The state of our city is strong because of the strength of our people. We are blessed with incredibly talented staff in all departments. You wont find a more dedicated, committed, caring group of professionals anywhere.
Local government is truly a team sport, and I am immensely proud to be leading the best team community, business and government any mayor could hope for.
Our progress. A good indicator of economic health is how much new construction is occurring, and how many jobs are being created.
Last year we saw residential construction up more than 140 percent, employment levels exceed those of 2008, and Nampas unemployment rate in November was 7.6 percent the lowest it as been since 2007.
Our path forward. A story youll be hearing more about in the coming weeks is the Old Mercy Hospital project. Community Development, Inc., of Caldwell, has purchased this historic, but derelict building, and has developed a plan to breathe new life into the structure. Using historic preservation and low-income housing tax credits, they will transform the building into low-income senior housing.
These programs require a match from the city. The plan to generate the local match is to create a single-block Urban Renewal District with only one property owner, one taxpayer in the district. A portion of the new taxes generated by their $7 million investment will be reimbursed to help cover the cost of sewer, water and sidewalk upgrades needed on the block.
We continue to move forward to revitalize downtown Nampa. We are in the seventh year of a 24-year plan. The first major project of the plan was completed with the opening of the Hugh Nichols Public Safety Building.
The next major project in the plan is building a new public library. Construction on the new library should begin this summer. We are in the final stages of design. Because so many have been involved every step of the way, I am confident we will have a library we can be proud of and that will serve the people for many years to come.
In the fall, look for work to begin on the Amity Road project.
The purchase of right of way for the project is on track, with 31 of the 47 properties needed now under contract, and the remainder soon to follow.
The structure of our City Council may be under construction as well. In the next few weeks I will ask our City Council members to consider moving to a six-member council. Idaho law allows municipal government to have either four or six council members.
When Nampa was incorporated in 1886 with about 100 people, they chose to have four people elected to represent the residents. We are now approaching 84,000 in population, the second largest city in the state. Perhaps its time to move to a larger council.
There are three steps to this process:
The council must first vote to authorize the issue to be put to an election of the city. A special election would then be held to determine whether or not to make the change. If the vote is Yes, then at the next city election, an additional two seats would be available for candidates.
2013 will be a year of great progress and growth. I say that with full assurance because of who I am and because of who the people of Nampa are. We are people with a commitment to do the right thing. We face adversity with courage and resolve. We move forward despite the temptation to hesitate or let someone else shoulder the burden. We will continue to lead to make this city our city safe, beautiful and prosperous.