Metro Roundup: Mayor of Homewood gives address on state of town
Homewood Mayor Patrick McClusky delivered his second State of the Town address at the Homewood Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Jan. 18, updating members on the town’s progress in 2021 as well as developments at come in 2022.
McClusky announced a citizen portal that allows Homewood residents to report power outages, potholes, sewer and water problems, and traffic problems to the City. He also announced that the police and fire departments have completed 90% of the KultureCity sensory training program. McClusky also spoke about the Homewood Police Department’s use of force policy, the launch of the city’s new stormwater management plan which is now available on the city’s website, and a master water management plan. rainfall which will begin next month.
The master plan will initiate a citywide study and implementation plan for Homewood’s storm sewers, he said.
“These projects aren’t done by one person,” McClusky said. “We need guidance and a sense of community to help us persevere.”
McClusky also provided chamber members with a citywide financial report as well as individual reports on Homewood’s police and fire departments.
The Mayor reported a 16% increase in sales tax revenue over fiscal 2020, an 8% increase in property tax revenue, a 28% increase in lodging tax revenue, a 38% increase in building permit revenue, a 30% increase in library revenue, and a 99% increase in parks and recreation revenue.
The city’s general fund budget for 2022 is more than $58 million, with a capital budget of $7 million, McClusky said.
The crime rate in Homewood is down more than 17% from 2019 before the pandemic and 30% from 2015, he said.
In 2021, the Homewood Fire Department implemented a new physical training regiment, completed 34 hours of training among 75 firefighters, updated its training facility on Snow Drive, and recruited 14 firefighters.
The fire department will also receive a new fire truck in 2022 to replace Ladder 6, which has been in service since 1996, he said.
The mayor said the department expects an assessment by the Office of Insurance Services. ISO fire ratings are done by the bureau every three years, with the department receiving the highest rating in 2019, McClusky said.
The Homewood Public Library has been hit hard by the pandemic for the second year in a row, with the library not returning to pre-pandemic hours with full staff until July 2021, the mayor said.
“Even with these constraints, the library remained a vital part of the community and continued to provide excellent service to our residents,” said McClusky.
He said the library’s 2020 statistics, which weren’t released until 2021, showed the library ranked No. 1 in the state for circulation for a library its size.
McClusky applauded the efforts of Homewood City Schools Superintendent Justin Hefner and the school board for making tough decisions.
“I believe the schools in the city of Homewood are in good hands and I look forward to seeing success for years to come,” McClusky said.
“I can’t think of anything better to say than to say thank you,” he said. “Thank you to Homewood, thank you to our citizens, thank you to our businesses, our municipal employees and our councillors.