During my recent State of the City address, I took note of the fact that Fort Wayne is a great community – and a community built for success. I don't make that statement lightly; there's much evidence to support that declaration.
Despite these tough economic times, I am encouraged by all of the progress we are making and the boundless energy, creativity and dedication of the people of Fort Wayne.
We are building for a brighter tomorrow, because we have a firm foundation and the fearless conviction that Fort Wayne has what it takes to be a world-class community – a place of pride and opportunity.
With that vision in mind, my job is to ensure that our City is ready to compete. That's why I fought against the odds to secure our $75 million Legacy Fund, which was created after my administration refused to give up on reaching a city light lease agreement.
Keeping that vision in mind is why so many worked so hard to create the Capital Improvement Board, giving us the funds to invest in capital and economic goals.
It's why our citizens contribute so generously to our charitable funds and I work with my staff to make sure we have a strong financial base.
For four straight years, in the worst of economic times, Fort Wayne has had a flat budget. Our savings account is healthy, with $19 million in reserves. In fact, our budget is smaller than when I took office in 2008.
Being responsible to our citizens also means continuing to provide high quality, cost-efficient services. One of our top services involved the paving and resurfacing of 57 miles of streets and roads. In Waynedale, we paved portions of Pinewood Drive, Aylesford Drive, Blue Spruce Court, Breckenwood Drive, Kingsway Drive, Maplewood Road and Penmoken Drive.
We continue to improve our trail system. Since 2008, it has grown from 38 miles to 68 miles and we are continuing plans to connect the entire City to our trail system.
Our new One-Cart Recycling program has been so popular that we've seen participation rates more than doubled in less than a year – allowing us to reduce trash fees by more than a million dollars.
All of our departments are committed to delivering cost-effective, high quality services.
In 2012, we will also continue to make government more accessible to you, our citizens, with more streamlined, efficient services. Public input is important to me and we will continue to find ways to reach out to residents.
On February 20, I hosted my first Mayor's Night In at Citizens Square. Residents came to my office to ask questions and share their thoughts and concerns. We'll be having more of these later in the year, as well as conducting business walks and neighborhood walks. I hope to see you along the way.
Our great city has much to be proud of and much to look forward to in 2012. I believe, Fort Wayne is a city built for success!