Mayor Miklos talks expansion, economy in State of City addressBy: Don Chaddock, Managing Editor
Hundreds of business and civic leaders gathered at Lake Natoma Inn to hear Folsom Mayor Steve Miklos give his State of the City address.
Miklos touched on some key issues Thursday, such as unemployment, the city budget and the annexation of the land south of Highway 50.
“We … look forward to building a new city south of 50,” he said. “Things are getting better (with the economy). We’re looking at another couple of years of tough budget decisions.”
He touted Folsom’s jobless rate.
“Our unemployment rate is 4.5 percent,” he said. “Full employment is defined as anything under 4.7 percent, but are we satisfied with 4.5 percent? No.”
He said the city issued 6 percent more building permits in 2012 than the previous year and there were also more vehicles sold, 12,000 in 2012 vs. 9,500 in 2011. Miklos said these are all positive signs for the economy in Folsom.
Regarding the south of Highway 50 annexation, which became official just about a year ago, Miklos said there is a common question.
“What I hear all the time is, ‘When are we going to see sticks and bricks?’ Very soon,” he said. “We need to put in the infrastructure first.”
Miklos said they worked out a water agreement with the land owners in the south of 50 area, which expanded Folsom’s borders by 3,585 acres.
He also touted the newest shopping center in the region as a bright spot in Folsom.
“Unheard of in this economy, we have a new shopping center that’s blossoming,” he said. “I’m told Palladio is 60 percent leased and should be 80 leased by Christmas.”
He praised Harry Elliott III for continuing to build the center even when the economy started nose-diving.
“You kept going when everyone else thought you were crazy,” Miklos said. “Palladio is gorgeous. Harry Elliott, you have hit a home run right out of the park with that design.”
The public plaza, between Leidesdorff and Sutter streets, opened in spring 2012 and thousands turned out for the grand opening celebration.
“We have many more events planned in the new public plaza,” he said.
Miklos also took swipes at those who complain about public safety and the candidate who took issue with the incumbent city council members for serving more than a decade each.
“We have the best response times in the region,” Miklos said. “When I hear someone whining about some police officer or fireman, I say, go to another jurisdiction and see how long it takes.”
He said Folsom’s crime rate dropped 12.5 percent in 2012.
“We listened to what the residents had to say about how we deliver (police) services,” he said.
He said Roger Gaylord, who ran against Ernie Sheldon and Jeff Starsky in the last election, was wrong to target the years of hard work the sitting council members have put in to improve the area.
“It was a mistake to target our experience,” Miklos said, citing all the accomplishments of the council.
He said there are still tough budget decisions ahead at least for the next couple of years while the economy improves.
Councilman Ernie Sheldon said this would be his last time on the council, having been elected to a second term in November.
“We need to be sure we build homes in this town,” Sheldon said. “We have discussions around affordable housing. This council isn’t worried about checking boxes, we’re worried about getting a person in a home. … A challenge we have is people working here who can’t afford to live here.”