Mayor James Hark delivers state of Hannibal address.

When Mayor James Hark stepped behind the podium in Central Park on Wednesday morning, he anticipated it would take around 30 minutes to present a summary of what the city as accomplished in the past year. Roughly an hour later Hark gave the impression he had hardly scratched the surface.

“We've accomplished quite a bit to enhance the quality of life and make Hannibal a better place to live,” he said. “We also instituted programs that will sustain our community for some time to come.”

Hark cited teamwork for the advances.

“We have a lot of great employees and departments that have worked together,” he said.

In a community with aging infrastructure, Hark noted the progress that has been made and which is on the horizon.

“We've improved our infrastructure, replacing two bridges this year which is pretty significant,” he said, referring to spans on Ely Street and Warren Barrett Drive. “Just last night the Council approved $6.385 million street improvement program. Were going to start resurfacing the streets in our community.”

Hark projects that roughly will be spent this year alone.

“Residents are going to see a significant change here in just a few short weeks,” he said, adding that with progress may come some minor inconveniences. “I think for the most part the public will embrace being inconvenienced for just a day to have a street they can drive down without having to dodge pot holes big enough to lose a child in.”

The mayor is upbeat about the possibility of adding a third community service officers at the Police Department. The new duties will be to spend time in the city's expansive park system.

“People who are walking and enjoying our city's parks will notice a difference in the level of security in our parks,” Hark said. “There will be somebody there maintaining peace. We'll try to eliminate vandalism and also some of the shenanigans that occur when kids are left unattended.”

Helping make the advances possible is the city's fiscal state.

“Overall, the cash position of our city actually improved,” said Hark. “Looking to the future our budget projections are that we'll make another stride next (fiscal) year.

“This is going on a three-year trend of our reserves growing despite doing all the projects our reserves are still growing and we haven't gone to the taxpayers and asked for more money, we just started using things a little wiser.”

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