Perez Gives State Of The City As His Trial Looms

Mayor Eddie A. Perez addressed a crowded city council chambers Monday night.  Given the state of the city’s finances, this wasn’t the time for expensive new proposals.  You can read the press release summarizing his remarks below.

After the speech, Perez rejected the idea that he would temporarily step down during his criminal trial.  Jury selection on corruption-related charges begins in April.  You can listen now to our story that will air tomorrow morning.

“HARTFORD, WE HAVE COME FAR, WE HAVE FAR TO GO”

—NEWS AND COMMUNITY RELEASE—

(March 8, 2010)— Believing that Hartford’s vision for tomorrow must be built on its 375-year legacy, Mayor Eddie A. Perez is proud of Hartford’s accomplishments, despite the country’s financial obstacles.  In his annual State of the City Address, Mayor Perez emphasized positive momentum in the core areas of education, public safety and economic development— including job creation.  However, he also stressed that the Capital City must continue to invest its resources strategically in order to keep that momentum going.

Some of those key investments include:

1.       The Hartford Police Department’s formation of a domestic violence unit.  33-percent of serious crime in Hartford is related to domestic violence.  The Mayor looks to see the same kind of success in addressing this issue as the City and its community partners have achieved in reducing youth violence.

2.       The continued investment in Hartford’s strong Arts and Heritage Community.  Phase 1 of the Arts Stimulus has pumped more than $2.5 million into the local economy, creating and retaining 255 jobs for 23 Arts and Heritage organizations in just six month.  58 entrepreneurs are applying for Phase 2 of the City’s Arts Program.

3.       Saving our parks.  The Mayor is calling for the creation of a Green Ribbon Task Force— to be made up of friends of the parks, recognized experts, key community stakeholders, and members of the Parks Commission.  By July, they will develop a maintenance, operational, and stewardship program for the City’s park system.

Initiatives would be paid for through a combination of leveraging local and federal funds.  In about six weeks, the Mayor will submit a budget for the next fiscal year.  An unprecedented series of workshops are underway in an effort to achieve consensus.

Mayor Perez says, “This process has never been done before in Hartford.  Our work is not yet finished but members of Council, let me thank you for your teamwork on preparing for a difficult budget.”

This dialogue is an example of the community outreach and feedback that is being achieved with Hartford’s “One City, One Plan” of conservation and development.  The plan is being submitted tonight to Council.

As the Mayor heralded this exchange of thoughts and ideas, he invited residents and visitors alike to help Hartford celebrate its 375th Anniversary, saying, “Let’s celebrate our proud history.  We have come far, we have far to go.  Let’s continue this journey together.”

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