Despite hundreds of jobs recently lost on the South Plains, the Mayor of Lubbock says the State of the City is sound. On Tuesday, Mayor Tom Martin spoke to hundreds at the annual State of the City Address. He addressed some 4-hundred business, community, city and county leaders for nearly 40 minutes. This is the 25th state of the city but Martin's first. There was also another first Tuesday afternoon. Martin used a power point presentation, to help show what makes up Lubbock's strong state.
As many cities across the country fall victim to the economic downturn, Mayor Martin says Lubbock is faring better than the rest. "The economy is doing well. Even though it may not be at boom levels we're actually going forward where the rest of the country is not," Martin said.
Some of the strength Martin says comes from the housing market and shoppers who continue to spend money. "Our real-estate is doing really well. Our home prices have held with a four percent increase for this past year, where markets on the East and West coast have decreased 40 percent in value. Our retail sales are up as evidence by our sales tax recipes the last several months," Martin said.
When it comes to jobs in the Hub City, Martin says Lubbock's unemployment rate is at 5.6 percent, which is lower than this year's national projected rate of at least 9 percent. "Lubbock Business Park lead efforts in the last four years have created about 2,300 jobs with an investment of almost 130 million dollars. These are significant to our local economy. And as they say you haven't seen anything yet," Martin explained.
He also says projects are underway to ensure the future well being of Lubbock. Those include new roads, a re-developed downtown and faucets that will continue to run. "We're in the process of a $250 million project to bring water from Lake Allen Henry to Lubbock. We're hoping to have this on line by 2012," Martin said.
In addition, as wind power energy takes a national stage with a new president Martin says Lubbock is in a perfect position to benefit. "Somebody is going to be the capital of wind power production and as far as I'm concerned it needs to be Lubbock Texas," said Martin.
All things Martin says that will help Lubbock weather whatever comes our way. "Those of us on the city council and the city staff are pledged to provide the best quality of city service at the lowest price and keep this city moving forward," Martin added.
Mayor Martin also says by increasing police officers over the last five years crime and accidents have dropped. This afternoon the mayor gave a sneak peek of a new city program. You will want to remember the numbers 3-1-1. Starting Wednesday, you can call this number for non-emergencies. It is the city's new hotline to help connect citizens with local government.
Today's proceeds will go to the Scottish Rite Learning Center. Usually about $5,000 are raised through ticket sales and sponsorships.
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