Part 3: ‘Going Green’ and Staying on Budget

(WHNT) – In this segment of Leadership Perspectives, Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks talks about weaknesses he’s tried to focus on, including fleet management.

Early on, Mayor Marks saw that the city made a good effort to replace police cars in a timely manner, once their mileage topped 200,000 or so.  But, garbage trucks weren’t being replaced as quickly.

“Those can cost upwards of $300,000,” Marks said.

Marks looked at using compressed natural gas in the garbage trucks.

“It’s cheaper, and the money we save — we can buy a new garbage truck at the end of the year,” said Marks.

Athens has 360 employees.  He said managing the city’s budget is similar to budgeting for your household, except on a larger scale.

“We’re running a business. It’s no different than running your household budget or a business,” said Mayor Marks. “It’s revenue and expenses, and you keep it conservative and see what you can afford to do.”

What’s Marks’ vision for Athens, host Paul Finley asks?

Marks said he wants to continue to build on the quality of life.  Athens was also voted #3 most business-friendly city in Alabama recently, he said, and it’s important to add more retail and industry.

“We’ll keep the budget screwed down, keep the services going to the citizens, and keep that infrastructure,” said Mayor Marks.