Reflects on eight years in office; announces new water treatment plant and open data portal
WEST PALM BEACH, FL. (January 24, 2019)—
City of West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio delivered her eighth and final State of the City Address to nearly 1,000 Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches members and guests at the Palm Beach County Convention Center today.
“The state of the City—our city—is good, very good,” Mayor Muoio said before reflecting on her last eight years in office and thanking City Commissioners and City employees for making the City work for the people of West Palm Beach.
“West Palm Beach has become a modern-day symbol of what’s possible when people decide to go big and pull together,” said Mayor Muoio. “Our neighborhoods feel special again. Our businesses are on the move again. Our reputation as a world class city is on the rise. Our city, more than ever, is united.”
Mayor reminded the audience that, in 2011, she ran on what came to be known as the J.E.R.I. Plan – an acronym for “Jobs, Environment, Reorganization and Integrity,” and she underscored the City’s successes in each area:
- WPB unemployment rate decrease: 9.1 percent in 2011, compared to 3 percent now– almost a full point lower than the national average;
- Increase in job growth by 20 percent – more than double the national average;
- Establishment of the Flagler Financial District - now a destination for finance and a cluster of nearly 250 financial services firms;
- From limited Class-A office space to the creation of the Okeechobee Business District to manage growth, attract Class-A office space and improve mobility along the Okeechobee Corridor;
- Today’s property values up nearly 45 percent – leaving nearly every property owner better off than 8 years ago;
- Overall crime rate in WPB at 20-year low, according to preliminary reports;
- City renaissance including a new outlet mall, high speed rail train, home of Spring Training, creation of the Warehouse District;
- Only City in Florida to have earned a 4-STAR rating from the national STAR Community rating system which evaluates a community’s sustainability;
- Department of Energy “SolSmart Gold” award for advancing solar energy growth and spending $1 million on more shade trees for City to make it more walkable;
- Adoption of a holistic Stormwater Master Plan – the first of its kind in South Florida;
- Mobility plan for downtown – including more than 45 potential projects like trolley enhancements and transit improvements, streetscaping, bike lanes and more.
She also announced this year’s creation of the:
- Open Data Portal at wpb.org – which will allow the City to share and work with data in conjunction with the community. The portal aligns with the City’s commitment to transparency and complements the West Palm Working Online Performance Dashboard
- Mayor’s Village Action Plan – a framework for a healthy and safe community to lift people out of poverty in West Palm Beach and address the roots of violent crime
- State-of-the-art Water Treatment Plant – considered one of the best in the country, the new plant will use ultraviolet light and a powder-activated carbon system to preserve and protect West Palm Beach’s award-winning water
Mayor Muoio also discussed three key challenges faced by municipalities nationwide including West Palm Beach: Crime; Homelessness; and Poverty. Mayor noted great advancements in addressing violent crime through programs and technology like the Real Time Crime Center and ShotsSpotter. Mayor also shared that the City has budgeted more than $4-million for Vickers House operations, supportive housing, a full-time homeless outreach team and many more efforts to address the issue of homelessness in our City. She also challenged business leaders to help fight poverty by creating opportunities for those in our city who need them to most.
She closed her speech by thanking the unsung heroes who had made her achievements possible.
“To the people of West Palm Beach, you’re the reason I’m here,” she said. “You’re the inspiration for why I’m here. You’ve made my eight years as Mayor both productive and meaningful. In return, I ask that you never stop believing in the greatness of West Palm Beach.”
To read Mayor Muoio’s speech in its entirety and to view Mayor Muoio’s bio, please visit wpb.org.