Mayor sees light after year with debt, declining tax digest
by Kristal Dixon
kdixon@cherokeetribune.com
January 29, 2012 12:00 AM | 10854 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood gave his annual State of the City address at Thursday'’s City Council Meeting. While the mayor pointed out that 2011 wasn’t Canton’s greatest year, he said the city has laid the foundation for resolving its debt relating to its water and sewer fund and the Hickory Log Creek Reservoir and made headway in its discussion with the Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority about a possible merger.<br>Cherokee Tribune/Todd Hull
Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood gave his annual State of the City address at Thursday'’s City Council Meeting. While the mayor pointed out that 2011 wasn’t Canton’s greatest year, he said the city has laid the foundation for resolving its debt relating to its water and sewer fund and the Hickory Log Creek Reservoir and made headway in its discussion with the Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority about a possible merger.
Cherokee Tribune/Todd Hull
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CANTON — Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood got straight to the point when describing the year 2011 for the county seat.

Last year, he said, “was not Canton’s finest year.” However, the mayor told the audience during his annual State of the City address that there was progress made last year.

The city has laid the foundation for resolving its debt relating to its water and sewer fund and the Hickory Log Creek Reservoir, and made headway in its discussion with the Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority about a possible merger.

The city has nearly $30 million of debt service from the $100 million reservoir, which was built in a partnership agreement with the Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority.

The city has been in talks since last spring with the county to consolidate its water and sewer operations.

Hobgood said the city has also worked to reduce its overall debt by more than $15 million from the original $62 million.

“Although our tax digest declines with real estate values going down, we have tightened our belts and made budgetary adjustments without raising taxes,” he said. “We will work to keep taxes as low as possible and yet meet our service delivery obligations.”

The city also leased the Fairways of Canton golf course, implemented an emergency notification system for weather and other emergency alerts for residents, and made progress on its comprehensive fire protection plan, he said.

He said other notable achievements include the city approving a canoe launch at the site of the future Etowah River Park, moving forward with its Livable Centers Initiative streetscapes projects for Waleska Street, strengthening its ethics ordinance and working to revise its charter and improve customer service.

Despite a cloudy year, Hobgood said he feels 2012 should bring optimism and enthusiasm.

“The clouds which had gathered over this city on 2011 have broken and there is definitely a brighter day ahead in 2012,” he added.

Councilman John Beresford praised the mayor for giving a “factual speech.”

“I was wishing it was a better report, but it’s the facts,” he said, adding he thinks the city council is ready to move forward. “I think we’re going to see some very good accomplishments this year.”
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