By: Mayor Tammy
On February 3rd I had the honor of presenting the 2011 State of the City to residents, businesses, city employees, and leaders from neighboring communities. It was a great opportunity to reflect on the previous year, look to the year ahead and plan for the next decade.
Meridian gained national attention in 2010 as one of the Best Places for Young People by America's Promise, one of the 100 Best Places to Live by CNN/Money magazine, and one of the 10 Best Towns for Families by Family Circle magazine. Meridian was the only city in America to receive recognition from these three organizations in 2010.
One of our most noteworthy accomplishments was the financial stability of the City. Our Finance Department assessed what was happening locally and nationally and used a conservative forecast for revenues. After the City Council approved to forego the allowed 3% increase, we then set our budget. We didn't overspend; instead we saved when times were good, which helped us to be resilient during tough economic times. We were not only ‘in the black’ financially, we maintained – and in some cases improved – our services to our community.
I also shared information about the expansion plans for two Meridian businesses that you may have recently heard about it the news – PKG (formerly ProMed Keyboard Group) and Scentsy, a Meridian success story. Overall, Meridian was also ‘in the black’ for number of jobs in our community; growing by 120 jobs per Department of Labor information bringing employment numbers closer to 31,000 jobs in Meridian.
It was my pleasure to announce a tentative date for the opening of the long anticipated Ten Mile Interchange of May 17, 2011. This project has been a tireless effort for many in our community. This isn't just any road project - this is a huge improvement not only for Meridian but the entire region. This will open an area of our city for employment and other opportunities. We hope to share more about this project with you in May.
An important part of the speech was looking to the next decade, and how as a team we have been focused on the City's planning efforts. Five specific planning efforts were focused on: 1. the City's Comprehensive Plan, currently in the final steps of being updated; 2. the Destination Downtown plan, completed over the last year by the city's urban renewal agency; 3. the Ten Mile Plan which will help guide the development in the area around the soon to be opened Ten Mile Interchange; 4. our Comprehensive Pathway Plan; and, 5. the City's fiscally constrained long-term capital improvement plan. These plans for the future are strategic and measurable; they offer flexibility to adjust to changing conditions but set a strong direction for a city that's “built for business and designed for living”.
I also talked about our plans as the leader in using Class A reclaimed water. Reclaimed water can be used for parks, golf courses, your yard, and by our businesses for manufacturing or other services to customers. We are setting a goal to deliver 6.5 million gallons a day or 2.3 billion annually by 2020.
As part of the State of the City I presented the Mayor’s Legacy Award to Dr. Linda Clark, Superintendent of Joint School District No. 2.
As an individual who has worked in education for over three decades Dr. Clark has created a cost-efficient delivery system that offers individual choice in education. Under her tenure Dr. Clark has seen the Joint School District #2 grow by leaps and bounds not just in the numbers of students but in the caliber of education. This dedication and student-first approach has made the Meridian School District one of the best districts in the state, if not the nation.
Her commitment to young people and their interests and needs is second to none and she has created a legacy that has many of our area Legislators talking about how they can replicate many of the programs this Dr. Clark has inspired and completed.
We all have the opportunity to set the course for our city and leave our legacy for others. You can access the complete text or a video of the State of the City address from the main page of the City’s website. If you want to share your view on the State of our City or know of an individual who is making a difference in Meridian, I want to hear about it. Email me at MayorTammy@meridiancity.org and together we can celebrate Meridian as the premier place to live, work and raise a family.