Connellsville Mayor Greg Lincoln said he will seek the Democratic Party nomination to run for a second four-year term in office.
The city’s finances have dramatically improved, and many new businesses have opened during his first term, he said, and he wants to keep the city moving forward.
“It was an unbelievable feat for us to get our finances straightened out. Our financial state held us back for years. It really was a chaotic mess,” Lincoln said.
The city now has a firm handle on spending and revenue, he said.
“We are down to the penny now. That’s a big deal for us,” Lincoln said.
He said the city had a debt of $675,000 and a tax anticipation (TAN) loan with no plan to pay it off when he took office.
The TAN was paid off in December, and the city borrowed a smaller $300,000 TAN loan for this year. But Lincoln said he hopes it is the last TAN loan.
“I’m very hopeful this is going to be the last year we have to do that. We have a good handle on finances, and I hope not to need a TAN to get through January and February. I hope not to borrow one in 2018,” Lincoln said.
Increases in revenue and savings led to allocating $250,000 in this year’s budget for paving streets, alleys and sidewalks, he said.
Replacing old streetlights with LED lights has resulted in cutting the electric bill by $3,600 a month, he said.
“We are on the uptick here. 2017 is shaping up to be a very good year for Connellsville,” Lincoln said. “We can’t stop. We have to keep moving forward.”
He said almost every business property that was vacant when he took office is now occupied by businesses that support the city. “We need to reciprocate that support,” Lincoln said. He said he would like to see new restaurants open in town, especially along the Youghiogheny River.
The recent opening of the Cobblestone Hotel and Suites was a major accomplishment that will impact the city economy, Lincoln said.
He said 75 to 100 jobs will be created after Highlands Hospital renovates the old Zach Connell School into a new facility.
Currently, he said the city is planning a new memorial for more than 2,500 military veterans from the city in the veterans plaza at city hall. Lincoln said drawings are being prepared, and the city will begin seeking grants and private donations for construction after a design is selected.
Lincoln said he believes in government transparency and accountability. He said he regularly provides information on the city website and his Facebook page.
“As long as I am on council, our city government will be transparent in everything we do,” Lincoln said.
He said he enjoys public service and wants the city thrive so his children can find good jobs there after they graduate college.
“I really enjoy the public service part of working for the city. I’m proud to live here,” Lincoln said.
Lincoln graduated from Connellsville Area High School in 1992 and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of South Carolina in 1996. He works for the North Fayette County Municipal Authority.