Here are highlights from Mayor Sue Hack's state of the city address.
Hack delivered the speech Tuesday evening as she completed her one-year term as mayor, and turned the position over to Mike Dever:
On the city's financial condition:
"We know that if we are lucky, our revenues from sales tax and property tax will be equal to what they were last year, but there is a strong possibility that they will be less. It will be difficult to maintain the same level of city service that we have become accustomed to with less resources."
On city services:
"I believe there is a disconnect in much of the community between the city services that we have come to expect and how those are maintained. It is possible for a city to just do the basics - put out fires, arrest the bad guys, clean the water and pick up the trash. In my view, thatis more of an institution than a community. Lawrence has always prided itself on being a community that enjoys its parks, its bike paths, its arts, its cultural heritage, and its downtown, just to name a few. Maintaining these important pieces of our community takes money, and when the bulk of that money comes from residential property taxes, we are putting ourselves in a perilous position."
On economic development efforts:
"This commission and this city staff have been neither lazy nor complacent when it comes to economic development. : We have navigated the choppy waters of Farmland and work to pursue that as a site for an employment center. However, if by some magic, the Farmland site became cleaned up and available tomorrow for industrial use, that would not solve all of our problems with economic development. We must look for additional sites. : None of these decisions are easy and none come without a fair amount of angst on the part of many citizens, but unless Lawrence wants to drop further and further into the bedroom community situation, we simply have to find a way to present companies additional industrial sites."
On the community's civil discourse:
"I am particularly troubled by the lack of civility and level of nastiness that occurs on our local blogs. We are all grown-ups, we can handle being the topic of conversation, but the conversation has sunk to new lows of discourse, and has taken on children and others not able to defend themselves. I would challenge those who feel the need to communicate in this manner to step out from behind the cowardice of anonymity, get their facts straight, and have a decent conversation about topics that are critical to the future of Lawrence and Douglas County. Try to contribute to the solution rather than being part of the problem."