If you needed your spirits uplifted on Tuesday morning, the best place to be wasn’t in church, it was at the annual Spotlight Breakfast hosted by the City of Sierra Vista.
Gathered in the Student Union on the Cochise County campus, city officials highlighted the good news on the local economy, Fort Huachuca and plans to improve the community.
At the top of the “good news” list was the opening presentation by Mayor Rick Mueller, who looked strong after a recent health scare. He credited the work accomplished in his absence by city staff and stepped away from the podium to a healthy round of applause.
City Manager Chuck Potucek reported on a steady recovery of the local economy, the housing market and on Fort Huachuca, where the number of military personnel has returned to levels recorded prior to the last recession.
Increases in sales tax collections have generated enough revenue during the past two years to allow the city to consider investing in projects that are expected to provide long-term savings. Artificial turf at local parks and ballfields will improve the usability of these facilities, helping to attract more events that ultimately generate more revenue for the city and the local economy. Repair of the “wave machine” at The Cove is again on the project list, after attendance at the local swimming facility dropped off, and city officials believe it will rebound when the attraction is fixed.
Tuesday’s “spotlight” offered ample evidence that Sierra Vista appears to have rebounded from the devastating recession that gripped the city and Cochise County almost a decade ago. Housing sales are up, the median price of houses has increased, unemployment is down and sales tax revenue has increased about 4 percent each year for the past several years.
While new construction is still relatively slow, the number of remodeling projects have increased and Potucek reported local contractors can’t keep up with the demand.
Compared to recent history, this prosperity represents a new challenge for city officials. While we’re glad to report that the current economic picture is rosy, we’re watching closely to see how our local government manages this good fortune.
From what we heard at Tuesday’s breakfast, city officials are thus far doing a good job maximizing the opportunities created by a better economy.