QUINCY — When Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore first took office in 2013, he said city departments were still feeling the effects of the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009.
Central Services were dealing with budget cuts, the Quincy Regional Airport had no full-time airport management, the utilities director was retiring and there was a change in administration where political parties shifted for the first time in 28 years.
But through the past eight years, Moore says collaboration and compromise have led to the passage of balanced budgets, long-term infrastructure investment and persevering through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moore will be replaced Monday by fellow Republican Mayor-elect Mike Troup. Moore said Troup has been involved with the transition process he developed from day one and there is no one more prepared to fill the city’s highest office.
However, one piece of advice Moore offered to Mayor-elect Mike Troup and the incoming City Council members is to find a way to get to a yes.
When drafting the 45x30 plan, Quincy’s initiative to increase its population to 45,000 by 2030, Moore credited Eric Entrup, R-1, for helping to shape the proposal by being open to meeting in the middle on issues like the 1% food and beverage tax.
“Like every community, we’ll have challenges in the future,” Moore said. “But when you sit down, have a proactive approach and a collaborative approach and don’t just dig your heels in the sand.”
Specifically, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Moore said the city was able to lead the state in vaccine distribution because it was addressed from a community standpoint without politics.
“It’s really the fact that we got a group of people together, whether it be church leaders, business leaders (or) medical professionals to say ‘how is this pandemic affecting everybody’s life and how can we address that together?’” Moore said.
Moore said before he took office, the city would adopt structurally balanced budgets where recurring revenues were less than recurring expenses. This would be offset by using the city’s savings to balance the budget. Moore said this amounted to a $1.7 million structural deficit when he took office.
Since then, Moore said he has worked to restore reserve funding, which required a lot of educating and collaborating with the City Council.
“And it was so important because we ended up needing those reserves,” Moore said. “We had a windstorm in 2015 where we got no financial assistance from the state or from the feds. And then during the pandemic, it’s really helped us to have a healthy reserve account as our economy slowed to a crawl.”
Through his eight years of service, Moore said the one thing he wishes he could have handled better was the redevelopment of the Newcomb Hotel property.
The building caught fire and was razed in 2013, but Moore said a developer was interested in building a five-story structure on the lot with 20 residential apartments and commercial space on the first floor.
However, an incentive package tied to the agreement was met with resistance and ultimately led to the failure of the project.
“And now here we are seven years later, and that lot is still vacant,” Moore said. “And that is our town square, it’s where we gather together as a community and perhaps if we would have done a better job educating or our minds had been open a little bit more to doing things a little bit differently, we would have a nice new building there.”
With his work as mayor complete, Moore said he hopes to spend some time with his family, which he wasn’t able to do through the COVID-19 pandemic, while searching for his next endeavor. Regardless of what that may be, Moore said he will always be active in Quincy.
“I was born (here), and I chose to move back here after college and it’s just a place that I’ll always want to in some way serve in any capacity, whether it’s public or private,” Moore said.