As the state and nation begin emerging from the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, City Manager Tammy Kretchmar is excited about Yukon’s prospects in the upcoming months and years.
The city is enjoying robust growth as sales tax revenue trends upward and familiar events are scheduled to return. Pretty exciting for someone who grew up in Yukon and spent years in municipal government in preparation for the day she would become the first female city manager.
“Yukon is my home,” Kretchmar said. “I think it’s a great community. I never had a reason I wanted to leave.”
Starting as a parks and recreation director to get her foot in the door, Kretchmar was quickly elevated to assistant city manager, a position she held for 11 years. Now, as the person leading the way, Kretchmar said she is still adjusting to the number of meetings and events to attend.
“There is never enough time in the day,” she said.
“It’s very exciting and there is never a dull moment. It’s very fulfilling to start something and finish a project. In city government, it takes a while to finish a project.”
In fact, the mention of projects brings a sparkle of excitement to Kretchmar’s eyes as she highlights things in the city that can be revealed such as a new Atwoods and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.
The city is currently working on traffic flow to accommodate the increase in vehicles on city roads. Kretchmar said Garth Brooks Drive has been targeted with new right turn lanes providing access to Interstate 40, along with changing the traffic controls.
“We will have to add an addendum to put in smart cameras,” Kretchmar said.
The cameras will replace inductive-loop traffic detectors which have become costly with maintenance. The camera helps ensure smooth traffic flow.
The city is in a better position financially for its projects with a 2.75% increase in sales tax revenue.
“With COVID we are fortunate to have it where it is,” Kretchmar said.
City staff is currently working on the budget for the upcoming new fiscal year. Kretchmar said she is seeking a flat budget as a precautionary response to the pandemic. The budget will be presented to the city council in May for its consideration. It could call for the addition of new city personnel to bolster a group that reeled from the pandemic over the past year.
Kretchmar said there were a number of employees that were infected with the virus which slowed down projects and shut down departments.
There might not be a better time to be a city employee as Kretchmar takes pride in having risen through the ranks to her current position.
“The thing I am most pleased about is it gives other employees inspiration to do better in the city,” she said.
Kretchmar added employee development is very important to her and feels it continuing education and training help both employees and city.
Although the city has canceled 2021 indoor events outdoor activities are moving forward. That includes a recent trout fishing event and the upcoming Festival of the Child set for May 1.
“There is always something to do,” Kretchmar said of Yukon’s attributes.