Samburg mayor: Community has plenty to be excited about
Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2011 9:03 pm
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Larry Gene Davis
If you look at all this small town has accomplished in the past few years, it’s easy to see why Samburg Mayor Larry Gene Davis is optimistic about the future.
Samburg may be one of the smallest towns in the county — with an estimated population of 251 — but what the town lacks in size it certainly makes up for in progress.
Davis is currently midway through his second consecutive term in office as the town’s mayor. Looking back on his past six years in office, he recently took time out from his busy schedule to discuss some of the town’s accomplishments.
The first thing that came to mind was a recreation grant the town received and used to build a colorful new playground behind the fire department.
“That’s one of the major things we got that we’re really proud of,” Davis said.
Samburg, like many area small towns, relies heavily on grants to help finance city projects.
In addition to the new playground, Samburg re-ceived another grant that has been used to buy new equipment and fund training for the Samburg Volunteer Fire Department.
Davis said grant funds helped pay for a thermal imaging camera, turnout gear for firefighters and other firefighting equipment.
Early on in his first term in office, Davis said he was successful in securing workman’s comp coverage for members of the town’s fire department.
From the fire department to the city budget, the Samburg mayor shifted his focus to financial matters during his interview with The Messenger.
Samburg has been described as “the jewel of Reelfoot Lake” and, as the only city located on the shores of the lake, the town’s economy is driven by tourism. Several resorts, tour guide services and other small businesses are scattered throughout the town and provide city leaders with tax revenues for the town’s budget.
Davis explained that in the early years of his term in office, the town didn’t have much money in its budget.
The town is still financially troubled, but Davis said he and other city officials are working hard toward a balanced budget.
He cited the return of the waterfowl festival to Samburg as a major achievement for the city and one that has helped the town’s tourism industry.
On the bad news side, Davis said the town had applied unsuccessfully for a walking trail grant.
On the good news side, Davis said he is very proud of the town’s fire and police departments for their success in being awarded grants.
In addition to the grant awarded to the town’s fire department, Davis said volunteer firefighters with the department actively work on fund raisers during the year to help finance the department’s operation.
A $5,000 grant was awarded to the Samburg Police Department and has been used to pay for a new radar gun, a GPS unit and other police equipment.
“They do a really good job,” Davis said about his town’s fire and police departments.
Looking ahead, Davis said the town will be submitting a grant application this spring for housing development.
“That’s one of the things I’ll be working on,” Davis said.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 1.13.11