The State of the City address I delivered two days ago at the Center Lake Pavilion was my 11th as your mayor. I thought in today’s column, I might first discuss how I prepare for the State of the City and then share the focus of this year’s speech.

It is a statutory requirement that mayors shall annually “provide a statement of the finances and general conditions of the city to the legislative body.” Thus, the reason for the speech and the guide for its content.

Each year, I spend a significant amount of time preparing for the State of the City. I gather all of the city’s’ financial data, accomplishments from our nine departments and progress updates on a variety of projects. I usually spend several weeks organizing the material and preparing a draft. Then, I spend several more weeks editing the material to final form. This year, in particular, there was literally too much information for a 30-minute speech.

It’s always tough to eliminate a particular accomplishment or project from the address. As mayor, every department and every goal reached is worthy of mention. It’s hard to leave anything out.  

This year, there was the added element of significant last-minute activity. For example, literally two days before the State of the City, there were three housing projects approved (Harvest Ridge, Park Ridge and the Gatke Lofts) and the Nextremity/Medartis acquisition occurred. And just one week prior, the Autocam/Medtronic agreement and the Danco/Lincotek acquisition were both announced. There was a lot of last-minute editing.

The final speech was printed 10 minutes before the meeting was set to begin, and in my haste, I made an error that I need to acknowledge. The KCCRVC provided a generous grant to the new kayak rental kiosks that will be installed at both Pike and Center Lake beaches. I inadvertently referred to the grant as coming from K21.  My apologies.

I began my speech talking about how our financial position remained strong throughout  the pandemic as we were able to continue to grow and keep the tax rate down. Looking ahead, we know inflation and workforce shortages will continue to impact our budget and future construction projects.

We also talked about the significant progress we have made to improve U.S. 30 in our community. The overwhelming public sentiment appears to support keeping the U.S. 30 improvements on the existing route. This spring, INDOT will start a preliminary engineering study to look at all options. We encourage everyone to attend those meetings.

The city has made significant progress to support new housing developments and apartment units to address the current workforce housing shortage. This continues to be a key priority for the city.

I finished the speech with a discussion of how are community has changed since the last census. Not only have we grown almost 17%, but the average age of our citizens is now 31 years of age, which is five years younger than 2010.  The makeup of our new citizens continues to become more diverse which creates great benefit to our community.

I closed with this: “I couldn’t be any more honored to face the challenges of our future than together with this community!” How privileged I am to be your mayor.