Mayor Moore Presents The State of The City Address
Mayor Kyle Moore presented his 4th State of the City address to the Quincy Exchange Club and guests this afternoon at the Elks Lodge in Quincy.
He started out with an educational theme praising those who helped modernize older school buildings or for the building of new schools in the city. He mentioned 27 freshman at JWCC who are tuition free thru the Quincy Promise Program.
The economy was a key focus as well with mention of the extension of the Enterprise Zone the expansions of Philbro Animal Health, Denman Medical, Kohl Wholesale and the Knapheide Corporation were also highlighted.
The City budget is now balanced and is now operating with reserves of $5.7 million. The City also partnered with Quincy Medical Group on an employee clinic to try to control medical expenses for city employees. The Mayor also discussed the police and fire pensions, infrastructure investments.
Mayor Moore also talked about the City’s Strategic Plan for economic development, the Downtown Rental Rehab Program and his support for a downtown Adams County Jail and new home for the Quincy Police Department. The crime situation was also addressed with the Mayor mentioning the Quincy Turnaround Partnership Program designed to take potential criminals and give them a choice to be productive in society.
And lastly the Mayor discussed the mutual aid agreement with the Tri-Township Fire Department that went into effect last year. He described it as a benefit for both agencies and the community.
The entire script is listed below:
STATE of THE CITY ADDRESS:
I want to thank the Quincy Exchange Club and the Elks for hosting this event today. I am proud to be a member of both organizations who have a long history of service to Quincy.
I have the privilege of working with 14 diverse men and women who serve Quincy on the city council. Our aldermen work diligently on behalf of our wards to ensure services are being delivered effectively to our constituents and that everyone’s voice is taken into account when making a decision. If you are a member of the City Council, please stand so we can say thank you.
I would like to also recognize two outstanding leaders, City Treasurer Peggy Crim and City Clerk Jenny Hayden, both have a valued history of service to our taxpayers.
To our team of directors, I want to say thank you for your dedication to your departments and the mission of the city.
Lastly, to our city employees, you go to work every day, take pride in your work, and often don’t get the recognition you deserve. I am so proud of the work you do and I know all of our citizens feel the same.
Please join me in giving a round of applause to the elected officials, team of directors and employees who make the City of Quincy a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Fellow Exchangites and honored guests, today marks the fourth state of the city that I have given as Mayor. In a world of 24 hour news cycles, social media, and the rhythm of our daily lives, it can be easy to lose track of the goals we set out four short years ago. As you know, I am a believer in measuring outcomes. So today, let’s take a look back at the State of the City in February 2014 and see how we’ve done.
In 2014 we invited leaders from Quincy Notre Dame, Quincy Public Schools, John Wood Community College and Quincy University to highlight the continued push to make Quincy the education capitol of Illinois. At that time, the Quincy Public School Board was weighing the cost of modernizing existing buildings or building new elementary schools. In 2014, I stated the importance of making substantial investments in our buildings to provide a learning environment that will enhance the education experience of our children. Since then the community overwhelmingly supported building all new elementary schools. Today, Quincy Senior High has been renovated to accommodate this year’s freshman class. Construction is underway at three of the new elementary school sites and in a few short years, Quincy’s new public schools will be a shining example of a community investing in educational excellence.
That year I discussed a study by Georgetown University that found by 2018, 60% of job openings nationwide will require some form of post high school education. I committed to you that a proactive city-wide collaboration between our public schools, parochial schools and postsecondary institutions of learning would last throughout my administration. Thanks to that commitment we launched the Quincy Promise, a partnership between our city’s public and private high schools, the Community Foundation, GREDF, John Wood Community College and the business community. The Quincy Promise aims to encourage our graduating high school students to stay in Quincy and enroll in a college program that is in demand in our local economy. Today, there are 27 freshmen enrolled at JWCC, who are there tuition-free thanks to the Quincy Promise.
Quincy’s economy was a key focus of the 2014 State of the City Address. I promised that economic development would be a key component in Quincy’s long-term growth strategy. One of our goals that year was to work with Quincy’s existing industries to identify potential opportunities for expansion. Since then, Kohl Wholesale has worked with the city on two projects which resulted in close to $1 million in infrastructure improvements and 44 jobs added to our economy with a total payroll commitment of over $1.5 million per year.
In 2014, our Enterprise Zone Incentive program was expiring. In its eighteen years of existence, the program had assisted local employers with creating over 4,100 jobs and retaining over 16,000 jobs in Quincy. Our economic development team had to compete with other communities in the state and propose a competitive plan that could show it was a good investment for taxpayers. At the time, I said that extending our enterprise zone was perhaps the single most important priority we could do that year. I had personally spoken with industry leaders in Quincy who were ready, willing and able to make a significant investment in our region if our Enterprise Zone was extended. The next year, our new Enterprise Zone was approved and signed into law by the Governor.
Since then, the results speak for themselves. Phibro Animal Health expanded into the vacant Postal Sorting Facility. Quincy Farm Products expanded into the former Quincy Compressor building. Titan International is relocating key wheel production components to their Quincy plant. Denman Medical invested $4 million in upgrades to their facility, increasing their output by 70% and adding 30 jobs to their workforce. ADM announced they would invest over $40 million to modernize their plant on 30th and Chestnut. Kohl Wholesale worked with the city to include their property on highway 57 in the new enterprise zone region and this year they announced the company would be building a new $12 million, 150,000 square foot facility and add an additional 20 jobs to our economy. Last week, Knapheide Manufacturing announced they would be building a new 188,000 square foot facility and creating an additional 250 jobs. With the 100 manufacturing jobs added by Quincy employers in 2016, the 64 jobs created by
Kohl Wholesale, and the 250 jobs thanks to Knapheide Manufacturing, since 2014, Quincy employers will have added over 400 head of household jobs by March of next year.
In my first State of the City Address we set out a goal to improve our city’s finances. I challenged the council and department heads to work to pass a structurally balanced budget and embrace a financial strategy that will give us sound finances today and in the future. The general fund budget in 2014 had $31.8 million of planned expenses while only projecting $30 million in revenue. Our reserves were forecasted to go from $3 million at the beginning of the year to $1.2 million by year-end. Through the years, the council and department heads have worked together to manage expenses, invest wisely and today we have a budget that projects $33,200,000 in revenue with $33,151,000 in expenses, a $49,000 surplus. Our reserves are now at $5.7 million, which is 62 days worth of operating expenses.
It hasn’t always been easy, but our council, department heads and employees deserve tremendous kudos for tackling some of our largest expenses. In 2014, our health insurance expenses were rising at an average of 8.5% per year. Our council examined options, reformed our health insurance program and partnered with Quincy Medical Group on an employee clinic. Their efforts not only saved us from a $650,000 increase in our premiums in 2015, but realized a $400,000 reduction in our health insurance costs last year. This year, I am proud to announce that our health insurance expenses will remain flat and we and our insurance expense is now grown at a half of a percent per year. How many of you in the audience today can say your health care expenses have remained flat over the last five years?
In 2014, our workers compensation costs were growing at a rate of 16% a year. To give you an idea of the escalation in costs, in fiscal year 2012 the city paid out $630,000 in claims, in fiscal year 2013 we paid $720,000 in claims, and in 2014, the city paid out $1.1 million to employees for injuries realized on the job. How have we done since 2014? In 2015 we paid out $445,000 in claims and in 2016, the city paid out only $152,000 in claims. The result for taxpayers- today, our workers compensation expense is projected to be less expensive than it was in 2014.
The City Council has also made it a priority to fund our police and fire pension funds above and beyond the state minimum when we could afford it. Since 2014, the council has invested an additional $792,000 into our fire pension fund above the state minimum and has placed $962,000 of funding into our police pension fund above the amount requested by the state.
The right-sizing of our budget has meant that we can place a greater emphasis on the services constituents expect. In 2014 I outlined a goal to place a greater emphasis on infrastructure investments and to adopt a 5 year comprehensive infrastructure plan for the city. The plan was adopted that year and has been updated every year since. Adopting a forward thinking plan for infrastructure has resulted in more dollars invested in streets, sewers and sidewalks. From 2012-2014 the city invested a total of $6.6 million in capital. Since adopting our comprehensive plan in 2014, we have invested over $13 million in capital projects. Major projects include upgrades to Melview Road, College Avenue 20th to 24th, Maine Street 14th to 18th, and 28th Street near Titan Wheel. The city has also invested in our first new water booster station in over fifty years.
Three years ago, I closed the State of the City with this “We must make steps towards updating our long-term vision for Quincy. The reason Quincy is the gem of the Midwest, is because every generation has steered our city with a common vision. It is time for a new generation to take on the mantle of leadership in Quincy and to once again develop a vision that will unify us for years to come.” This year, former mayors Nuessen and Scholz are chairing Quincy’s strategic plan process, an effort that is joining together 180 community leaders to modernize and innovate our approach to economic development, downtown vitality, transportation and tourism.
Quincy has already seen success when groups worked together to find out what was working in other communities and implementing a plan that fits our city’s needs In 2015, we talked about the new Downtown Rental Rehab Program that was adopted by the City Council. The goal of the program was to bring more market rate apartments downtown to help foster a 24/7 living environment. At the time of the 2015 State of the City Address, we were seeking requests for proposals and were optimistic the program would be a success. Since then, developers are investing over $575,000 to bring 16 market rate apartments online. The Downtown Rental Rehab program shows what is possible when our community leaders come together to innovate and adapt to a changing environment.
Speaking of 2015, that year I urged voters to vote yes for funding of a new Adams County Jail. A vote in favor would mean we could build a facility that would promote a positive return to our community for an inmate, and if the county was willing, the city could explore a new home for our police department. Last year the city council passed an agreement that provides $4.2 million to the county for constructing a new home for the Quincy Police Department. The agreement provides the city significant savings from building a new facility on our own and provides a better space for our law enforcement agencies to work together. The council recently passed a funding vehicle to complete our portion of the obligation and county officials tell us they expect the jail project to be finished by the end of 2018.
Last year we announced that Quincy’s strong financial position would allow us to innovate our approach to city services. Public Safety remains our largest investment. Since my first State of the City, the council partnered with Chief Copley to move more sworn officers from behind a desk and onto the streets. Last year’s budget included funding to hire cadets to replace retiring officers once we were given notice of a potential retirement. Why is that important? It can take up to six months for a cadet to go through academy, get trained by QPD and then be on the street ready to serve. By hiring cadets upon notice of retirement we have tried to provide a seamless transition of manpower, which has also worked to reduce overtime costs due to retirements.
We spoke last year of the rise in violent crime across the nation and more specifically how we, in Quincy would handle it. This past year Chief Copley and I rolled out QTAP, or Quincy Turnaround Partnership, a three year pilot program that partners with area law enforcement agencies and social service providers to identify the bad actors in our community, give them a choice to be a positive contributor to our city, or face stiffer punishment if they commit a crime. This initiative is modeled after Peoria’s “Don’t Shoot” initiative that has been successful in reducing gang violence in their community. Due to the program changing the nature of our policing, it is important we educate the community on the program and get buy-in before the program takes into effect. Chief Copley and I have met with many members of the community, and if you are interested in a presentation, please let one of us know. The Police Aldermanic Committee recently discussed the program and plans on meeting again soon to forward a recommendation to the council to provide funding for the initiative for three years.
Our automatic aid agreement with the Tri-Township fire department went into effect in the fall. This agreement provides additional protection to our east side of town, which often experiences the longest response times. While the partnership benefits both agencies, we must look to modernizing locations of our stations. Last year’s budget included funding for a future fire station. The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association has been commissioned to work with Chief Henning to identify a sustainable model for stations, and we expect the report to be presented to the council within a few months.
The goals we set out to accomplish a few short years ago that once seemed like a wish, is now becoming a reality. That is thanks to leadership in our community who addresses challenges head on and rises to the occasion.
There is so much to look forward to. Next year new buildings will be constructed, jobs will be created, discussion of the replacement of the Memorial Bridge will continue and our city will have a new strategic plan to unite our community with a common vision.
It’s been said that a city is more than a place in space, but a drama in time, and I want you to think about this moment we are in together. Quincy is a city woven with people that together are building new schools so our children can learn and grow. We are a city where entrepreneurs are making their mark on a world stage and welcoming more of us to come and join them. We are a city that looks our challenges in the eye and dares to take them on. And we are a city that is laying the foundation of a better tomorrow.
Ladies and gentlemen, the state of your city is strong, and I am so honored to be sharing in this moment of time with you. I can think of no other city, no other people like you will find in Quincy, Illinois and I know thanks to the 40,000 residents who call this place home that we are shining brighter than ever before.