News Courier: The city’s most recent financial audit was released last week in a special session. City leadership says the audit paints a positive financial picture. As mayor, what will you do to ensure the city remains on sound financial footing, despite continued economic uncertainties?
J. Bradley Horner: I believe the audit was forthright and honest. It tells us the current condition of our city and government. I would like to see long-range savings plans that would allow us to increase our ratings as our city population grows. This would allow us to be better prepared for a natural disaster and to get our businesses running at full production in a shorter amount of time. I believe that creating a community of confidence in ourselves and those around us will encourage a stable economy. I would encourage development in a balanced economy that is equally weighted for income and growth potential. The 10 major business models that have had growth in the last five years should be alive in our community to deflect any uncertainties that may arise in the future.
NC: The city and county have worked together to land new industries over the last two years, while providing an atmosphere that allows existing industries to expand. What specific plans do you have to keep Athens on the radar of any industry or business?
Horner: Success is when preparation meets opportunity. I do believe that the key to any business sector growth is infrastructure. We must have sewer, water, electricity and natural gas readily available for any industry that will move here. This also includes Wi-Fi and high-speed Internet services available with continuous service. With technology changing in shorter cycles than any time in our world’s history, we must be able to adapt to the market’s demands at a fast pace.
As mayor of Athens, Alabama, it is my opportunity to seek out the businesses that have long range plans and encourage them to build here in Athens. It is our opportunity to advertise in trade magazines that business owners are gleaning their information regarding profitable places to plant and grow their business.