Ozark Mayor Reflects on 2010

By: Denise Bradberry Email
By: Denise Bradberry Email

The City of Ozark has celebrated developments and also faced challenges with the current economy.

News 4 sat down with Mayor Billy Blackwell to discuss the past year and what he feels is in store for the future.

2010 in Ozark brought the struggle to replace an aging Carroll High School and after a tax increase vote failed, school leaders didn't give up, eventually qualifying for a school construction bond to fund the project.

"That was huge for our community. That was one of the very first things and one of the largest things," says Mayor Billy Blackwell.

The city ambulance transport service was also started and despite the controversial addition paramedics made their first run in October.

“It’s been extremely successful so far it has turned out at this point to be a very wise decision,” says Blackwell.

The city also re-opened the Flowers Center in 2010, acquired the Mossy Oak Trailer Park for leisure services and revamped Eagle Stadium.

“Flowers Center has been a tremendous asset. We’ve held a number of events there during the course of this year so we’re extremely proud of that accomplishment,” says Blackwell.

Grants allowed them to do improvement projects across the city such as resurfacing streets, upgrades to the airport, awnings downtown, and law enforcement equipment.

New economic development was also announced with a Troy Cable expansion, the introduction of Omni Flight to the airport and two new motels.

“That's exciting for us to have two new motels especially with the venue that we have with Eagle stadium and drawing people from out of town for tournaments and things that are going on at Fort Rucker right now, the expansion there,” says Blackwell.

He says the city's biggest challenge came in tackling a million dollar revenue deficit in this year's budget.

After evaluating the entire city, 20 jobs were cut and fees on services like garbage and lodging were added.

“that was something that was extremely hard to do but the economy was the strong factor in that and we had been using our reserve funds to fund that so by doing that we'll actually break even this next year,” says Blackwell.

The mayor says although 2010 held some successes and challenges, he's feeling encouraged about the future for Ozark.

“I really see some signs that our community is moving forward. Certainly some things are going to happen this next year that are going to be very positive for our community and I feel like our citizens attitudes and thoughts about 2011 are very, very, very positive,” says Blackwell.

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