Germantown, Tennessee: Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy.
What do you feel will be the biggest economic challenges for Germantown in 2012?
Continued recovery of the vibrancy of our retail community and restoration of steady development in both commercial and residential properties. Total retail sales have strengthened throughout 2011, as they did through the latter months of 2010. While commercial space occupancy has improved, we still have desirable office and retail space available. From city hall's viewpoint, sales tax revenues have rebounded but remain short of the peak before the recession. The variance has put more pressure on the property tax which, at the same time, has been affected by a slower rate of development, both commercial and residential.
What do you feel will be Germantown's greatest assets in 2012?
Desirable office and retail space--desirable not only for the opportunities of serving the Germantown market population but also for the visual attractiveness, convenience, and sense of safety and security that appeals to customers from within and beyond Germantown. Contrary to some perceptions, there are prime properties for new development, and we are poised for creative, innovative redevelopment through our Smart Growth district. We have a well-educated workforce. The medical community has increasingly identified the advantages of a Germantown location for its few-minutes-away accessibility to Methodist Le Bonheur, Baptist East, Baptist Collierville, St. Francis, and Baptist Rehab hospitals, making it ideal for a practice, clinic, and/or residence. City government is completely focused on the "triple bottom line," engaging in leading-edge business practices and making every decision in the context of short- and long-term fiscal, environmental, and social sustainability.
What is the outlook for Germantown in 2012?
The role of city government is to provide high-quality services that will meet--and hopefully exceed--the expectations of the businesses already here and be attractive to those taking a look at us. We are positioned to do that. Our Triple A bond rating from both Standard & Poor's and from Moody's points to our stable fiscal management, including control of debt. We have policies in place for public-private partnerships to facilitate business development and redevelopment.
What are your goals for economic growth for Germantown in 2012?
* Retail sales exceeding pre-recession levels, from existing and new stores/services.
* New/redevelopment in Smart Growth district by significant investor.
* Recruitment of corporate regional or national offices for Forest Hill district.
* Groundbreaking for substantial medical facilities.
How will you measure the success of these goals?
Respectively, sales tax revenues for the first and the application/approval of development contracts on the three others.
Special thanks to Jeanie Underwood, Mark Heuberger, and J. Higbee for their assistance with these interviews.