It has been a busy year with a lot of emphasis put on revitalization and clean-up efforts making it easier for homeowners and contractors to renovate and build in Manila.
The city of Manila had 12 new homes built and 15 old houses torn down in 2011.
"Without the support of the council and the community we could not get anything done," Mayor Wagner said.
Members of the council include three who are serving their first year, Tony Hawkins, Dale Murphy, and Jason Baltimore, and veteran council members, Donnie Wagner, Linda Donovan and Larry "Whiz" Davis. City Clerk is Susie Parker; city treasurer and bookkeeper is Rebecca Hartgrave; and city attorney is Wes Wagner.
One of the projects accomplished this year, because of the graciousness of Ms. Doris Berry and her daughter, Ginger, included the purchase and renovation of the Jim Berry welding shop. It is now the city maintenance shop, giving the employees a place to work on equipment. Also, a new fire truck was purchased, a new police pick-up truck was added to the fleet, and the big project is the construction of a swimming pool/park.
"We are proud to have the senior activity center here for our senior citizens," Mayor Wagner said. "I have heard very good comments about the center. Councilwoman Donovan worked hard to get activities going. The one day a week bingo games turned into a full time center for the area senior citizens to enjoy."
Wagner also praised the city employees and department heads for a good year. "We had no turnovers in employees," he said. "They work hard and do a good job for Manila."
Wagner also praised the members of the Manila Fire Department.
"They are doing everything they can to make the Manila Fire Department the best it can be," Wagner said. "They are working on getting the ISO rating lower, which will help all citizens in a reduction of homeowners insurance. We also have a good ambulance service in the community. We have a couple of ambulance employees who work part-time on the police department. The ambulance service, fire department, and police department all work well together."
Wagner said he has enjoyed his first year.
"Most things went smoother than I thought they would," he said. "My experience in Little Rock (Mayor Wagner served as State Representative for 12 years) has guided me in the right direction when it comes to grant applications or when I need more information on different subjects."
Wagner said he is expecting a busy second year in office as the swimming pool construction begins and hopefully the construction of a new medical clinic with the partnering of Wagner Medical Clinic and St. Bernards in Manila.
Manila also has a new webpage. Councilman Baltimore and other council members have been working with SculpNet on getting the webpage up and running. The city's web page is www.manilaarkansas.org.
"The more we can offer our citizens and the surrounding area, the better quality of life everyone can enjoy," Mayor Wagner said. "We are pleased we will soon have a new Dollar General store -- one of the largest in the state, with approximately 12,500 square feet. Businesses such as this will help bring in sales tax for projects like the swimming pool. We now have a site for the swimming pool/park because of the generosity of Ms. Janella Wall Caraway. Citizens like Ms. Doris Berry and Ms. Janella Caraway prove what president John F. Kennedy said about our country and have applied it to our community: 'Think not what you can do for yourself, think what you can do for your community.' We greatly appreciate them."