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City of Porterville
291 North Main Street
Porterville, CA 93257
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City Council

CITY OF PORTERVILLE
State of the City Address
December 2018

I want to thank the businesses honored today, businesses and community leaders like the ones honored truly make a community a great place to live, work and play.

2018 has been exciting year for the City of Porterville. Today I will go through some of the accomplishments and what to expect as we enter the New Year.

The Finance Department remains steadfast in keeping the City on track financially. They were able to refinance a sewer bond resulting in tremendous savings. For the 28th year the Finance Department was awarded the Government Finance Officers Association Certificate of Excellence in Finacial Reporting.

The Administrative Services Department has had a productive year. They earned recognition for their excellence in the processing of passports, as they have processed over 1200  to date in 2018. Administered the City's transition from at-large elections to by-district elections for City Council representation and administered the consolidated November 6, 2018 election with the Tulare County Elections Office. They also oversaw the process of placing a general sales tax measure (Measure I) on the November 2018 ballot, which will benefit the community for years to come. In addition to their work with the election and passport processing, they conducted approximately 22 recruitments for full-time City positions; and administered over 200 orientations for new part-time and full-time employees.

The Porterville Police Department led by Chief Eric Kroutil continues to keep our community safe and has remained extremely active in our community throughout 2018.

The Porterville Police Department is expected to exceed last year's total for calls for service. A call for service entails a resident of the City calling for some type of police service, ranging from violent crime to quality of life issues. In 2018, Porterville Police will have handled approximately 40,000 calls for service. This is a nearly 30% increase from a few years ago.

In 2018, Porterville enjoyed a crime reduction in most categories, including nearly 15% when aggregating homicide, robberies, assaults and burglaries. While property thefts were about the same, there was an increase of nearly 10% in auto theft. Despite the reduction in reported crime, arrest statistics are up approximately 4%.

Besides handling criminal activity and other requests for police services on a daily basis, Department members coordinate and participate in many community events, some of which were: the Junior Academy, Citizens Academy, Iris Festival, Tule Tribe Backpack giveaway, Freedom Fest, 5 Coffee with a Cop events, Story Time at the Porterville Library, Santa in the Park, and many more.

One of the Department's proudest events in 2018 was their "Pink Patch Project" in which the Department raised $5,000 to donate to the Sierra View Medical Center Roger S. Good Cancer Treatment Center.

The Porterville Police Department continues to believe that our community is our strongest ally in ensuring our community is a place where people want to live, work, play and raise their families and strives to strengthen that community partnership on a daily basis.

The Porterville Fire Department led by Chief David LaPere returned to the tradition of red fire trucks with the addition of their newest fire truck that went into service in October and is serving the community out of Station 72 on Newcomb Street.

The Fire Department received coveted Class 2 Public Protection Classification from the Insurance Services Office.

The Fire Department has responded to 4,732 calls including 409 fires and 2908 Rescue and EMS calls in 2018 to date and to 9 statewide mutual aid calls.

Striving to clean up the community, Code Enforcement ramped up by adding two part time personnel in March of this year.

They completed 903 code enforcement activities ranging from vehicles parked on lawns to water waste violations and neglected properties with trash. Since the passage of the shopping cart ordinance, 417 shopping carts have been collected throughout the community.

The Parks and Leisure Department continues to add amenities and activities for our community. Over 9,000 people have utilized the upper playground at Murry Park and over 7,000 have enjoyed the new pavilion at Zalud Park.  The addition of disc golf at Murry Park had an estimated 2,000 rounds played on it during the course of the year.

The YES (Youth Experiencing Success) after school program in the Porterville Unified School District's 14 elemetary and middle schools underwent an expansion in 2018 increasing the number of students attending from 5,000 to 5,500. 225 part-time people are employed by the City to administer the YES program.

The Porterville Library continues their service to our community for the 110th year. They are open seven days a week and have seen 173,204 visitors in 2018 and have circulated 233,844 library items. The Library has conducted 1,041 library programs with 25,655 people in attendance of the programs. This year we saw the addition of Harry Potters Birthday, summer guitar club, yoga, coding and puzzles. The City of Porterville Library is definitely more than just books.

The Public Works Department has completed several projects this year including; the $7.53 million Jaye Street Bridge Widening project. The project included rehabilition, widening, seismic retrofit, barrier replacement, deck and associated roadwork from Springville to Date Avenues.

Garden Avenue Repair and conversation of approximately 1,035 feet of existing city sidewalks, creating a 10 foot wide paved pedestrian corridor. Installing ADA compliant, Class 1 bike and pedestrian trail to connect two separated segments of Garden Avenue to the existing Rails-to-Trails corridor.

Putnam & D Street Improvements included an upgrade of the existing traffic signals to incorporate protected left turns jon all four legs and ADA compliant ramps at each corner of the Putnam Avenue and D Street intersection.

The Public Works Department will complete the fifth sewer district allowing a total 1,179 properties the ability to connect to the City Sewer System, of which 432 have already connected.

In addition to the bridge, road, and sewer projects the City completed the East Porterville Water Supply Project connecting the community of East Porterville reliable potable water. The project encompassed nearly 15 miles of water mains to connect 309 residences in phase one and 413 have agreed to be connected in the future under the projects guidelines. The project was a success with the collaboration of multiple agencies and non-profits.

Porterville Transit electrification project will be completed in 2019.

Retail development remains strong with the opening of Aldi's yesterday and the construction of Porter's Crossing at Henderson Avenue and Prospect Street. Porter's Crossing will be home to Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, Habit Burger and Togos's.

Downtown continues to add new offerings. This year we saw the Vault expand into their new location as well as the addition of Coco's Roll Ice Cream and Maurisco's. Next year will see the addition of a Family Healthcare Network facility on D Street as well as the much anticipated opening of Fugazzi's Restaurant in the former Palace building.

The Porterville Hotel has long been a part of the Porterville community. Orginally built in 1888, by the Tulare Stockton Railroad Company as the Arlington Hotel it has seen many changes in its lifespan. In the early 1900's it was renamed the Porterville Hotel and a third floor was added in 1926.

The facility was a staple downtown for many years until it eventually went into disrepair and became a blight to our downtown. The City of Porterville and former Porterville Redevelopment agency worked hard in the early 2000's to mitigate the blight that the hotel was causing.

In December of 2013, the former Porterville Hotel burned down leaving a pile of rubble and a complicated financial situation for the Redevelopment Agency.

Through the leadership of the City Council, Successor Agency, City Manager John Lollis, Finance Director Maria Bemis, and Community Development Director Jenni Byers, the City was able to successfully continue to acquistion of the site, have the site cleaned and prepared for development and sold to a developer to be the new home of the Tulare County District Attorney.

Cam Hamilton

2018 has been blessed year for our community. We look forward to next year iwth the anticipation of even better times to come.

 

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