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Paragould's Mayor outlines growth and community plans in State of the City

Paragould City Council
Laila M. Casiano
Delta Digital News Service
Paragould City Council

PARAGOULD, Ark. — Paragould Mayor Josh Agee delivered the State of the City address during Monday’s city council meeting. The speech commended the city’s growth and progress by focused on the community, improvements and future policy agendas for 2024-2025.

Before Agee delivered the speech, the council approved the 2023 Amended Annual Budget, where estimated revenues and bank balances totaled $56.62 million dollars, appropriation figures (expenditures and transfers out) totaled $31.89 million dollars and unappropriated funds totaled to $24.73 million dollars.

The department expenditures and totals were as follows: Airport ($1.237 million); emergency 911 ($1.625 million); fire department ($4.065 million); police ($5.331 million); sanitation ($2.435 million); jail ($36,844); mosquito control ($171,074.92); parks and recreation ($2.975 million) and the administration and miscellaneous department (health office, insurance, postage, radio expenses, uniforms, utilities, etc.) expenditures totaled to $7.253 million.

General fund totaled $16.65 million and street fund totaled $8.42 million. Most expenditures went to Paragould’s public safety, enchanting Agee’s sentiment on the city’s growth, progress, and development.

“As the city of Paragould embraces the start of a new year, the momentum of 2023 has set the stage for continued growth and prosperity,” Agee said. “We will continue to meet challenges head-on and work diligently to improve our future with a spirit of community and a commitment to progress.”

The address highlighted Paragould’s economic landscape in 2023, noting significant strides in infrastructure developments. Key projects such as the Community Pavilion, the fire and police training facility, the workforce development center named The G.I.N and the “largest” public/private partnership powered by the First National Bank, called The Station, enhanced the community landscape and growth.

The contribution of new residents moving to Paragould impacted the city’s median income (the highest recorded in history according to the Census Bureau).

Agee spoke about Paragould’s Code Enforcement, highlighting 1,214 worked cases and 1,153 property clean-ups, including 51 junk vehicles and 35 property condemnation cases. The Code Enforcement showed a renewed focus on unlicensed salvage yards and the creation of a land bank commission last year, establishing three areas known as the Overlay Districts, which aimed to revitalize existing legacy neighborhoods.

Street infrastructures, managed by the Public Works Department, are dedicated to maintaining and improving essential infrastructure to ensure safety, functionality and quality of life for Paragould residents.

In 2023, Paragould’s fire department made critical advancements and contributions to public safety by acquiring a new 107-foot aerial truck and adding a 3,840 square-foot fire/police training facility for training exercises, drills and simulation. The fire department achieved excellence in emergency response, community engagement and improvements in service delivery despite being understaffed by 24 personnel, according to the

The State of the City address also covered other areas such as the police department, 911 center, planning and development offices, the airport, parks and recreation, downtown revitalization and economic development.

Additionally, Agee praised the contributions made by department heads who handle Paragould’s community and development. Paragould City Clerk Andrea Williams expressed pride in the proactive nature of department heads.

“Every department head is very proactive. They are all very financially sound and make it a priority to make the city the best that they can, not just financially, but for the quality of life for our citizens,” Williams said.

Mark Rowland, Ward 1 Position 1, expressed gratitude towards the financial heads of the department for their work in 2023.

“We’ve done a good job managing finances. I think the mayor has done a good job taking care of what the mayor takes care of,” Rowland said.

Paragould’s State of the City reflected dedication to progress.

In other business, the city council members:

  • Approved a resolution to declare a building and/or structure within the corporate limit of the city of Paragould
  • Approved a resolution to condemn a building located at 303 N. 15th Ave.
Laila Casiano is a student in the multimedia journalism program in the School of Media and Journalism at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
Delta Digital News Service is a working news lab environment for graduate and undergraduate students that feeds content to news organizations of all sizes and types. The lab serves as an anchor project for Arkansas State University’s School of Media and Journalism multimedia journalism program.