Mayor recounts productive first year, announces 2016 State of the City

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Since Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat took office last year, she has been hard at work on her list of priorities, launching bold initiatives aimed at creating jobs, carefully and thoughtfully planning for future growth, enhancing quality of life and bringing transparency and accountability into local government.

For the past year, Peoria’s first female mayor has worked closely with the new city council to balance the budget and commit to productive work without political distractions, resulting in a prolific year for the city punctuated by major initiatives. In her first year, Carlat has met with hundreds of Peoria residents, listening to their ideas and gathering input.

“In her first year in office, Carlat has translated her visionary leadership into an action plan that is moving Peoria forward to assure the outstanding quality of life we enjoy today is here for generations to come,” Peoria City Manager Carl Swenson said. “In collaboration with the city council, she has brought the community together to share in these accomplishments.”

 “The best part of this job is the time spent with our citizens, listening to their ideas and enabling them to impact their community,” Carlat said. “I’m accountable to the people who put me in office, and I think Peoria residents ought to have the security that their elected representatives are going to do what they say they are going to do.”

Aggressive economic development

At the top of Carlat’s ambitious to-do list as mayor is to guide Peoria’s aggressive economic development strategy to attract investors, new businesses and new jobs. In 2015, 524 new businesses opened their doors in Peoria, a 23-percent increase from 2014.

In her first State of the City address last March, Carlat outlined her intention to develop a series of economic development forums to showcase Peoria investments to certain industries. As a result, Peoria’s first investment forum will take place this spring and is expected to attract investors from around the world.

Planning for Peoria’s future

Carlat told residents she would work to make sure Peoria is planning and preparing for future growth, so quality of life will not be sacrificed. She spearheaded the creation of a citizen’s committee to examine the impacts of growth and recommend a game plan to ensure future quality of life. The 21-member volunteer citizens committee began meeting this January and will present their recommendations to city council by this summer.  

Enhancing quality of life

As she took office, Carlat outlined her commitment to keeping crime rates low and response times short. Over the last year, the city has added public safety officers where it was necessary, without raising taxes, and Peoria’s Police Department has become an example to other cities across the nation for preventative policing.

Carlat also told residents she was committed to funding the expansion of the Pinnacle Peak safety facility, and in 2015 council allocated the funding and construction of the first-class facility will start this summer.

Last March, she also promised citizens she would examine the city’s ambulance service and make changes if it made financial sense.

In January, the city received its Ambulance Certificate of Necessity from the state, and, pending council approval, the city is poised to move forward to provide residents with higher quality of service and faster response times without passing an increase onto the taxpayers.

Government transparency and accountability

Carlat also said in her campaign that she would bring transparency and accountability into local government.

In the past year, she authored policy to prevent election abuse and gave citizens the charge of reviewing and updating the city’s governing document. The Citizens’ Charter Review Committee began meeting in January and will comb through the city’s charter and present any updates or modernization recommendations to council, and eventually, Peoria voters.

“I’m honored each and every day to stand for and work for our citizens. Every minute of this year I’ve been grateful for our talented and enterprising residents and humbled by the opportunity to serve. Peoria truly is the best place to live, work and play,” Carlat said.

Residents are encouraged to stay up to date with Carlat by subscribing to her email newsletter through the website, or following her on Facebook, Twitter or Periscope.

Carlat will be outlining her priorities for her second year in her State of the City address March 22 which will be held at the Arizona Broadway Theatre, 7701 W.Paradise Lane.