OXFORD, Ga. –City Manager Bob Schwartz presented the city’s FY 2018 budget to the Oxford City Council at its June 5 meeting. The document includes some big ticket projects designed to improve the quality of life for Oxford’s citizens, but when it goes into effect on July 1, Schwartz won’t be there. He’s retiring June 30.
After a career of public service that started in Lexington County, South Carolina in 1973 and spanned more than 40 years, he came to Oxford in 2012 planning to give the city five years.
“I’m 68 this month. When I came here, I was 63. What I promised the mayor and George, who was the personnel committee at the time, was I’ll give you five years,” he said.
As Oxford’s city manager, Schwartz said his job has been to coordinate the activity of all three city departments, and complete projects the council comes up with. He has also helped the council draft the budget.
“The budget is the council’s way of saying ‘this is what we want to do for the next 12 months,’” he said. “It’s also the controlling document for the city. I can’t go out and spend money unless it’s in the budget.”
He is also, along with the city’s department heads, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city. He said he defers to Oxford’s department heads to run their departments.
“For day to day emergencies, it’s the police chief, the city clerk or the public works director. Long term planning, putting it in the budget, do we need to buy another car, do we need an extra vehicle, that’s me sending it to the council,” he said.
He also said as city manager, he has often had “six different pots on the stove at one time”. He supports the planning commission. He is also a liaison on the tree board as well as secretary/treasurer on Oxford’s new Downtown Development Authority.
When asked about a project he was most proud of, he pointed to the $1 million water line replacement project on Emory Street and Asbury Street.
“It was done several years ago and most people have forgotten it, but it made a considerable improvement to our water system reliability and quality,” he said.
He said he has no immediate plans for retirement.
“I don’t fish, I don’t golf, I don’t have any hobbies,” he said, “My wife’s been after me for 40 years to come up with a hobby. I’ll putter around the house.”
Schwartz said he has enjoyed working with the citizens of Oxford.
“There are many that I know personally who have been fun to work with,” he said.
For the citizens of Oxford he added, “You have a good city council who works to improve the city year to year. You have a good staff who works to keep the city functioning well every day.”