In the past 10 years, according to Lee, the city has grown by over 70 percent. As of this year — the city’s 50th since incorporating officially — Moody is one of the two largest municipalities in St. Clair County. And the city is financially healthy as well, he says.
“Our projected budget number this year is a little over $7 million,” Lee said. “Projected expenses this year is $6,900,000, and that leaves us with a net difference of about $135. That’s kind of low for the city of Moody, but I checked that number … and we’re over half a million. That tells you the tax income is coming in, and things are working well.”
Much of Lee’s talk centered around the city’s sewer system. The city purchased the sewer in 2007, and took complete control of it in 2010. Currently, the city has refinanced the bond issues for the system at a lower interest rate, and is moving forward with expansion to Margaret and Argo, as well as other expansions in the city as well.
“That’s going to promote commercial development in all three municipalities, as well as residential growth,” Lee said. “All operations now for the sewer system are self-supporting.”
The other big issue for the city is commercial and retail growth. Currently, Moody is anticipating opening two new restaurants: Shane’s Rib Shack and Bojangle’s. Moody also either owns or holds options on nearly 80 acres of property in the city, all of which is “zoned and ready,” according to Lee.
“The growth is beginning to come back,” Lee said. “We’ve all lived in the same economy for the last four years, and we know it’s taken a turn for the worse, but it’s beginning to come back now.”
Long-term goals for the city include a traffic light for High School Drive, developing a bypass route for U.S. 411 and promotion of Moody as “a destination place with new shopping and entertainment districts.”
Lee encouraged anyone in the crowd with concerns to visit him.
“My office door is always open,” he said.
Moody’s mayor pro tem Linda Crowe was highly complimentary of Lee, who has served on the city council since 1992, and as mayor since 2003.
“I am very proud to be able to work with Joe,” said Crowe. “Joe is a very caring person – he cares about his employees, cares about his family and he cares about this city.”
Contact Will Heath at email@example.com.