Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz delivered her annual "State of the City" address at Tuesday, where she stressed that the city remains "secure" despite a recent blow to economic development that will severely impact the city's budget in 2012.
Focusing much of her speech on the , Lutz said the city has lost a major tool in attracting business that helped turn the city into what it is today.
"The Monrovia Redevelopment Agency was our greatest economic tool for 39 years," Lutz said. "It was the means by which the city cultivated private-sector jobs and stimulated business growth. It was the process by which we created affordable housing, and it has funded vital community programs for decades."
Lutz vowed that the city will press on in creating opportunities for investment without redevelopment, though she warned of "serious economic challenges" ahead.
The December windstorm that to the city has been a "costly mess," Lutz said. Lutz praised the city's response to the disaster and credited preparation as the reason the windstorm was not more devastating.
"We were ready because of good planning and training by a team of top professionals, because of involved and caring residents and businesses and because of thoughtful, responsible and foresighted community leadership--everything that we’re going to need again in 2012," Lutz said.
Looking to the future, Lutz addressed the keep the Foothill Extension on track. Such a deal will pave the way for the planned , which Lutz called "the largest community investment in Monrovia’s history."
Lutz touted the city's balanced budget and said continued budget and staffing cuts have positioned the city to operate more efficiently as it moves forward.But the loss of redevelopment money means the city could be facing a deficit of $1 million in the next fiscal year.
One major consquence of the elimination of redevelopment, however, is that the funding for the program is now in jeopardy.
MAP, a neighborhood focused program that tries to empower citizens to get more involved with their communities, got its funding from redevelopment. The city must now find that money elsewhere, Lutz said.
"More cutbacks may be needed, somewhere," she said. "Let me say now, we do not intend for MAP to go away. We’re going to find a solution."
Lutz closed by asking residents to stay optimistic as the city continues to navigate through economic difficulties.
"Monrovia today is secure, energized and looking forward to many more years of progress," she said. "With your continued participation, our future will be bright."