I just finished watching the State of the City Address presented by the mayor yesterday. I have been out of town so I love the opportunity to watch the goings on of city government off their website. If citizens are unable to attend actual meetings and other events in person, there is that endless opportunity to view it online.
As I watched and listened to the address, I thought he was going to hit it out of the park. He started off with the financial picture of the city. It was informative and clearly gave us citizens a financial picture that bodes well for this community. This information comes from the very capable people who work in the finance department so kudos to them for putting together a slide presentation that was informative and easy to understand.
The mayor went on to talk about unemployment, population growth, debt, and what is happening in each of the four quadrants of the city. Very well done and informative. I was thinking that the mayor was finally going to hit this important annual address to citizens right out of the park. The first inkling I had that he was going to veer off course was when he showed the slides on debt per capita.
He showed what the current debt per capita was and then he brought up the slide that showed debt per capita if the city were to borrow $100 million in extra debt. The exact amount he says he needs to build an event center. I thought, oh oh, a subliminal message to the "good folks." Made me wonder why we need to spend $65,000 to study the naming rights if he is going to have to go down the road of bonding the entire project.
Then there was his Wow, Wow, Wow story on the extra dollars in the cookie jar. The $4 million in the 2nd penny sales tax. I was now wondering if he was preparing this "great city" for the borrowing of the entire amount, less the saving in the 2nd penny sales tax, for the Event Center.
I was waiting to hear the status of public safety as it relates to the city. I thought surely that would be the next slide. A lot of tax dollars go to police and fire and in the past, public safety has been the number one priority commitment to citizens. Not a word, not a mention, not even a hint of public safety in the State of the City Address. Why?
Because he just has to promote his agenda for the Event Center. He veered off the trail on his "don't tell us it can't be done" sermonette. He started to sound like he had taken a page from Joel Osteen Ministries. He showed pictures of numerous businesses in town who have adopted the "don't tell us it can't be done" philosophy. These are private businesses, not a tax supported public entity. Hardly the same growth expansion analogy to support his Event Center vision.
He was late giving the State of City Address. There is plenty of history to guide him on what a state of the city address is supposed to be. It is not a budget address, it is a communication to citizens on the affairs of the city. It is the one formal time to talk about development, growth, what is happening during the year and whether we continue to be a safe community.
He started off on the right track. But then he had to go mountain biking off trail.