New Britain City Journal

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State of the City

Other than stating that some business is coming into the site presently held empty at the former Shaw’s building on West Main St., Mayor Tim O’Brien said little as he spoke for nearly 30 minutes Wednesday night reiterating items that appeared to set his political agenda for the 2013 mayoral campaign.

Although he did not release details of what will be at the Shaw’s site, he said “in the coming weeks we expect to announce a new and exciting development at the Shaw’s site left vacant for very long.”

During the written speech, he spoke of job creation such as more construction in the City, referring to CTFastrak.

“Everything depends on having a successful economy,” O’Brien said. He took credit for various new business expansions such as Polymer Precision, Peter Paul Electronics and Costco which he previously opposed.

“The Costco project is well on track and expected to bring in 220 jobs and $500,000, in annual tax revenue,” said O’Brien. “Our police station is complete.”

He also said the Hospital of Central Connecticut broke ground on a $40 million, 70,000 square foot state of the art cancer center.

“We will continue to move forward,” he said. “In 2013 our downtown will continue to see transformation as promised and move forward with the downtown streetscape project.”

He said this project will beautify downtown and provide bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

O’Brien also said he will continue the successful Halloween Celebration that took place in downtown. He said he will continue to use a marketing strategy that includes a communication system. He said he plans to continue to call resident by telephone to notify them of events happening in the City.

He also said he increased funds to the Board of Education which he stated had been flat funded for several years. He took credit for the new health professions magnet school approved at the Pinnacle Heights site.

He said he heavily prioritized community initiatives for young people.

O’Brien also spoke of blight saying he refused to back down.

“It takes more than a very strong ordinance to fight blight,” O’Brien said. “It takes political will.”

He said he has the greatest authority over blight. He stated that residents should call his office directly to fight blight.

He said his anti-blight policy has filed $1.2 million in liens, but only collected a mere $15,000. His 2012-13 budget predicted hundreds of thousands of dollars to be collected in that line item.

O’Brien also brought up that he had purchased the Berkowitz Building which continues to be the worst blighted building in the City. Over a month ago he said someone was purchasing it in two weeks, but nothing has been said since. He still claims there are two proposals.

O’Brien also said he has increased the police force.

“The goal of our police department is to create a better community and to work with residents to strengthen residents,” O’Brien said. “We have not had a murder in nearly a year down from three the previous year.”

Financial challenges is another topic O’Brien brought up speaking of consolidating departments and his budget that maintained services without raising taxes.

“We have accomplished so much already,” said O’Brien. “But there is so much more work that needs to be done. We can say over the actions the last 16 months we are headed in a better direction.”

O’Brien said he is in the process of making next year’s budget and will not raise property taxes.