CACTUS, TX (KFDA) - If you take a second look while driving through Cactus, you'll notice new buildings and according to some residents a new attitude. Another big change is the city's budget surplus of about $3.5 Million, but many say the much needed changes and successes in Cactus wouldn't be possible without their current city manager.
Aldo Gallegos's five year contract with the city of cactus will be up this summer, but the city manager hopes to stay in Cactus and continue what he says has been a remarkable transformation of the city.
"Cactus grows on you. I love what I do and I love the fact that we have done so much in so little time," said Gallegos. "My plan is to commit more time, a lot more time to Cactus."
Gallegos became the city manager in 2011 -- when the city was at its worst. Four Cactus police officers quit due to problems with the former chief of police and city manager. Not long after the officers quit, the city manager was fired, creating a negative stigma for the town.
Gallegos stepped in to clean up the city.
"It was a realization of a goal to move it forward and give the citizens of Cactus what they really want which is improving their quality of life," said Gallegos.
The transformation brought a new city hall building, a pumper for the fire department, and a new police department-- which is still under construction. All things paid for with cash.
"Three years ago we re-wrote the rate structure for water use and how we bill accordingly and the last two years, through a lot of strategic investing and money management, we've been debt free," said Gallegos.
Now the city has about $3.5 Million in cash reserves. Money that has also gone towards remodeling city parks, sidewalks, and improving water and sewer lines.
Gallegos says bringing this city to where it is now was a group effort, with help from the mayor and council members to give Cactus an identity that doesn't come with a negative thought.
"I think that's what makes us a such a small community but a very proud community," said Gallegos.
Gallegos says their main focus right now is to continue adding more city amenities.