Harvey Ward delivers first State of the City speech as Mayor
Ward promised that he would deliver an update on Thursday about providing assistance to those burdened by high utility rates
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - “Yes,” said Gainesville Mayor, Harvey Ward. “I do believe the state of our city is strong.”
That was the Mayor’s assessment at the beginning of his State of the City Speech Tuesday morning.
After Mayor Ward’s speech, a pair of citizens shared whether or not they agreed with his assessment that the state of Gainesville is strong.
“If the city goes forward with important changes--and the number one important change is our housing pattern--if he can solve the tale of two cities,” said Kali Blount,” then he will accomplish something.”
“I think it is strong,” said Mike Warren. “I think we have all the building blocks to even make it stronger and to make again--a great place to bring up a family...I’m a cyclist so I’m very concerned about cycling and making sure that we can eliminate so many of the terrible tragedies we’ve had with regard to pedestrians.”
Despite his statement of strength, Ward acknowledges Gainesville faces many challenges.
He says one of the largest concerns is financial burdens due to high utility rates.
“Balancing the many financial pressures in our world is hard and high utility bills cause stress and uncertainty for many in our community and across the nation,” said Ward. “We are working with staff regularly to find ways to help.
Ward said at Thursday’s City Commission meeting he will update people about how the city can provide assistance to those most in need.
“We have some folks with us [at the event] with very valid concerns about GRU bills. I want you and them to know, that we hear you...And at this Thursday’s commission meeting, I’ll have more to share about possible assistance where appropriate and possible for families who are most in need.”
He did not get into specifics on what would happen, and the only item related to GRU on the agenda is about the solar contract.
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