Lubbock Mayor Marc McDougal gave the annual State of the City address on Thursday, January 15. The following are highlights from his speech.
"Lubbock's economy remains stable, proving that we can weather difficult times, and continue to maintain a strong and viable economic environment. I would forecast that our economic stability will continue in 2004."
Unemployment rate is 3.0%, as compared to the State average of 6.1% and the National rate of 5.6%.
Market Lubbock created 804 new jobs in 2003, approximately $18.3 million in payroll, and more than $7 million in capital investments.
ChaseCom Corporation plans to hire more than 600 employees, creating a $9 to $10 million payroll. Market Lubbock providing $270,000 in incentives.
Cost of living was the 7th lowest in Texas.
Utility Index was the 4th lowest in Texas.
City services cost approximately $36.93 per household each month.
"A stable and growing economy helps maintain Lubbock's affordability, and job creation and economic development continues to be one of our primary goals."
Housing - 1,540* residential housing starts in 2003 (*Includes both one and two family dwellings, but not multi-family) - a 15.5% increase from last year.
"Lubbock's housing market continues to flourish."
Total construction, both residential and commercial valuations was $417.2 million (32.2% increase from 2002) Housing industry has set new records the past three years.)
Population is estimated to be 206,290. Lubbock is the 11th largest city in Texas and the 89th largest city in the United States.
Lubbock County's population is estimated to be 252,048.
"Like Lubbock's housing and construction industry, our population continues to grow."
"One of our selling points remains that we have big city amenities, but have kept our small town friendliness, values, and accessibility."
Reese Technology Center
Reese Technology Center has contributed more than $26.8 million to Lubbock's economy since September 2001; it is the 5th largest research park in the United States; it created more than 500 new jobs over past 3 years; 4,000 South Plains College students on the Reese campus. 65% of the
available buildings are occupied.
"Reese Technology Center continues to be a success story and an endeavor for which we can all be proud."
Property taxes reduced by 2.43 cents to offset revaluations despite $8.8 million deficit.
Next year's budget will have 8.28 cent voter approved property tax reduction.
"We were also committed to providing relief to local homeowners. Council balanced the budget and provided a 2.43-cent property tax reduction."
Open City Government/Open Communication
"As your Mayor, I pledge to continue efforts to foster an open government."
"Another example of our efforts to make City Hall more accessible is the new web site citizen request system called "AskUS", which stands for Assistance, Service, and Knowledge. Our emphasis is to serve the public and AskUS will give residents, via their home computer, one more tool for accessing City Hall. AskUs will go online later this month at www.mylubbock.us."
30 new recruits for the January 26 class will get Department closer to fully staffed.
New Mobile Data Computers are being installed in all Police vehicles.
"Public Safety remains the City's number one priority." "Revitalizing the Police Department's infrastructure is essential for providing the best service to our citizens, and Council has worked to
provide adequate funding."
18 new Firefighter positions added.
2 new fire engines purchased.
"Specialized Firefighter training is also occurring at the Airport Rescue Fire Fighter (ARFF) School at the Lubbock International Airport. Local Firefighters, as well as Firefighters from across the United States, travel to receive this very specialized certification that our Fire Department offers. Chief Hailey hopes that this unique training will eventually draw participation on an international level."
2 additional inspectors added earlier in the year (10 total inspectors). 25% increase in substandard housing, junked vehicle, and public nuisance cases.
"Another priority for Council was to strengthen the City's Code Enforcement operations. Earlier this year, two additional inspectors were added to the Code Enforcement Department, and the extra manpower has proven to be beneficial in addressing neighborhood and residents' concerns."
Lubbock Water Advisory Commission created. Water Conservation Ordinance passed first reading.
"Water is critical to Lubbock's long-term growth, and the City has undertaken several important measures to ensure that our short term and long term water needs will be met."
7 new parks were constructed and 9 fully accessible walking tracks were built.
$3.2 million in capital improvements over past 2 years.
"Over the past two years, Parks and Recreation has raised 3.2 million dollars towards capital improvements that have already begun to enhance Lubbock's quality of life. Fourteen city parks received new state-of-the-art playgrounds that are a welcome addition to many Lubbock
"Lubbock is fortunate to have a number of outstanding corporate citizens and volunteer groups who improve our city's quality of life and help make Lubbock a great place to live."
AMBUCS - HUB City Playground at Maxey Park
Wells Fargo Bank - Amphitheater in Mackenzie Park
Alon USA / FINA - Sculpture Garden in Mackenzie Park
American State Bank - September 11th Tribute and Remembrance at Kastman
2004 is Library's 50th Anniversary.
700,000 patronized 4 City libraries in 2003.
"There were over 700,000 citizens who patronized our 4 City libraries last year. With our great schools and universities, Lubbock is a "City of Knowledge" and I am proud that our local libraries are accessible and helpful to residents of all ages."
"With our great schools and universities, Lubbock is a "City of Knowledge" and I am proud that our local libraries are accessible and helpful to residents of all ages."
North and East Lubbock
Master Plan and Marketing Plan established, funding source created and John Hall hired as North and East Lubbock Commission's Executive Director.
"Growth and prosperity remain important objectives for Lubbock. But, fostering balanced growth with reinvestment and redevelopment throughout our city ensures the vitality of older businesses and allows all residents to live in healthy, secure neighborhoods."
"Last year we were able to cut taxes, fund economic development, build new parks, invest in public safety, and provide open, accessible government for Lubbock residents. In the coming year, I pledge to continue to work with my fellow Council members and the citizens of Lubbock in making Lubbock the best it can be. My commitment to lower taxes, to promote open government, and to maintain open lines of communication will continue."
"As we begin 2004, I call upon all residents to join me in promoting Lubbock. We should promote Lubbock not only to those who live outside our City limits, but to those who live here. As citizens, we all need to recognize that Lubbock is a great city, with friendly people, and a fantastic quality of life. I am proud to be your Mayor and I look forward to great things for 2004."