Five years ago, I stood with citizens across our community to push for leadership, accountability, and vision. Voters approved a new City Charter and “strong mayor” form of government by a wide margin, and in just a few short years, we’ve made unprecedented progress.
We’ve reformed pensions, cut property taxes, and reduced the City budget, saving taxpayers millions. We’re finally being taken seriously in Tallahassee and Washington and getting our fair share of state and federal dollars. We’ve opened two new community centers in Woodland Heights and Legion Field and reduced crime throughout the City by 14% — the highest drop in a decade.
Pensacola has thrived in spite of the national economic downturn. Unemployment is down, and we’re on the verge of adding hundreds of new, high-paying jobs at the Port of Pensacola and Pensacola International Airport, where we’ve also added new commercial and cargo service from Southwest and UPS. Downtown Pensacola has blossomed into renaissance, and Palafox Street has been recognized as a Great Street in America. For the first time in decades, Pensacola’s young people are excited about the direction our city is headed.
All of these successes were made possible by our new City Charter. As mayor, I’ve taken an oath to uphold the Charter, and wholeheartedly believe it provides our City with the tools we need to be successful. Growing pains are a part of any transition, but the point is that we are growing and the new Charter is working. Let’s honor the wishes of the voters by working together and continuing to take our City upward.