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Piccolo uses past plans to look to city's future progress

Sun Advocate reporter

Price City Mayor, Joe Piccolo, intends to approach his next term as mayor with a plan that reflects his previous terms and past city management. Part of this includes plans to continue the city's capital improvement plans, which involves goals for the next 5 to 15 years. While these plans have been in place for years, as they progresses, the mayor wants to continue to improves through streamlining.

"I want to update our general plan and streamline (the business starting process) in Price City. This includes managing our aggressive expansion plans and making good decisions (within) our departments," said Piccolo. "Good plans produce good results."

Over the past few years, the mayor believes that Price City has operated under a good plan, but he also wants operations to continue to move forward in an orderly fashion. According to the mayor, through good planning, he hopes that the city can be placed ahead of the curve, so that it's not putting out fires as they happen. However, when it comes to challenges, the mayor foresees that the city will encounter issues regarding maintaining its workforce, in terms of cost and benefits.

"The cost of labor and benefits is always substantial, (but) we need to maintain a good, viable workforce. With this challenge, health care will be paramount; wages aren't the only thing that employees need," said Piccolo.

The mayor made it clear that the city's health insurance would be his number one priority, but he also intends to address utility rates, as well as public safety. According to the mayor, utilities such as electricity and water could become significant issues in the future, due to a wide-ranging energy crisis, along with an aging infrastructure.

As far as current difficulties, Price is experiencing a budget shortfall, mostly due to sales tax declines, but the mayor indicated that the city should be able to pull through, relatively unscathed. However, some areas of the city budget will be affected, as the city budget ($21 million) is short around $200,000, but the mayor indicated that most of the cuts will come from capital improvement plans, rather than city departments.

"I do think we will weather the storm. We're always a little behind the rest of the nation when it comes to the economy, by about three or four months. We tend not to see their valleys, but do fall short of their peaks," said the mayor, who added that the area has experienced and weathered the economic storm before.

Growth, however, is something that the mayor hopes will happen. The type of growth he wants involves a steady, but stable expansion.

He indicated that the city expects to see about 2/10 to a half percent growth over the next year, which he explained does not constitute a boom, but, rather, a steady increase.

"As we face growth, we need to guard against losing quality of life (back to infrastructure) for the average medium-income earner," said the mayor.

Overall, the mayor emphasized that he wants the city to stick to its plan and make changes as necessary, but he added that he also knows that the community can stick together when the going gets rough.

"If I were ever to get sick, this is the place I would want to do it," concluded Piccolo.

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