Timely to President Bush's State of the Union Address, Fort Collins Mayor Doug Hutchinson spoke out to the community in last night's State of the City Address. Joined by City Manager Darin Atteberry, the two community leaders opened the address summarizing the year 2005 as a year of change.
"There is a major theme in our hearts tonight, and that is change," Hutchinson said.
After thanking the city council for their unselfish efforts, Atteberry and Hutchinson reviewed the significant events of the year 2005 and proposed their hopes of things to come in 2006.
One of the major outcomes of the 2005 was the city budget. Unique to the Fort Collins government and community, the budget was based on a budgeting for outcomes.
"This city budget was the most challenging budget in this city's history," Atteberry said.
Part of budgeting for outcomes, Hutchinson said, required the city to first focus on city services rather than focusing on city departments as was done in the past. Outcomes were first established before money was allocated to different areas of the community.
The two then progressed on the some of the financial issues of Fort Collins. With a tax increase on groceries denied, Hutchinson also said that more money was directed towards road and street maintenance, allowing for better and safer driving in Fort Collins.
"I asked. They city patched 8.237 potholes in 2005," Hutchinson said.
Atterberry also focused on an important program in light of recent events in New Orleans. Beginning in 2005, the city began to review its emergency plans to implement in case disaster struck Fort Collins. With past overflows of the Poudre Valley, unforeseen problems are something the city wants to be ready for,
As the speech progressed, Atteberry began to beam as he announced Fort Collins success in Environmental issues.
"Fort Collins was named the top nature friendly community in the country," Atteberry told a wide-eyed audience.
Atteberry went on to announce Fort Collins participation in expanding use of renewable energy. With emission test requirements being renewed, the city of Fort Collins has also converted all diesel to 100% bio-diesel in community building, vehicles and partnerships with other businesses.
"The Fort Collins drinking water was ranked one of the top in the nations," Hutchinson added.
Mayor Hutchinson moved on to speak of the heart of the city and downtown Fort Collins: Old Town. With the recent installment of an ice rink, the culture of Old Town still thrives and will continue to grow in 2006. Hutchinson told the audience that there are many plans to continue enriching downtown life, including the construction of a Beat Street, named for Fort Collins' sugar beat history.
Atteberry and Hutchinson summed up the address touching on the subject most pressing to many CSU students, neighborhood communities, and Fort Collins renters. With questions from several neighborhood organizations about the continual growth of CSU and the need for more rental housing, the mayor and city manager seemed to have a positive outlook on the situation.
"I've had discussions with Dr. Penley about the importance of CSU's cooperation to work toward a solution of rental housing," Hutchinson said.
With the three unrelated rule hitting city council topics in 2005, the city council chose to enforce the already existing ordinance requiring that no more than three unrelated people live in a house in Fort Collins. The outcome pleased many Fort Collins residents who were looking for a neighborhood quality standard, but disappointed many landlords and renters.
However, regardless of the ordinance, Atteberry believes that a relationship between the city and University is strong and thriving, with students willing to be good students and neighbors.
"I've never seen the partnership better between CSU and the community," Atteberry said.