Mayor Clifford Veach talks of his 20+ career
Manila Mayor Clifford Veach holds the record for the longest serving mayor in the history of Manila with five elected terms. In addition to serving as mayor five terms he served as city councilman two terms.
Mayor Veach is not seeking re-election in the November race but has no plans to stop working for the betterment of his hometown.
"I believe my age will catch up with me sometime in the next four years," Mayor Veach said. "I also have a health problem I have to deal with."
During Mayor Veach's last eight years as mayor, the city received approximately $2 million in grants.
"As I recall, the city received over $1 million in grants during my earlier terms in office, for a grand total of over $3 million. These grants are vital to the city as they supplement our revenues. They allow the city to complete projects we otherwise could not do."
Mayor Veach has seen Manila continue to grow through his terms in office.
"Some of that growth came from other areas of Mississippi County, but some came from other cities, counties and states, because they believe Manila is a very good place to live," he said. "We have some five to six hundred people in Manila working in the eastern part of the county. Most have very good jobs. A lot of these good jobs were created, and continue to be created, by the one-half cent county sales tax for economic development the good people of Mississippi County continue to support."
Mayor Veach said he owes any accomplishments to the past and present City Council members he has worked with.
"During my time as mayor I have enjoyed working with city, county, state and federal officials," he said. "Being mayor of a city like Manila has developed into a full time job. The amount of paperwork that must be processed by the mayor is almost unbelievable. There have not been any rate increases in the cost of city utilities for the average user since I came back to the mayor's office in 2003. The general funds account presently has more money than at any time in the city's history."
Veach was appointed to serve on the East Arkansas Area Agency on Aging Board of Directors earlier this year. This agency services 12 counties with one board member representing each county.
"The vans you see throughout this area taking people to doctors' offices and other places are part of the transportation department for the agency," Veach said. "The senior citizen centers in some of our towns are partly funded by the agency. It is my opinion we need a senior citizens center in Manila and I am working to get one. They also provide the Meals on Wheels program and many other services that are really needed."
Mayor Veach said he would like to continue to work for the city as a part-time employee.
"I have knowledge and experience that will justify my employment," he said. "I have established relationships with state agencies that could be very beneficial to our city as we continue to solicit grants. I could also help with the city's finances and purchasing if I am needed."
Projects underway that will be partially funded through grants include a new maintenance building, heating and air conditioning for the community center, generators for the water department, and a new fire truck.
The citizens of Manila have a new fire station located on Olympia Street. The construction of the building was partially funded through a grant.
Mayor Veach is quick to commend Emerson Ambulance Service for doing a good job. Emerson has been serving Manila since August 2009.
Mayor Veach said he appreciates the support given to him by the people of Manila.
"Most people know I could not win a popularity contest in Manila, but I can honestly say that every decision I had to make, I did what I thought was best for the city," he said. "During my five terms as mayor, and two terms as councilman, I have always been devoted to making Manila a better place to live. I will continue doing my best for Manila in any way I can."
Mayor Veach is quick to tell anyone considering moving to Manila, it would be one of the best moves they could ever make.
He is leaving office upbeat and confident in the future of Manila.