“The state of our city is and continues to be strong,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski as he delivered his 2016 State of the City address today to members and guests of the Allentown Rotary Club at the Renaissance Allentown Hotel.
Pawlowski told a crowd of some 90 persons during a 42 minute address that “with the foundations we’ve laid our city is poised and ready. In this year, at this time – more than at any other -- the future is ours to shape.”
Pawlowski unveiled a short video written by Allen High School students that talks about the city’s past and its possibilities for the future. “Our city, our people, our history, is a resounding testimony to the achievement of the impossible. It's time for us to claim it….to own it…to accept the awesome responsibility that history has laid at our doorstep.”
Pawlowski said Allentown continues to become a much safer city. “We have reduced our overall crime rate by a total of 30 percent, including a dramatic decrease in the most violent crime, homicides. Year to date we have seen a 21% decrease in Part I crimes citywide.”
Pawlowski touched on highlights from city departments, like public works and parks. He touted the expansion of downtown traffic signal, park and playground, street lighting and safety improvements. According to Pawlowski, work will begin this year on the city’s first skate and dog parks. He offered statistics on potholes filled, cubic yards of snow removed and storm inlets replaced and repaired. He asked for and received a round of applause for city employees who have worked 24/7 to recover from Saturday’s record snow storm.
In the area of finance, Pawlowski said the city negotiated a 5 year collective bargaining agreement with the city fire union with a first time contribution to healthcare, avoiding costly arbitration and saving taxpayer dollars. The city eliminated the Per Capita Tax in 2016 and held the line on the property tax rate for the 11th consecutive year.
The Allentown Rotary Club is usually the first in a series of invitations for a mayoral address from service clubs in the city. The state of the city report is a requirement of the city charter.