Mayor Yxstian Gutierrez delivered the 2017 State of the City address on Wednesday, August 16, telling the hundreds of local dignitaries, business and community leaders, and residents in attendance that the state of the City is stronger than it’s ever been and growing stronger every day.
In his first State of the City address as Moreno Valley’s directly elected mayor, Gutierrez highlighted how the City’s efforts to attract and retaining businesses is paying off, resulting in the creation of 14,000 jobs over the last four years. City revenues are growing, key services are being enhanced, and the City’s budget is balanced for the sixth straight year, Gutierrez said. The City was also ranked the third most fiscally stable City in the nation by the Fiscal Times.
“We are focusing on economic development,” Gutierrez said. “We’re modernizing infrastructure. We’re enhancing public safety. We’re expanding library services. We are engaging residents and businesses to enhance quality of life. And we are investing in the key to our bright future – our young people.”
Employment in Moreno Valley has surged to more than 94%. Many residents now having the opportunity to work in the same city where they live as a result of the City’s Hire MoVal program, designed to encourage businesses to hire locally. That program was recently expanded to include Hire A MoVal Grad, which rewards Moreno Valley businesses for hiring local college and technical school graduates.
The City is adding more police officers and firefighters to serve its neighborhoods. A second library branch is scheduled to open at the Moreno Valley Mall in December to better serve the growing Moreno Valley community.
The City Council recently approved a $1.2 million initiative to begin an ambitious program to slurry seal streets throughout Moreno Valley. Over the next two years, Moreno Valley is scheduled to receive $4.6 million from the state for additional road repair – saving residents hundreds of dollars a year in unnecessary car repairs and wear and tear.
At a time when other jurisdictions are slashing their code enforcement departments, Moreno Valley has increased its number of code compliance officers by 33 percent.
The City is continuing to partner with its school districts to provide internships to local high school students and to ensure thousands of its youngest residents are getting the academic support through they need through the Think Together afterschool program. Think Together keeps nearly 4,000 Moreno Valley children safe and provides them with homework support while helping out working families.
The City worked to secure additional funding to provide a Think Together summer program for elementary school students to prevent summer learning loss.
Gutierrez also touted the City’s successful efforts to bring a university to Moreno Valley. Cal Baptist University recently opened its first satellite campus in the Moreno Valley Employment Resource Center. As home to a thriving global logistics industry, Moreno Valley inspired one of Cal Baptist’s newest program – a logistics curriculum within its Business Administration degree.
And he highlighted a recent City Council initiative to make college a reality for hundreds of Moreno Valley residents through Moreno Valley College’s Promise Initiative. Over the next year, the City will provide $50,000 to the program to help Moreno Valley residents pay for tuition, textbooks, parking and other fees.
This year’s presentation included video testimonials from Moreno Valley residents and business owners who have benefited from City’s services, including a woman who takes her two-year-old granddaughter to the library’s bilingual story time and an 11-year-old girl who was resuscitated by Moreno Valley firefighters after nearly drowning in her grandparents’ pool.