by A.F. Mayor Marc Beitia
It hardly seems like 12 years ago that I was approached by Amy Manning to run for City Council; yet it will be 12 years next Tuesday that I was first elected to public office as a member of your City Council. In those 12 years I am extremely proud of the things that we as a City have been able to accomplish and I hope you are pleased with the results as well. Still, there remains plenty to do in the years before us as infrastructure both above and below ground requires our attention throughout many of our neighborhoods and even portions of our business and commercial areas. While our annual revenues from taxation and enterprise funds remain fairly constant, our Street, Water and Waste Water departments have begun to make some headway in the repair and replacement of some of the more dilapidated and out of date piping and streets. But much more remains before us. Beyond our infrastructure our ability as a community to attract and retain new commerce remains a challenge. There are no quick fixes in sight that I am aware of for this issue. That being said I do believe it will come in some fashion and form; and in that same belief we have to have the infrastructure in place or available to be put in place when it happens.
While community-wide recreation for our youth, and even adults, is not strictly a city issue, it also remains a concern especially in the winter months where recreational space and gym space is so scarce. Over the years there has been talk of a Community Recreation Center being built through another collaborative effort between private citizens, county, city and school district. Frankly, in light of two bonds failing for the construction of an auxiliary gym at the high school, I am all for some type of collective effort. Our youth need and deserve the various opportunities such a facility would provide.
I remain steadfast in my belief that a hiking and biking trail can be created between Seagull Bay and Massacre Rocks. While not without its own unique set of challenges I am convinced it can happen in some fashion. I still struggle with how slow the wheels of progress turn in many instances in the public sector and this trail is no exception.
The question has been asked as to whether or not the city has been responsible with your tax dollars. With reflection and hindsight I believe we have. Are there things I would have done differently knowing then what I know now? Perhaps; but as a city we have made the best choices with the information we have had available. Nevertheless, I remain conflicted on what is the best plan of action for our golf course as it continues to strain other departments as they annually backfill its continued revenue losses.
While these challenges and issues are not minor in nature they can be effectively dealt with and I look forward to that opportunity. When Sally and I moved here over 27 years ago as she wanted to go back to work and I started the Agriculture Education program and FFA Chapter at American Falls High School I knew little about this community I now call home. In those years we have raised three beautiful and productive daughters, two of whom have bought homes, live here and have kids in our schools. The community we chose as a home all those years ago has remained a home to our children, and become a home to our grandchildren. That they see fit to continue their lives here and raise a family makes me proud. That Sally’s parents, Don and Suzanne Johnson, have chosen American Falls as their home pleases me greatly and reinforces why I think there is something to it when I say that American Falls is the best place to live!
I look forward to serving four more years as your Mayor. I always welcome the chance to talk to you about how we can work together to make American Falls even better. Thank you for your continued support.
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