MAYOR STAN JOYNER
I begin this Year End Report letter with a great sense of gratitude and pride about Collierville. Our Town is stronger than it was a year ago and growing stronger every day. Several years ago I referred to Collierville being “one of the most desirable cities in the Mid-South in which to live and work.” Today, I refer to Collierville as “one of the best places in America to be.” This is truly an exciting time to be part of all the innovative and transformative trends that are shaping Collierville.
One thing I find motivating as I visit with citizens and civic groups is that Collierville has a new generation of business, institutional and community entrepreneurs eager to contribute to the goal of making lives better for all of the Town. This network of emerging leadership in our community is vital to our future in terms of driving economic growth, building a more inclusive community and ultimately making Collierville truly “one of the best places in America to be.”
As Mayor, my top priority is providing the leadership to ensure that the Town is being a good steward of your taxpayer dollars. Our biggest challenge each year is balancing the budget while continuing to invest in our core functions, improving existing services and minimizing long- term costs to the taxpayer.
During 2017 I am pleased to report that the Board of Mayor and Aldermen along with staff worked tirelessly to develop a balanced budget for the FY2017-18 fiscal year that does NOT include a property tax increase.
However, as we move into the next budget season we will find ourselves working to overcome some significant losses in revenue. The first and perhaps most notable is the State mandated elimination of the Hall Income Tax. The phasing out of the Hall Income Tax will result in the loss of $1.5 million in revenue annually.
Additionally, our revenue from sales tax has been trending flat and recently declining. I understand how someone might wonder how sales tax can be declining with all the retail growth we have experienced. Much of the decline in our sales tax revenue can be attributed to online shopping. In basic budget terminology, we are experiencing losses in revenue that we will have to compensate for. We have always “looked within” our organization to find ways to reduce costs through working more efficiently, deploying innovative ways of using technology and plain old holding the line on expenses. We will continue to do so while examining all our options to make up for the losses in revenue.
My philosophy has been to focus on financial strategies that are responsible, prudent and disciplined. I call this the “live within our means” approach to budgeting, which has been a cornerstone of the budget process since I have been Mayor.
I am especially proud of the Town’s strong financial position. We continue to hold the Aaa rating from Moody’s Investors Service in which they noted “The Town of Collierville will benefit from conservative budget practices, strong financial policies, and a solid financial position supported by comprehensive formal budget policies.” As part of our long term financial plan we continue to pay down our debt related to Town projects at ratios far ahead of industry standards.
Paying down this debt on accelerated schedules keeps the Town well positioned to invest in core infrastructure and facility needs for the future. There are new subdivisions underway throughout Collierville. Homebuilders continue to have confidence in the Collierville market. Single family building permits have increased annually, and median home sales prices have increased over the last three consecutive years.
We continue to see extremely high interest in commercial and industrial business development from national Fortune 500 companies to regional companies who see Collierville as a highly desirable market to establish and grow their business. Collierville has a unique competitive advantage with an expansive portfolio of assets including an abundance of developable land, access to major highway connectors, reliable infrastructure and a broad scope of transportation services. The recent relocations to Collierville of world class organizations Orgill Inc. and Mueller Industries are evidence that Collierville is on the national map as one of America’s most prestigious locations for corporate investment.
When I look back over 2017, it was an exceptional year in terms of reaching our goals and developing momentum for the future. The Town’s employees do a remarkable job every year, and I am most proud to stand with them as we give our best every day to make Collierville “one of the best places in America to be.”