the underlying issues. Thirdly, a government can streamline itself and increase its efficiency. This is by far the best option for tightening the financial belt and living within our means. Most everyone knows how to live within their means. Unfortunately, that sentiment seems to be lost on governments, both large and small. As government leaders, we must be careful to evaluate our city properly. This proper evaluation, coupled with the following steps taken to increase efficiency, will be a good start to turning the financial tide in the future.
We have taken several steps toward stream lining the City of Lowell over the last six weeks and I am extremely confident in the outlook for the future. I again would like to thank the city officials in attendance for accepting these changes implemented in the face of the large financial burden ahead.

The finances of the City are currently our biggest challenge. However, we have great employees and wonderful businesses and patrons here, so our finances should soon be under control. County and City Sales Tax collections have increased from 2017 to 2018, by 9.8%. This equates to an increase of $5,324,615. While this is something to celebrate, we can do better. The best way to increase these numbers is through free market principles of true capitalism. Instead of capitulating to only a set size of pie from which we pull, the government should do as our ingenious founders envisioned which is to clear the road of encumbrances, so our business owners and entrepreneurs can make more pies.

This leads me to our Community Development Department. This, like all our departments, is near and dear to my heart. This is an area where we have, as a city, quite honestly, failed our constituents. I pledge right now, that will no longer happen. We can do many things to help those who want to create or grow their businesses in Lowell. This City is primed for growth, we only need to step out of the way, so we can help people realize their own visions for their own businesses. I commit to investing myself, my time, and my energy, to bringing point of sale businesses to Lowell, like retail and entertainment businesses. My first step toward seeing this reality is stream lining our planning and construction policies and procedures. We will also hold accountable those who stand in the way of real progress by not adhering to written policies and procedures. This will increase our value, as a City, to prospective developers. We have changed the structure of the building services department. This is not the only change in this area. We are continuing to update the land use code and fee schedule to make building ones dream business in Lowell within reach.

Another, very important, issue which walks hand-in-hand with community development is infrastructure. This is a high priority for Lowell. We have several projects in place. One such project is the South Dixieland Road Extension. The bidding process for this project will begin soon. Because of its regional significance, it will be funded by a Federal Grant in at a rate of 80/20. When completed, it will be an additional North/South corridor to help relieve traffic congestion. The completion of this corridor will, no doubt, be a draw of people traveling through our great City. We must, as leaders, do what is necessary to increase the draw along that corridor to entice travelers to stop and spend their hard-earned money in Lowell. Additionally, the Arkansas Department of Transportation completed the Old Wire Road project this past year. We look forward to the opportunity which presents itself with that new corridor.

Along with street infrastructure, businesses want to see other mainstays in order to be enticed to build here. These include a robust water and sewer system capable of handling the needs of the businesses. To answer this call, Lowell is tackling the Zion Church Road project. This is an improvement project aimed at extending water and sewer services in that area.

We have recently seen an improvement of services on the west side of I-49 with an additional Fire Station which went into service in April of 2018. The increase in service has brought very real monetary challenges to this City. I am currently working with the Fire Chief to stream line the response policy. This will ensure only needed personnel will be responding to a call for service and others will still be available for additional calls. This will cut down on a number of costs associated with operating this emergency service. We will find the optimal balance, for Lowell, between providing excellent emergency services and doing so in a fiscally responsible manner. In the coming days, the fire department will see many changes. I would like to thank Chief Mike Morris for his many years of service to this community. Chief Morris has notified me of his intention to retire from the Lowell Fire Department, effective in June. He will assist in transitioning his duties to others, so the citizens will not see a lapse in service.

The other side of the emergency service coin is the police department. It, too, is filled with highly competent individuals who are driven to provide professional, customer service oriented, police service in order to preserve life, liberty, and property while promoting public safety. The steps we are taking to consolidate the department for efficiency are, new shift assignments with more officers overnight, as well as retaining the Animal Shelter as a part of the police department, instead of its own department, and restructuring within the department. For the police department, I am focused on taking this great group of employees and empowering them with training. At one point, our police department was one of the most well-trained departments in the area; we aim for that goal again. We have also taken steps to retain our officers at a higher rate, through benefits. We are working on a minimum staffing policy which will ensure enough officers will always be available to handle any issue. With more resources, that means crimes will be more effectively investigated. This should mean more closed cases.

As criminal cases close and criminal charges are filed, that will increase the docket for the district court. Our court employees are some of the unsung heroes of this City. They constantly deal with overcrowding in the court facility and a steady stream of criminal and traffic violations from a variety of agencies. This case load will only increase as our population increases and our rate of case closure increases.

As our population increases, all facets of the City will be impacted. As more people inquire about our great City, the city hall employees have a larger and larger impact on perspective residents and business owners. They serve as ambassadors for the City of Lowell. I thank them for their continued commitment to customer service.

As you can see, the State of the City is a challenge. This is a challenge I eagerly accept. This challenge will be overcome, and we will be better than ever. Through stream-lining and efficiency, we will master these tests. The trials we face will make us better, once we repair the damage. We must have resolve. Resolve to stick to our principles, principles which are tried and true. Principles as old as the country itself. President Reagan famously warned us, “As government expands, liberty contracts.” and “Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.” This government is committed to taking the necessary steps for private citizens and businesses to succeed, then getting out of their way so they can. We are all in this together. We must all work together to be successful. I encourage everyone to participate in their government. One can volunteer to sit on committees or regularly attend meetings. Participation is the key; no matter how small a part you may feel like you play, it is integral. I look forward to working with everyone to make the City of Lowell the best it can be.
Thank you very much for being here this evening. May God bless you, your family, and this City.
 

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City of Lowell, Arkansas
216 N Lincoln St
Lowell, AR 72745
479-770-2185
FAX 479-770-2106

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