Brawley mayor gives state of city address

Brawley mayor Sam Couchman. Lloyd Miller file photo

BRAWLEY — The Brawley Chamber of Commerce hosted the Mayor’s Breakfast and State of the City Address Friday morning at the Stockmen’s Club of Imperial Valley.

Attending the event were community leaders from throughout the Valley.

Chamber president Liz Gonzales welcomed the full house of guests and introduced the chamber board, city council members, and Mayor Sam Couchman.

Couchman gave current statistics to the audience, such as the population of almost 26,000 and the median income of $32,000 for the city.

“The numbers fail to tell the whole story,” said Couchman. “Brawley is a vibrant community. The city is filled with life, activities, young people are returning, and involved residents.”

“The city is the people that live and work here,” continued Couchman. “Especially city staff that helps with the day to day operations and keep this city maintained.”

The 2016-17 fiscal year budget for the city is just over $48 million. General fund budget is $16 million.

“The city is fiscally strong,” said Couchman.

New business, construction or expansion of businesses throughout the city were covered, especially the Wal-mart corridor. Many homes and apartments are being constructed, extending in-place subdivisions.

For downtown, some new businesses are coming in or are currently remodeling existing buildings. The burnt out building at 8th and G Streets has been bought and the owner will rebuild it to look like it was originally, Couchman told the room.

“We are still pushing the downtown area to new businesses,” said Couchman. “We may begin some incentives for the downtown area to maybe attract more businesses.”

The building that was formerly the Rock Café & Coffee Shop will soon be an Irish pub.

The mayor mentioned the beef plant and that progress is being made for the owners and the 195 employees to date. He said they received their business license and certificate of occupancy Thursday.

“We certainly want to work with the beef plant,” said Couchman. “We want them to be successful. It’s very important to all of Imperial County. We also want to protect the city and make sure we are doing our job.”

Many park improvements are underway, especially Alyce Gereaux Park, which is currently undergoing a complete makeover, according to Couchman. The park features many amenities, such as sculptures and a splash pad. The California Department of State Parks awarded the city a $2.7 million grant for parks.

Street improvements continue and are on a yearly schedule.

Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District continues to expand and bring in more services to the community, saving residents from having to leave the Valley for specialized health care.

“What the future holds is never certain,” said Couchman. “But one thing is unquestionable here in the city of Brawley. The city council and the city staff are committed to providing efficient, effective, and excellent service to improve the quality of life for all Brawley residents.”