Report of the City Manager
The fourth year under the Commission-Manager form of the Commission-Manager form of Government presents the high-water mark of municipal activities, progress and accomplishment. The major activities have been: A quarter million dollars paving program begun and completed; another extension to our sanitary sewer system, designed and built to provide adequate sewerage for one-quarter of the area of the City in a new and developing section; a complete and smoothly working organization put in operation in strict accordance with the organization plan adopted and shown by the chart in this report; an increased efficiency in the operation of utilities already resultant in better service than at any previous time; new water and gas mains on most of streets, and sewerage installed on all streets paved during the year; the consummation of a contract with a proposed hydro-electric power company for electrical energy, which, if put in operation, will mean a great saving to the City. Yet, probably the greatest accomplishment of the administration this year has been to establish in the minds of the people a confidence in this form of government, a continuing interest in city government and a determination to secure the best service possible, which insures the success of the future of Tallahassee.
Some of the minor accomplishments this year have been the completion of a three mile side-walk program; the building of approximately two miles of worn-out or unimproved streets into excellent sand-clay thoroughfares; the preliminary survey of a sanitary sewerage system for the extreme Northeastern and Eastern sections of the city; the repairing and putting in successful operation of two septic tanks that had become unfit for use through lack of attention for several years; the installation of a new $15,000.00 fire truck, which was bought previous to the beginning of this fiscal year and an addition of one thousand feet of fire hose to the equipment; the effecting of a five cent reduction in fire rates on buildings and merchandise stock in the business section of the City by means of improvements to the fire equipment and water works plant; the purchasing of a Worthington Axiflo Pump to double the output of one well at a reduction of pumping costs; the planning and building of nearly two miles of White Way in co-operation with the Citizens Committee, the financing of which is now assured and the material bought, so that the process of the installation is already begun.
This has been a big year not only in actual municipal accomplishments, but in the growth of the City as shown by building permits as follows:
Building permits, ninety-six (96), amounting to $402,060.00; repair permits, one hundred and twenty-eight (128), amounting to $51,390.00, making a total of $453,450.00 for the year 1923. The postal receipts were $71,942.94 for 1923, a gratifying increase of $12,193.80 over the receipts for 1922. The increase in population is in line as is evidenced by new homes and apartments houses throughout the residential section and several handsome business houses under construction. Three large manufacturing plants just located just outside the city limits add a big weekly pay-roll. The railroads are doubling their yard capacity, one railroad having to increase the local switching equipment from one eight-hour shift, to three shifts covering the entire twenty-four hours, and handling two hundred cars per day originating and stopping locally.
This unprecedented growth carries with it a financial burden necessary to properly environ and serve our citizens. Work must be done now, particularly must there be additional provision made for street maintenance, increased efforts in matters of sanitation, new streets opened and built, and a larger police force; more utility equipment, especially in the water works system. It takes from one to two years for this new growth and increase in assessable valuation to definitely contribute in the way of finances to the city treasury, which must carry the load of necessary added expenses due to progress. The development of the City must not be retarded so as to affect the growth of industry and business. It would not be surprising if this should result in a higher millage, for the Tallahassee municipal tax is as low as any city in Florida. A low tax rate does not necessarily mean a progressive and enterprising city. The equitable and economical expenditure of tax money is the important consideration and the rate whether high or low is secondary.