Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, Jr. addressed a packed audience of Inglewood residents and members of the local business community during presentation of his first State of the City speech.
Butts’ practical yet optimistic comments about Inglewood’s future focused on three general areas of interest: Fiscal Solvency, Public Safety, and Unified City Leadership.
“It is an honor to be able to address the community during my first State of the City speech,” said Butts. “I am pleased by the reception I received and the commitment expressed by many in attendance to renew their efforts to work together to move this city forward.”
Excerpts from text of Mayor Butts’ Comments:
I want to express my thanks and gratitude to each of you in attendance here today, as well to all Inglewood residents and members of the Inglewood/Airport Area Chamber of Commerce for inviting me to speak with you to share my views on the State of our City.
I also want to acknowledge some of the key individuals in City government whose dedication and hard work is crucial to our future. First, my colleagues on the City Council: Council Members Judy Dunlap, Eloy Morales, Jr., and from the Great Fourth District Council Member Ralph Franklin. Also present today are City Treasurer Wanda Brown and City Clerk Yvonne Horton. I want to give special recognition to Yvonne Horton. Throughout this last year of political instability, she and her staff have provided confidence and stability in their conduct of the numerous elections required to comport with the City’s Charter. I have great admiration and respect for the integrity and competence of the City Clerk and her staff. Thank you for your service Yvonne.
On January 11th, the citizens of Inglewood honored me by selecting me to be the 12th mayor of our City. I am humbled by their decision and am deeply confident of my ability to lead our city toward better times. So, to the entire Inglewood community I say, “Thank You!”
Some of you know me very well having worked with me anywhere from 5, 10, or even 20 years. Some of you know of me from the news or through word of mouth. A few of you, even at this point, know very little about me. So, let me take this time to share a little bit about my background and qualifications and how they relate to my approach and philosophy as it pertains to serving you as Mayor….
Let me say that, on behalf of the entire City Council, we greatly appreciate their sacrifice. Their labor concessions are projected to result in a $7.7 million savings during the current 2010-2011 fiscal year. Please join me in giving our employees a round of applause….
Now, as can be expected, we can’t reduce the size of our workforce without impacting our ability to provide the level of service to which you and our residents have grown accustomed. While we have worked hard to maintain our core services, the need to cut costs and bring expenses in line with revenues has resulted in a number of service reductions. These include reduced library hours and recreational programs and decreases in personnel assigned to perform beautification and maintenance services. After a comprehensive review, the Council made the extremely difficult decision to temporarily close one of four fire stations located in the City. Since we contract for fire services through Los Angeles County, we are able to benefit from the other county fire stations located near Inglewood that are available to provide coverage for our residents and businesses. Although one Inglewood station was closed, we decided to keep its paramedic unit and reassign it to a nearby station located within the City. While this closure did not significantly impact overall fire responsiveness in the City, it did create a cost savings of about $2.5 million annually on our fire services contract. This effectively means that our annual contract cost of approximately $12.9 million has been reduced to around $10.4 million….
A few weeks ago, I was set to travel to Washington, D.C. on my first lobbying trip and discuss Inglewood’s needs with our congressional delegation and various Federal agencies. However, as you might have heard, the State of California is attempting to dissolve local redevelopment agencies. The Village at Century that contains Bed Bath and Beyond, Chili’s, Red Lobster, all sales tax producers– Redevelopment Funds.
Improvements at the Regent Towers Senior Citizens Housing Facility, which improves the quality of life for our seniors–Redevelopment Funds. And, just last week, the City Council unanimously approved a new 145-unit affordable workforce housing project that will include an onsite, after-school learning center, childcare facility, computer center, pool, and tot lot. This project, which will increase the supply of quality, affordable housing opportunities in Inglewood, would not be possible were it not for the availability of redevelopment housing set-aside funds….
Ladies and Gentlemen, I want you to clearly understand that in spite of all of the challenges faced by our City, state, and country, I am extremely confident and optimistic about the future of our City. Government will be smaller, leaner, and must, by necessity, increase overall efficiency. Our institutions and actions will be more transparent and responsive to the desires of its residents–which is a good thing. I pledge to work hard to restore responsible and respectable leadership in the City of Inglewood.
This includes being a catalyst for a more dignified legislative process where civility and collaboration among our leaders is the norm rather than the exception to the rule. I am committed to integrating progressive business practices within our governmental operations. Not out of desire, but rather out of necessity, because the ways of the past are no longer applicable to achieving a healthy, prosperous future. If we are to thrive as a community, we must adapt to the changing economic conditions that confront us….
If we all work together, Inglewood will achieve the stability, safety, productivity and prosperity that our citizens expect and deserve. I am grateful to the residents for expressing their confidence in me to lead this City. With their continued support and guidance, I have no doubt that I can lead us toward a better tomorrow.
Thank you very much.