LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Tuesday morning, Mayor Dan Pope highlighted Lubbock’s economy, schools and health care in his State of the City Address.
“The challenges we’ve faced have not overcome the people of Lubbock. My message in short - Lubbock prevails,” Pope said.
In reflecting on the hardships of 2020, the mayor says stability and diversity in Lubbock’s economy helped keep the city on its feet.
One year ago, the unemployment rate was below 3 percent and spiked to almost eleven at the peak of the pandemic.
Pope says it’s now at 5.2 percent and going down.
“It is obvious this year that small business, education, agriculture and health care are, again, pillars of our community and our economy,” Pope added.
Pope joined with educators, non-profits leaders, city reps and business owners to discuss the past year.
He says the absence of college students changed Lubbock’s workforce and culture.
But Texas Tech University reached its enrollment goal of 40,000 students by 2020.
He praised the compassion, innovation and toughness of health care providers, in serving not only Lubbock, but our trauma service area and patients transferred from other states.
He empathized with the hurt caused by lost lives, jobs and businesses because of the pandemic.
He also noted the perseverance of public safety and health officials.
“Our City Covid-19 vaccination clinic, a remarkable community effort, leads the largest 20 counties in the state by vaccinating the highest percentage of eligible citizens,” Pope emphasized.
The mayor also touched on the City’s upcoming transition of power grids.
He says ERCOT offers less expensive power and the chance for people to choose their provider.
But he says after seeing what happened with reliability in last month’s winter storm, the City is working to make sure necessary changes are in place as Lubbock makes the transition.
“I think it’s how do we fix it and I think we’re a big stakeholder when it comes to that discussion,” Pope said.
Looking ahead, the Future Needs Committee suggested a larger commitment to paving dirt streets over the next few years.
Mayor Pope also expects a review by the council and vote on an updated city charter this year.
He says the economy is on the right track for 2021, but we have to get people back to work.