EL CENTROÂ â€”Â Mayor Alex Cardenas gave the keynote breakfast speech at El Centro’s State of the City address January 31 to a room packed with county and city dignitaries and supporters at the El Centro Community Center. The theme this year was Mardi Gras, and gold, purple, and green dominated the decorations, along with full sized cut-out jesters scattered throughout the room.
Before launching into his future vision for El Centro, the mayor acknowledged the hard work the city council accomplished the past year under the guidance of past Mayor Jason Jackson and his fellow council members, Mayor Pro-tem Cheryl Viegas-Walker, Efrain Silva and Edgard Garcia.
Cardenas spoke highly of the cityâ€™s finance department and how prudently the budgetary and financial health of El Centro has been managed. Proof, according to Cardenas, was the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Award for Excellence and the GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award the city received in 2016. Parts of the cityâ€™s financial responsibilities included managing an investment portfolio of $127 million dollars.
In 2016 the city issued 383 new business licenses and renewed 1,921 licenses, he said.
Cardenas also spoke of the many public works projects the council initiated, including water lines, bus shelters, widening Euclid and Buena Vista avenues, and the many sidewalk and street improvements, especially along Lincoln Avenue.
Cardenas said he expects El Centro to continue into 2017 with the same force and positive vision as before.
â€œWhen I look back a year from now, I want the citizens of El Centro to know we have laid out a wonderful, positive vision of direction for the town, to take us forward to being even a better community than we are right now,â€ Cardenas commented after his speech.
First on the list was recruiting a top notch city manager, he said. The city is searching to fill its city manager position after the recent retirement of Ruben Duran.
One of the larger city projects will be an aquatic center that will feature a competitive swimming pool, and water park areas for family recreation.
After the speech, the attendees were treated to breakfast burritos, morning beverages, and a chance to mingle with the Valleyâ€™s public officials including El Centro Naval Air Facility personnel, Border Patrol officers, and city police chiefs from around Imperial County.