FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE More than 300 attendees gathered to hear Mayor Bob Stephens share his views this morning about the state of Springfield during the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s Good Morning Springfield! at the Mediacom Ice Park at 635 E. Trafficway. Mayor Stephens said that the state of the City is strong, and getting stronger. “Our city continues to emerge from the recession. Construction jobs, both private and public, are being worked all over town. As of April 2014, our unemployment rate is at 5.1 percent and continues to be significantly lower than either the national or the state unemployment rate. And in the past two years, we have added 3,300 jobs in our MSA,” he said. Mayor Stephens said the Springfield community is known for working together. “… folks from all parts of the community continue to work together to solve problems other cities haven’t even thought about yet and, in some cases, accomplish things that other communities only dream about,” he said. He cited the passing the renewal of the Police/Fire Pension Sales Tax in April as an example. “… last April, Springfield voters voted to finish the job of funding our Police/Fire Pension Plan by strongly passing the renewal of the ¾-cent sales tax for another five years. The margin was by an almost 77 percent positive vote—demonstrating that voters had confidence in our city government and that this tax revenue would be handled properly.” “Prior to that, last year, voters had approved—by a similarly large 74% margin—the ¼-cent Capital Expenditures sales tax. This is the tax that helps build additional left-turn lanes, widens roads, add sidewalks, bike paths and trees, and repair City buildings as well as other capital improvements throughout the community. The fact that Springfield approved two tax renewals—one passing by 74 percent and the other passing with a 76 percent margin—clearly demonstrates that the goal Council established in 2009 of restoring faith in local government and building social capital within our community is continuing to be successfully met.” Mayor Stephens addressed the fact that Springfield’s violent crime numbers are up from previous years, yet praised the Springfield Police Department for its proactive approach to address the problems. “… overall crime dropped 19 percent for the first quarter. A report for the second quarter should be out by the end of this month, but preliminary numbers show a continuing downward trend,” he said. “The highest number of violent crimes are committed by people who know their victims, rather than being simply random crimes. The harsh, stark truth is that we are in far more danger statistically from people we live with or work with than we are from some random shooting or mugging.” In closing, Mayor Stephens said, “Springfield is strong; it is vibrant; it is dealing with its problems; and it is preparing for the future. We have things to work on and we have many, many things to celebrate. So, until this time next year, may Springfield live long and prosper!” • View the full video of Mayor Stephens’ speech.
• Download a transcript of Mayor Stephens’ speech (pdf).
• Download the State of the City 2014 slideshow (pdf). For more information, contact: Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, 417-864-1009 (office) | 417-380-3352 (cell), [email protected]