5 takeaways from the Alma State of the City

Ty Thompson
Press Argus-Courier
During the Alma State of the City on March 18, Alma Mayor Jerry Martin announced the completion of the city's streetscape project. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is being scheduled.

Alma Mayor Jerry Martin gave the State of the City address at a recent monthly city council meeting. Here are five important takeaways from the presentation. 

1. According to Martin, Alma was the first city to reach out to Micheal Pakko, Arkansas chief economist, and ask for projections on revenue for the city at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although Martin said the projections were "not good," because of their early action, the city was able to be proactive by furloughing employees to protect them financially and keep the employees safe from the virus. Alma was used as a model to help other Arkansas studies on cities during the pandemic.

Every department in 2020 also spent less than what was budgeted while absorbing costs due to the pandemic.

2. Alma had its first annual SADA Alma car show and a Fourth of July fireworks show that Martin said was the best they have ever had. 

3. Martin was chosen, along with 21 other city leaders from across the country, to participate in the Champions Institute. This group prepares mayors, city council people, tribal representatives, and other local elected officials for plans, policies, and funding that promote activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations, as part of the Active People, Healthy Nation Initiative.

4. Alma was able to complete its downtown streetscape project, and although a portion of flowers was destroyed due to weather, they are planning an official ribbon-cutting ceremony soon.

5. Moving forward, Alma is working on digitizing its ordinances and resolutions so the community may have access to them online, as well as forms that citizens may fill out through an online portal and an online payment option. This includes forms like renting the community building or yard sale permits. 

Martin is also working with city development groups to produce 20-year development plans. This includes the downtown development, economic development, and city development plan with the planning department and public works.