This will be the year that Paris residents begin to see some benefits from a one-cent sales tax increase approved by voters in August, according to Paris Mayor Daniel Rogers.
"The big thing this year is going to be infrastructure improvements," Rogers said. "Passing that sales tax was huge and our residents are going to see the results."
The sales tax hike is expected to generate about $500,000 this year. Of that, $200,000 will be spent to provide free trash pick up for residents with the rest earmarked for improvements in the city’s water and sewer systems. With the increase, sales taxes in the city rose to 10 cents on Jan. 1.
"We’ll be working on improvements that we’ve needed to do but haven’t had the money to do so far," Rogers said.
Rogers said he expects to be able to take bids in the spring on improvements to the city’s water production plant with work beginning in the summer. Also, the city will become a secondary water supplier to Scranton possibly by July 1 when Scranton starts getting water from Clarksville, Rogers said.
"At the water plant, we’re going to add a much larger clear well with three times the capacity of our other two. This will allow us to store more clean water. So, we will have more storage," he said. "We’ll also add a third clarifier and better and newer pumps. The goal is more clean water and be able to get off water conservation in the summer.
Those improvements are aimed at maximizing the plant’s ability to produce at least three million gallons of water a day and hopefully end the practice of water conservation during summer dry periods, which have become commonplace in recent years.
Rogers also said he’s going to take a look at annexation this year.
"I think there are some people who live close to the city that would like to become part of the city," Rogers said. "I’ve already talked to some and they are open to the idea of annexation."
Rogers also said he is going to continue looking at providing utility customers a levelized billing option. The idea was raised by Rogers in 2013.
"I’d still like to look further into providing levelized billing," he said. "I think it would make things easier for our utility customers."