2011 was a “much better” year than 2010 for Martinez, according to Mayor Rob Schroder. He told the crowd gathered at Tuesday morning for the annual State of the City breakfast that he is “cautiously optimistic” the city will fare even better in 2012.
Schroder noted that the federal and state economy seem to be on a rebound, but noted that times were still relatively tough.
“There are 400 properties in various stages of foreclosure in the city,” he said.
Schroder noted that the city closed an without laying off any employees, though five vacant positions have been frozen.
“The situation looks to be stabilizing,” he said. “We’re projecting flat (tax revenue) growth for this year. Hopefully we’ll see improved tax revenues in the next few years.”
The news of the was not so pleasant. The City Council last week approved at $225,000 contract for dredging design and permits, and next week will consider options to spend up to $800,000 in park bond money and a donation from Shell Refinery to dredge the facility. Schroder noted that he has spoken at nine previous State of the City breakfasts in which he outlined the city’s plans to rebuild the marina, but last November, the state suddenly withdrew over $3 million in loans and grants for the project.
The Measure H bond, approved by voters in 2008 for up to $30 million, provided funds for replacing and , both projects that came in at or under budget. The city’s parks are now in line to be upgraded. The pool is so popular that a citizen committee has been appointed to study ways to keep it open longer throughout the year.
Two new are being installed in former warehouses near the waterfront. It is hoped those facilities will draw more people from out of town to use the city’s restaurants and shops.
Schroder noted that negotiations continue for a private developer to purchase and turn them into offices and a restaurant.
He said the city spent about $1 million on street paving last year, and expects to spend about the same amount this year.
Crime, he said, is down. The city’s crime rate decreased by 14 percent from last year, according to the police department.
“Overall, the city is a very safe place to live,” Schroder said.