Keeping El Centro a great place to work, do business and raise a family were the starting themes Mayor Benjamin Solomon discussed while addressing county and city officials during the State of the City address today.
But Solomon, mayor for the second time in his political career, didn’t shy away during his speech from the struggles the city has been facing.
Said Solomon: “2012 was a year in which the city had to do more with less. It seems we are all doing more with less, and the cities are no different. One good thing about working with less, we are getting a lot of practice at it and we think we are doing good.”
He noted that since 2009 the city has reduced its expenditures by 25 percent.
“That’s over $8.5 million,” he said.
Solomon also said that the city’s focus has remained on critical services and infrastructure, which he referred to as “key to any city.”
More than 85 percent of the roads have been paved and the remaining balance is planned to be repaved starting in the spring, he said. This includes the widening of La Brucherie Road at Main Street.
Still, “while we are experiencing moderate growth in some parts of the city, other areas continue to struggle. The downtown has been struggling with a changing economy for several decades,” said Solomon, who remembered previous landmarks such as the Fox Theatre are now long gone.
But Solomon then listed the various projects planned for downtown’s vicinity, starting with the groundbreaking for a new bus transfer station.
This project, Solomon said, will bring more people to downtown. He estimates that some 2,000 people per day will pass through the bus transfer station.
Moreover, the mayor listed the indoor sports complex and the much-anticipated skate park, both scheduled to be completed toward the end of this year or early 2014.
Both projects will also be located in proximity to the downtown, and according to Solomon, these projects are likely to increase downtown’s foot traffic.
Solomon also discussed an upcoming local vendor preference ordinance that the city continues to craft as a decision on this ordinance was continued late last year.
He noted he is hopeful about the coming budget and the first review expected to begin late February.
In concluding his speech, Solomon said: “We have a shining past with opportunities and there is no doubt that we will continue to shine with every great opportunity of 2013 and beyond.”
He called for residents to work side by side with the city.
“If it is to be, it is up to me. If we want something done we have to do it ourselves and I’m asking you to join me in making El Centro a better city,” Solomon said.
Staff Writer Alejandro Dávila can be reached at 760-337-3445 or email@example.com
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