City is strong, postured for success; Mayor gives ‘State of the City’ address

BY Jan Murray

The city is small, but set to grow and is “postured for success,” Mayor Claudia Wigglesworth told some 20 citizens, plus city council members and department heads during the annual “State of the City” address at a Town Hall meeting Jan. 19 at the city’s Cultural and Convention Center.“I’ll tell you that the most important resource the city has is its employees. They are dedicated. They are professional. We have a tremendous amount of skills and knowledge within the city,” said the mayor. “Because of that we are able to save money.”The city operates with a $3.5 million budget. Over “half of the city’s revenue comes from sales tax,” the mayor said. “It’s our number one source of income here in the city.”Wigglesworth also highlighted the city’s Comprehensive Plan that was finalized in 2015.The mayor related the plan to a global positioning system or GPS. “If you don’t have a plan you don’t know where you’re going to be or maybe you won’t spend your resources wisely,” she said. “The city spent a lot of time and energy to (develop) the Comprehensive Plan, which was finalized this past year…It started with the most important people, the residents (surveys went to every citizen with an address with the city Water Department)…That formed the basis (for the plan).“The Comprehensive Plan identifies where we are going and where we want Daleville to be in the next 15 to 20 years,” Wigglesworth said. “Anybody can read it and get to know what the priorities are…It addresses our long-range future…This is a tool now that we are using to coordinate local decision making…to set priorities.”The plan is available for anyone to read on the city’s website at mayor talked about the city’s new Facebook page—Discover Daleville— that is kept up-to-date by mayoral staff. The mayor noted that most of the city’s departments, such as the recreation department, library, senior center, public works and public safety also maintain FB pages to keep citizens informed. In addition, she encouraged everyone to support the Sun-Courier as the city’s lone local newspaper. “All of these things enable citizens to stay abreast of city happenings and is also an aid to those people or businesses considering a move to Daleville,” she explained.“There’s a lot going on in any given week…Facebook gives us an opportunity to get information to people faster…It has become a very good tool for us to communicate,” said Wigglesworth. “Another great tool for communicating is the Daleville Sun-Courier…There are a lot of communities our size that don’t have a weekly newspaper. That is an effective tool for getting information out. They do a great job of covering us…” The paper is also available in electronic format at“Even though we are small, we have to stay progressive,” the mayor said after reading the city’s long-time vision statement. That statement, formulated in the late 1990’s, remains true today, she said. Reading the statement, Wigglesworth said, “Our vision for the city of Daleville is to become a prosperous, progressive community where citizens will be proud to live, where citizens and businesses will work together to promote both regional and local community well-being, that through all growth will retain the small town atmosphere inherent with the city’s historical past.”Accomplished in 2015, according to the first-term mayor, were an updated municipal code (also available on line at the city website); a successful area listening session in regards to the importance of Fort Rucker remaining in the Wiregrass; re-branding Daleville from just the “Gateway to Fort Rucker” but enhancing that with “Dine, Play, Shop” and making the name of the city large and bold on newly colored marketing materials; the resurfacing of Donnell Boulevard; the repair and resurfacing of Bruer Road and Livingston Street; wastewater treatment plant upgrades; the ongoing sidewalk projects; improvements to the Billy Adkins Recreation Center; improvements to the Senior Center; and sale of the Industrial Park ballfields (constructed in the 1970s) to a local simulator company, CSC.Looking ahead to 2016, Wigglesworth said the Planning Commission is working on a zoning ordinance update; the expansion to Culpepper Park; more sidewalk improvements; gully repair near the school bus barn; more improvements to the recreation center and the senior center. The mayor complimented all department directors, including the city library and the Department of Public Safety directors—Kathryn Brown and Harvey Mathis—both of who have been able to obtain grants in order to keep the library and DPS facilities and equipment updated and progressive for the community. Other departments have also received grants for improvements, additions and repairs.A joint Planning Commission-City Council meeting is planned for Feb. 16 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss zoning ordinance updates. It will be held in council chambers.The mayor said the city’s Standard and Poor’s credit rating is A-plus and that like a person’s credit rating is important, so is a city’s. Wigglesworth said Daleville has a great credit rating.“The rating is a reflection of strong financial management, good liquidity (rainy day fund/reserves), and good budgetary practices. So, again, we have the ability to get money drawn down from our bonds…All of our departments are very, very good at getting money from some place else…That’s always our goal, to make the most out of the money we have, to use the skills we have in our great quality employees and also try to find money that’s out there and available.”The mayor told the gathering that everyone must share in the vision and work toward meeting the goals set forth, including getting involved with city boards and civic organizations. and being aware of what is in the Comprehensive Plan.“This is about a team effort to come together to have a shared vision of what we see for the city of Daleville,” Wigglesworth said. “The state of the city is very strong. We are strong financially and we are postured for success in the future. We really are a city of possibilities.”
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