By KEVIN BOWDEN
Samburg Mayor Larry Gene Davis has been successful in juggling a wide range of projects this past year in his role as the city’s CEO.
It’s been an eventful 2011 for Samburg and this coming year will be just as busy if not busier.
Achievements listed by Davis for this past year include a new tourism push, a balanced budget and real estate changes.
As was the case in many areas across the region, spring flooding caused numerous problems in Samburg. At one point during the storms, the board canceled a meeting due to high water conditions. Lakeview Drive and residential properties along the town’s main street remained underwater for about six weeks this past spring and residents had to be evacuated to higher ground.
This past year the Samburg mayor and board of aldermen pulled financial support from the Reelfoot Tourism Council and instead established their own tourism board. Board member Eddie Fickle was instrumental in launching a marketing campaign that included leasing a billboard in southeast Missouri and publishing a new Samburg tourism brochure. Plans were also made to participate in the Indianapolis Boat Show in February to promote Samburg as a tourist destination.
“I think it’s doing very good,” Davis said about the brochure and the tourism council’s work.
“They (members of the tourism council) took things and have done very good,” the mayor said as he praised Eddie Fickle’s leadership. Fickle is a member of the mayor and board of aldermen and is also chairman of the tourism council.
It was through Fickle’s leadership that the city sold two Lakeview Drive properties in 2012 and used the money to finance a new City Hall that is being built on the north side of town off Highway 22 West. The new building has been erected and city officials hope to be moving in to the new facility this spring.
“It’s something for us to get excited about,” Davis said about the new City Hall.
The city’s current City Hall was once a barber shop in the 1960s, according to Davis.
Financially, the mayor said the city is regaining its footing as evidenced by its balanced 2011-12 budget.
“That’s the first one since I’ve been in office,” Davis said.
In the last few months, the board has been actively involved in trying to collect delinquent fees owed to the city. The board is trying to collect a combined total of more than $9,300 in delinquent hotel/motel taxes and garbage collection fees.
Looking ahead to what’s in store for Samburg this year, Davis is anticipating a busy 2012.
“There’s a lot going on in 2012,” he said.
There are several projects that will take shape in Samburg this year that will change the city’s landscape. The new City Hall is one of those projects, but there is also a Community Development Block Grant the city is applying for that could provide the city with up to $500,000 for affordable housing projects. The CDBG funding would help with new housing as well as housing remodels, according to Davis.
“We are just now working on that (the CDBG application) and I’m really excited about that,” the mayor said. “If we get it I’m really going to be excited about it.”
Grants are something the city is relying on to finance several projects this year. The Samburg-Reelfoot Volunteer Fire Department has applied for a $64,620 grant to purchase new equipment for the department. The city’s fire department is also moving forward on setting up a new radio system and has been given a one-ton utility truck by the Hornbeak Volunteer Fire Department.
“We are making some repairs and hope to put it in service soon,” Fire Chief Ken Hogg told the Samburg mayor and board of aldermen earlier this week. “It will be used to carry equipment to fire and rescue scenes.”
“I’m really proud of our fire department,” Davis said.
He praised Hogg and the other volunteer firefighters for their hard work on building up the fire department and for serving the city.
A state grant has already helped the city’s police department. Samburg Police Chief James Hack secured a $5,000 state grant that has been used to buy a new mobile video system and a new spotlight for his patrol car.
“From what I can see, it’s going to be a good year,” Davis said. “I’m excited.”
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.13.12