STEWART: The state of the city is stronger than it has ever been

Published on Friday, 11 March 2022 13:38
Written by Erin Stewart

Mayor of New Britain

I recently stood before members of the Common Council, elected officials, department leaders, city employees, and my fellow residents of New Britain to deliver my ninth State of the City address. In this column I share an abbreviated version of that speech, but if you are interested the full address can be found on the City’s brand new website at .

Over these past nine years, we have been fearless in our pursuit to create a better New Britain. Our past accomplishments are self-evident and our plans for the future are intended to build upon that success. Together, we are making New Britain the shining example of a Connecticut city on the rise.

We continue to be focused on results-driven leadership and our residents continue to witness first-hand what can be accomplished through steadfast governance, meticulous planning, and a positive vision for our collective future. To put it simply: it’s what can be achieved with compassionate yet strong hands on the wheel.

In order to ensure that all of our collective hard work does not get undone by the politics of inexperience, ignorance, or partisanship, it is crucial that we have a mechanism for continued professional and non- partisan leadership built directly into our City Charter.

Continuity means a permanent operations manager in place, filled by an individual who has the concrete qualifications, understanding of our City and municipal government, and professional management skills to maintain a level of continuity and progress that is insulated from electoral politics. It is imperative that the City work to sustain the successes of the past eight years by supporting a Charter revision that allows us the ability to hire for continuity and institutionalize the progress we have made together.

Self- investment is paramount to our future success, our growth potential, our retention rate, and our overall quality of life. Right now, we are making crucial investments into our aging water and sewer infrastructure, we are beautifying our streetscape in neighborhoods across the city and we are continuing our parks overhaul. We are fighting back against the callousness of addiction and homelessness, and we are in the beginning process of outlining a city-wide fiber network to connect our assets and provide a low-cost internet alternative to the residents of our community.

We continue to be committed to growth and development. We are attracting businesses in every corner of our City and we have a ton of shovel ready developments happening or in the queue. You don’t have to just take my word for it, the proof is made public year after year. In 2021, the City’s Grand List grew by nearly 4% adding a ninth consecutive year of growth.

As we look towards the future, it is also important for us to remember that our utmost responsibility as elected officials is to be a servant to the taxpayers of our community. We must continue to exercise fiscal restraint, spend money on only what is necessary, and when possible (and responsible) give back the excess to the hardworking taxpayers of New Britain.

It is my wish for this council and all levels of government, to follow our lead by governing in the spirit of bipartisanship. It is imperative that we cement bi-partisan governance by amending our Charter to require minority party representation on this council moving forward.

We are chronicling a path forward, a path of long-term vision and success. Together, we are securing the future for our City that all of our residents deserve. I know that the future of New Britain will only grow brighter as long as a qualified, sensible leadership team remains in place.

I plan to continue to build off of our accomplishments and to push forward by pledging to work towards the goals that guarantee our success: institutionalizing progress, investing in ourselves, strategic economic development, taxpayer protection, and a commitment to bi-partisanship.

I am proud to report that the state of our City is stronger than ever. We are growing, we are confident, and we are looking towards the future ready to embrace our limitless potential and opportunity – but it is up to us to keep it that way.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Columns, Editorials, General News on Friday, 11 March 2022 13:38. Updated: Friday, 11 March 2022 13:40.