New infrastructure projects featured in growing Athens budget

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 8:37 AM CDT
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ATHENS, Ala. (WAFF) - Like many cities across north Alabama, Athens is growing.

The city’s new budget totals $34.8 million. Last year’s budget came in about $2 million under the current total.

Athens Mayor William “Ronnie” Marks says the majority of that pay goes to pay increases for police officers and firefighters, insurance costs and infrastructure projects.

He said the money quickly adds up especially when they’re preparing for more people to move to Athens. Right now, Athens is the second-fastest-growing city in Alabama, right after Foley City. Mayor Marks says the biggest challenge with a growing city is infrastructure.

“As most of the cities around us would know, planning - and Madison certainly dealt with - planning for the future is expensive but it’s also something that we have to do.”

Marks says he has a comprehensive infrastructure plan that’s going to be finalized over the next two months. He’s allocating $5.4 million to one infrastructure project alone. His main priority is expanding sewerage throughout the growing area. He plans to connect the water treatment plants from the center of Athens out to new developments like Mazda-Toyota and Buc-ee’s. These two projects are set to give jobs to hundreds.

Mayor Marks says he’s anticipating a lot of growth in those areas so he wants to be sure he’s ready for all of his new Athens residents.

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