By John W. Feary, Claremore City Manager
I recently had the privilege of presenting Claremore’s State of the City address at a meeting held by the Claremore Area Chamber of Commerce. Thanks to the continued investment by our City Council, businesses and citizens, Claremore continues to thrive. I’d like to share just a few of our many accomplishments.
We are in a strong financial position because of thorough financial planning and continued sales tax growth. In fiscal year 2019-2020, we had more than $12 million in sales tax revenue to support streets and infrastructure, public safety and capital projects. The City Council also recently approved a new measure to consolidate and refinance existing bonds, securing a lower interest rate from 3.7% to 1.59%. This will save more than $700,000 over the next 14 years.
Public safety remains a top focus, and our police and fire departments are nothing short of amazing. Last year, the Claremore Fire Department responded to 1,573 incidents with an average response time of 3 minutes, 42 seconds. Claremore Police had 26,713 calls, 2,048 animal control calls and responded to 515 accidents. This summer, we will implement a new countywide radio system that will allow agencies to communicate directly across departments.
Our public works team completed more than $3.7 million in waterline projects, inspected 32,000 linear feet of sewer lines, recycled 948,669 pounds, collected 13,500 tons of trash, installed 11,000 feet of new sidewalks, cleaned 43,769 linear feet of ditches and repaired 1,657 pot holes.
Our economic development partners continue to focus on providing aid to small business, expanding jobs, increasing housing and adding new retail locations. This year we announced new projects with Aldi, Burkes, Wendy’s and a new 73,000 square-foot Atwoods store.Improvements also continue at Claremore Lake, including new access roads and upgrades to our parks, restrooms and shelters.
Infrastructure remains a priority. We are currently evaluating and prioritizing needed repairs for citywide water system improvements. The analysis is 60% complete, and then we will begin prioritizing needed replacements and upgrades. This is a long-term project, but we are dedicating a significant portion of the City budget to systematically upgrade the system. Additionally, we are allocating $7 million over 3 years to improve our roads and $5 million to improve our electric system.
The year 2020 has taught us many lessons, the most important of which is to be ready for the unimaginable. This community is fortunate to have a strong foundation, history and continued commitment to partnerships. I am thankful that you chose Claremore, and I am honored to be working with the Claremore City Council to serve our citizens and businesses.