Mayor addresses goals in State of the City


Alachua County Commissioner Lee Pinkoson, at far right, and community members listen to a prerecorded message from Gainesville City Manager Russ Blackburn, top right, on one of two viewing screens in the Hippodrome State Theatre on Thursday. The 2006 State of the City Address by Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan, pictured left, incorporated multimedia messages from city officials.

DOUG FINGER/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Friday, January 20, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 20, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.

Facts

Mayor's goals for the city

In her 2006 State of the City address, Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan reaffirmed the city's commitment to 10 goals she first outlined in last year's speech. They are:
Revitalizing the southern downtown area, particularly through city projects such as the Depot Stormwater Park project.
Implementing the city's Southeast Renaissance Initiative and Plan East Gainesville.
Adopting a plan for Gainesville's energy future.
Supporting campus planning and technology transfer from the University of Florida to promote economic growth.
Reaching higher for neighborhood safety and improvement.
Continuing to revitalize the downtown and urban core.
Boosting partnerships in recreation, transportation and public safety.
Continuing to improve the city's water and wastewater systems.
Focusing on services to special needs populations.
Improving the efficiency, effectiveness and collegiality of city government.

Gainesville is moving in the right direction but must continue working on the issues that have been the focus of city government for the past year, Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan said Thursday in her 2006 State of the City address.
Though the speech detailed progress in areas such as development, recreation, transportation and promoting healthy neighborhoods in the past 12 months, Hanrahan said there is still room for improvement.
"I think things are certainly on the right track, but I think there are more things we can do," Hanrahan said Thursday night after the speech.
"We really do have a mature city government that is thoughtful and frugal and accountable, so I don't see the need for major course corrections," she said.
The 1 hour speech - which drew an audience of 90 residents, politicians and municipal employees - included a catalogue of the city's past achievements, directions for future efforts and a basic primer on the role of different departments within city government. The event, held at the Hippodrome State Theatre, included videotaped comments from commissioners and city staff about specific city departments and initiatives.
Though Hanrahan largely steered clear of new policy proposals, she did take time to express concern about the operation of the city's Equal Opportunity Office. She asked that commissioners review whether it is "living up to the promise" made to residents who voted for the office to become a separate city office directly reporting to the commission in 2002.
"We have many good things going for us as a community," she said.
"The fact that there is such a disparity between east and west and between black and white is not one of them."
While downtown development, homelessness and quality of life issues have played a prominent role in the past, Hanrahan urged the city to press ahead to ensure progress.
Hanrahan called for commissioners to make a final, unanimous decision on how to meet the city's future energy needs before new commissioners take their seats following this spring's elections. In January 2005, Hanrahan had said she hoped a consensus would emerge among commissioners by the end of the summer on whether to build a new 220-megawatt coal-fired power plant to meet the future energy needs of Gainesville Regional Utility customers.
Members of the commission have previously raised concerns that waiting until new commissioners are in place could cause delays that would lead to skyrocketing electrical bills.
In general, Hanrahan praised the current state of the city.
"I hope you agree with me that Gainesville remains a strong city and is on its way to becoming the next top 10 mid-sized city in the nation," Hanrahan said.
Jeff Adelson can be reached at 352-374-5095 or adelsoj@ gvillesun.com

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