Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski put the city through a complete physical during his 40-minute 2017 State of the City address and determined that it is in excellent health.
“The prognosis is good,” said Pawlowski as he delivered his remarks this morning at The Barristers Club to a sold out crowd of 150 members of the Allentown Chamber of Commerce and Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce .
Pawlowski told a story of how the city’s heart, circulation system, brain, backbone, muscle, skin and soul function to create “a healthy, vibrant, livable Great American City.”
The mayor rattled off statistics like a six point improvement in the city’s unemployment rate since taking office, 1800 total new jobs in the downtown, more than 300 low/moderate income owner-occupied properties rehabilitated, more than 75 miles of paved streets, a recent 23.8% increase in overall recycling and a 48% reduction in Part I crimes. He touted an improved bond rating and fully funded pension plan and bridge construction and rehabilitation projects.
The 2017 city budget holds the line on the property tax rate for the 12th consecutive year.
Pawlowski pointed to the future announcing that he would create an Office of HOPE – which stands for Housing and Opportunities for People Everywhere - that will bring a coordinated and comprehensive approach to the policies, programs and projects that will impact Allentown's housing affordability. He reiterated plans to establish a 311 Center after the state’s mandated merge of the city’s 911 Emergency Center into the Lehigh County operation, start-up a Cultural Center in Alliance Hall and pursue additional funding for the Allentown Promise endowment.
Pawlowski concluded the event by asking attendees to promote kindness asking, “Think of how different this city would be if we all just practiced one act of kindness each day. I challenge you to join a movement for Allentown to be known as a City of Kindness. Think of what that would do to attract people to live and invest in our city.”
The Chamber event is the first in what is usually a series of invitations for a mayoral address from service clubs in the city. The state of the city report is a requirement of the city charter.