In front of a crowd of over 550 people, Mayor Steve Chirico delivered the annual State of the City Address at the Embassy Suites Hotel.
With a main focus on economic development, Mayor Chirico highlighted his past year in office and where the city is headed under his leadership.
“As mayor, one of my main priorities is to position Naperville as the most competitive city in the state. I am committed to accomplishing this goal, and economic development is a key component to this. Attracting and retaining businesses and filling empty storefronts and buildings is critically important to maintaining a well-balanced community,” said Chirico.
Before he can reach those goals he and the council had to deal with what he called some tough decisions.
Those included implementing a half percent home rule sales tax to balance the city’s budget and raising electric rates to offset the higher price to purchase power, something he felt was necessary to move Naperville forward and maintain the city’s AAA bond rating.
“Moody’s called out our superior credit position, financial health, strong local economy, our diverse tax base, and our balanced financial operations. This achievement is thanks to city staff using the continuous improvement model of delivering efficient services while saving money,” said Chirico.
Besides being the first address for Chirico, it was also the first of a new format.
As part of the speech, Mayor Chirico held a panel discussion with the President and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, Nicki Anderson and President of the Naperville Development Partnership, Christine Jefferies, to explain how collaboration between different groups can help foster development city-wide.
“To know the value of our collaboration, to know that we’re not in silos, it’s not the Chamber, the NDP and the city of Naperville, we all work together and support each other,” said Anderson.
Coming up for Chirico, finding more ways to consolidate local governments to achieve more efficiencies. Just a few on his list are to collaborate with the township road district, and to work with aurora to create a joint emergency telephone system board.
“Naperville isn’t afraid of change. We’re not afraid to be bold or daring, and we are not going to shy away from challenges. In fact, we’re going to lead the way, because that’s what innovators do,” said Chirico.
Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.
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