Cleburne City Manager Rick Holden delivered a state of the city and Police Chief Robert Severance discussed crime and accident trends during Wednesday’s luncheon of the Cleburne Lions Club.
“I trust you all watched [President Obama’s State of the Union speech] last night,” Holden said with a laugh. “Fortunately, the state of the city is a bit simpler than that. We, unlike the federal government, can’t operate in a deficit and we’re not spending money we don’t have.”
Holden said his tenure as city manager included some of Cleburne’s best and worst times.
“Sales tax revenues have cratered,” Holden said. “The last six months have seen double-digit decreases and we’re about $3,000 below [budgeted projections] right now and, as any one of you who have leases know, gas royalties [from leases and wells on city owned properties] have largely gone. But we’ve still managed to function without cutting services or laying anyone off.”
The good news, city and county officials hope, is the arrival of Texas 121, a toll road linking Fort Worth and Cleburne, next year.
“The city is going to grow whether we want it to or not,” Holden said. “People from the Metromess are eventually going to find their way to Cleburne because we’re the last quadrant of the Metroplex still prime for development.
“We’re one of the only frontiers left that has not significantly grown. So it’s coming and it’s just a matter of how we prepare.”
Which presents a challenge in several ways, Holden said.
“I often jokingly say that Cleburne is 100 years of tradition unhampered by progress,” Holden said with a laugh. “I think we forget sometimes that we are growing and changing at times.”
Nonetheless, the future looks bright, Holden said, and city leaders are busy preparing for the projected change and growth before it arrives.