Mayor Saliba talks about the state of Dothan at Kiwanis Club meeting

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- The Dothan economy is doing great!

Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba addresses the Dothan Kiwanis Club at their April 10, 2019 lunch. (Source: WTVY)

Those are the words from Mayor Mark Saliba, as he addressed the Dothan Kiwanis Club Wednesday morning.

The mayor said the collaboration of all entities at the local, state and federal levels is why Dothan is seeing this economic boom.

The mayor spoke for about 30 minutes on the state of the city including: the city's financial and economic health, the employment rate and the new city manager.

Saliba touted 950 new jobs in the city since 2018, and the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in years.

He said the labor participation rate is at 85%, meaning people who can work are working.

That makes sense because the city has already collected more than $66 million in sales taxes, putting Dothan $3 million above projections for 2019.

However, while there are many wins for the city, the mayor said there are a couple of pitfalls.

"Our dependency on sales tax, to a large degree, and the revenues that come off of our selling electricity, and mostly those two large sources, can be looked at as a weakness,” Saliba said.

“For instance if the economy tanks again, like I'm sure it will go lower at some point in time, our sales tax revenue goes down. If we're solely based on that, then it could hurt us," said Saliba.

Mayor Saliba said in order to fix the dependency on sales tax revenue, lawmakers are looking at legislation that would help cities recoup taxes from online businesses, but they're not sure what that would look like right now.

He also said the city needs to grow to increase the revenue from utilities.

So even though there are many positives for the city's growth, Mayor Saliba said we need to be aware of the weaknesses.

Saliba says the city has about $30 million in reserve funds.

City leaders are looking into using them for projects such as widening Honeysuckle Road, building a new animal shelter or upgrading Rip Hewes Stadium.

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