Mayor Martini Says Sparks' Future Depends On Innovation
Mayor Geno Martini delivered his annual 'State of the City' address at city hall in Sparks Monday.
He said the City of Sparks, like so many cities nationwide, is trying to do more with less.
Martini said they have undergone some serious downsizing within the past couple years. He said the City of Sparks is at 1996 staffing levels. Martini said in June 2007, the City of Sparks had 646 employees and now they have just 445 full-time employees - a 33% cut since the recession. Since 2007, city revenues have decreased 20%.
Martini said the city doesn't expect to return to pre-recession levels for at least another decade.
"Property taxes continue to decline, a high amount of foreclosures remain, empty storefronts are still visible, and there remains uncertainty at the federal level as our national leaders work toward resolving the fiscal crisis in the nation's capital."
Martini delivered some good news as well. He said despite economic instability, there are signs Sparks is on the rebound.
He said taxable sales are trending up through the first six months of the fiscal year. Home prices are showing the best gains in nearly six years.
He said for the city to see long-term prosperity, everyone must get innovative.
One example of that is consolidation, combining efforts. He said one example of that is the one stop service desk at Sparks City Hall.
The center combines the efforts of Sparks' management services and community services departments to process building permits, business licensesk, sewer bills and other citizen service functions.
"This multi-functional, one stop service center can even process U.S. passport requests. Gone are the days when citizens traveled to numerous locations to complete much of their city business."
Martini said despite some serious challenged, he is proud of sparks.
"City finances are stable, we are in a stable, yet fragile position. Looking long-term however, we are not. It is for these reasons we must continue to aim for a sustainable and innovative sparks. Let us begin."
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