VIDEO: Mayor Heines reaffirms city's commitment to infrastructure projects at annual State of the City address

Published on Thursday, 18 May 2017 13:40 - Written by FAITH HARPER, fharper@tylerpaper.com

Mayor Martin Heines reaffirmed the city’s commitment to repairing and updating the city’s infrastructure Wednesday at the annual State of the City luncheon.

“In the coming year, you will see continued priority placed on infrastructure improvement, particularly in the areas of water and wastewater, streets and drainage,” he said to a soldout crowd at Harvey Convention Center.

Part of that includes spending $4.4 million on improvements to the Golden Road Water Treatment plant. Those upgrades include the addition of a new pump to clean water filters and piping improvements designed to limit the production of chemical byproducts created in the water purification process, Heines said.

“These improvements will ensure that we stay on the forefront of clean water initiatives, and that we maintain the excellent quality of our drinking water,” he said.

The city’s wastewater system also has seen improvements. The system is separate from the drinking water system and uses separate piping.

Tyler got started on a 10-year plan, approved by the EPA, to evaluate and update its wastewater system, including 690 miles of sewer mains, more than 9,000 man holes and 24 lift stations.

“Tyler Water Utilities has already begun extensive amounts of data collection, surveying and evaluating manholes as well as using GPS to document their locations,” Heines said. “We are 80 percent complete with system evaluations, placing us 18 months ahead of schedule.”

The city also has made progress on roads.

Last year, the city raised its property tax by a penny and dedicated the increase specifically to road maintenance.

“We will seal coat 20 lane miles of road this summer, double the lane miles done in previous years,” Heines said.

Another $3 million was invested in the asphalt enhancement program for asphalt overlays, for 31 lane miles.

The city also began working on improving storm water drainage in 2016 - beginning a phased plan to address drainage concerns.

“In all, $8 million dollars-worth of drainage projects have been advanced through the Half-Cent Sales Tax Fund and are slated for completion over the next two years,” he said. “This is the first money spent on drainage since 1997.”

The mayor discussed other highlights, including the creation of the Mayor’s Mentorship Achievement program and the opening of the Tyler Innovation Pipeline.

The achievement program is a partnership with the Business Education Council and the Partnership 4 Education, and has helped 45 Tyler ISD students prepare for post-secondary education in its first year.

“The Innovation Pipeline, a small business incubator, is now fully-operational and open to anyone in the community who has an idea they think could be profitable,” Heines said.

Twitter: @TMTFaith