From the Office of the Mayor:
Mayor Matt Ryan this evening delivered his 2013 State of the City Address, “A Progressive Legacy to Build On,” in which he discussed how his administration has turned City Hall crises into progress by transforming the way the City does business.
“The state of the City is strong, and it is getting stronger still,” said the Mayor. “The more we build on the progressive legacy we have established with our many partners, the more our community will grow and thrive.”
See below for highlights of Mayor Ryan’s speech:
· Fiscal Crisis to Fiscal Health: The Mayor demonstrated his administration inherited a fund balance of $219,000 and restored it to more than $6 million today by making tough decisions and seizing opportunities. The decisions included shedding 70 positions, or 11% of the workforce, which the City undertook in consultation with the many stakeholders involved, almost entirely through attrition and without compromising critical services. Among the key opportunities seized has been the $6 million in FEMA reimbursements that the City has recouped, which in turn has limited property taxes by more than 20%.
· Strengthening Neighborhoods: Mayor Ryan also explained how his administration has strengthened Binghamton’s neighborhoods by redeveloping more than 120 blighted properties, promoting energy efficiency retrofits for homeowners, enabling affordable homeownership, upgrading local infrastructure in more cost-effective ways and winning grants to hire police officers and firefighters at no additional cost to the taxpayer.
· Bringing City Hall into the “Information Age”: Mayor Ryan also explained how the City’s many advances hinge on modernizing its workplace tools and staff capacity. The City already has completed more than 40 reforms as part of the Smart Government Reform Initiative. The includes an update to the new City website that will go live this spring. The most significant information management reforms are on the way, as the Center for Technology in Government at SUNY Albany will issue the City its roadmap to become a “Smarter City” in the next month. The Mayor thanked the City Council for joining his administration in this effort, and he asked for their continued support for these necessary changes.
· Local Economy on the Rise: The Mayor concluded by discussing the many ways in which Binghamton’s local economy is on the rise after years of difficulty. Signs of this progress include the $26 million in construction values for 2012, the hundreds of new residents moving downtown and the new businesses opening downtown and elsewhere. Mayor Ryan highlighted how his administration paired Alfred Weismann Real Estate with 20 Hawley Street and the Regency Hotel, which is now the Binghamton Riverwalk Hotel & Conference Center. He also underscored how the Binghamton Local Development Corporation has leveraged more than $14 million in private investment with $2.5 in loans, and he pointed to the City’s role in bringing Binghamton University’s high-tech business incubator to downtown.