Five takeaways from Van Buren's state of the city
Van Buren Mayor Joe Hurst gave a state of the city address at the city council meeting on March 1. He covered various topics from projects, revenue, and updates on programs in the city. Here are five takeaways from the meeting.
- The police and fire departments handed out over 25,000 pounds of food in 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the police and fire departments of Van Buren handed out food to families in need and delivered it to hospitals. School resource officers delivered food to children when they were not able to go to school.
- The Van Buren Planning Department received almost $500,000 dollars for the downtown streetscape project. Engineering on the streetscape is nearing completion. This project led to the city applying for a grant to solve drainage issues in downtown Van Buren as well. The city is currently waiting for the application to be accepted.
- County sales tax brought in over $3 million, which was a $300,000 increase. In 2019, the city received $2.7 million from the county sales tax: 75% of the county sales tax goes towards capital improvement and the remaining goes towards police and fire.
- Keep Van Buren Beautiful picked up 773 bags of trash from the streets of Van Buren. In 2019, the number was much higher at 1,174 bags of trash. KVBB uses court-assigned workers to help keep the city clean. KVBB will be celebrating its 15th year as an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful this year.
- The city will continue to improve the city moving forward, Hurst said. Van Buren will continue with its economic development, continuing to work with local businesses for their business retention and expansion plans, expanding its branding initiative, and continue to work on the new intermodal port, the mayor added.
"2020 was an extraordinary year," said Hurst. "I'm very proud of the work that our city departments did in making the best of a very difficult situation."