Good evening and welcome as I present the State of the City Address. Thank you for coming and especially for your interest in the City of Freeport. I am very appreciative for your attendance and support.
It’s hard to believe that another year has passed since my last address. The City Council has had a very busy year creating a foundation for meaningful work to come. They’ve been assembling a strategic plan for the city prioritizing projects for the next 5 or so years. The next few years will be determined by the way we seize opportunity and now is the time to use positive momentum and moving forward with growth and success. We must remain optimistic while ensuring that positive growth efforts move forward. An essential element of successful economic growth is a collaborative spirit fostered amongst us. We should encourage government and businesses alike to partner in promoting development, and a partnership will unite and make us a much stronger entity. Economic development should be our first priority and securing a greater share for the City of Freeport. Our desire is to create a city where everyone will share in success. We must continue to focus our efforts to streamline city government and make it more productive and operate like a business where revenues exceed expenses.
It’s of utmost importance that we maintain transparency in our government’s business while ensuring everyone has an opportunity to compete on a fair and level playing field. We cannot bring growth and opportunity to our community if we remain a closed system and refusing to actively pursue new development. We want our existing businesses to thrive and we want to attract new businesses creating new jobs for our citizens of Freeport. We are working on allowing new projects which create long term jobs to pay tap and impact fees as building permits are reviewed rather that at the time of project development order. For years we have talked about Freeport’s potential and now is the time to take action and work hard to achieve and realize our goals. I will continue to work tirelessly with the city government and our citizens to move Freeport forward. We have allowed a new Chelco kiosk, as well as, a new utility deposit box to be placed at City Hall to better serve you and offering more convenience. We have also approved the purchase for replacements of 7 lift stations throughout the City and new Sensus Water Meter’s to be placed at Northbay and this is just the beginning. This will provide us with more accurate information on the use of water throughout the City, and will be a large factor in an increase of revenue for the City as well.
As most of you are aware, the City Council voted to turn the fire department over to the county this year. This action served to reinforce and improve our protection and safety. We also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Freeport Fire Department and continue to work with the county to ensure safety of our citizens, and the council also voted to pay the fire assessment fee for citizens residing within the city limits for the coming year. Annexation of property was implemented and other parcels are being reviewed for additional annexation. Replacement of vehicles in various departments have taken place and security locks and surveillance cameras have been put in place at City Hall. Additionally, the Community Center has been “bid out” to renovate and expand the facility for the use of our community.
As your Mayor, my primary goal was to restore transparency, trust, and confidence in our city government. I do hope that I haven’t let anyone down! We will soon see exciting growth in our fair City. We have had new businesses to open up in Freeport, and yet to see others open in the near future. We are pleased to welcome two new council members, a new city clerk, a new receptionist, as well as, a new Parks and Recreation Director who are already onboard with positive changes that remain to be made to our City. We are working hard on leisure activities to bring our community together and strengthen our bond as neighbors who live and work together to make Freeport a better place for all of our citizens. Since coming into office we have established the annual Mayor’s Charity Ball which benefits the less fortunate in our area. We have also established the annual city festival “Bayfest” which also brings art, culture, entertainment and unity to our community. The Heritage Museum is yet another accomplishment and housing the history of our proud community. Over the past year we have dedicated a monument for the Battle of Marianna located down at Marse Landing. This, too, is an important part of the history of our area and has brought attention to many that were unaware of its existence.
Through hard work and dedication I’m confident that Freeport will continue to flourish and positive changes will continue to impact employment and providing conveniences for an improved lifestyle for all of our citizens. Over the past 2 years I have grown as a leader and public servant and look forward to the opportunities that await Freeport and our residents. Tonight I would like to thank you personally for your continued support and confidence while looking forward to the possibilities ahead that will make Freeport a better place for us to live and enjoy. God bless America and God bless our great City of Freeport.