Citrus Heights Sentinel Logo

Mayor Highlights Strengths, Threats in ‘State of the City’ Address

Citrus Heights Mayor Mel Turner delivered the annual “State of the City” address to a sold-out business luncheon, Tuesday, highlighting a 13 percent drop in crime over the past year, a rise in home values and the newly opened Stones Gambling Hall.

Citrus Heights Mayor Mel Turner
Citrus Heights Mayor Mel Turner delivers his “State of the City” address to a sold-out business luncheon, Tuesday.

Defining Citrus Heights as “a city of promise,” Mayor Turner articulated his perspective on secrets to the city’s success: its voters and council members, a “caring city manager,” a community of involved volunteers, and the ability to manage change well.

“We don’t believe in change for the sake of change,” the mayor said, speaking highly of the city’s latest change in approving a 400-employee casino. “There needs to be a sound reason, with a return on investment to the community as a whole for the change.”

Citing opportunities for the city, the mayor highlighted plans for more change with additional business improvement districts, as well as new potential with Police Chief Christopher Boyd’s recent promotion to the head of the California Police Chief’s Association. He also cited the potential for change with a new medical office building and city hall in the Citrus Heights — a proposal the city council will take up later this month.

Highlighting accomplishments, the mayor cited construction beginning on the 46-home Autumn Woods housing development, the passage of a medical marijuana cultivation ordinance, and the recent completion of the Stock Ranch Nature Preserve — which he called “almost the best kept secret in Citrus Heights.”

Turning his attention to threats the City is facing, the mayor spoke of unfunded state mandates, increases in California Public Employees’ Retirement System obligations, and current litigation with the Department of Finance over redevelopment funds, where he said the City is being asked to give back $9 million.

The mayor also criticized changes in the State’s energy code, saying new policies have “some unrealistic expectations,” adding that the City is additionally working to address problems created by AB 109, a prisoner realignment plan passed by the legislature to reduce over-crowding in prisons.

Turning to focus on the city’s strengths, Mayor Turner praised a “strong, united city council,” and applauded a “dedicated, talented city staff” and an “innovative, fiscally responsible city manager.” The mayor also expressed gratitude for the volunteer-work done by the Residents’ Empowerment Association of Citrus Heights and the city’s 11 neighborhood associations, which he called “the backbone” of the community.

“Kudo’s” were also given to the police department for its winning of the James Q. Wilson Award for Excellence in Community Policing, and for its work with youth through the Police Activities League.

The mayor closed out his 25-minute speech by citing several national and international awards that City employees had earned, emphasizing to the business-crowd that a city — like a business — “cannot be successful without good staff.”

Mayor Turner’s speech was held at Crosswood Oaks retirement center and was delivered during the Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon.

Listen to the mayor’s full speech below:

Like local news? Sign up for The Sentinel’s free email edition and get two emails a week with all local news and no spam, ever. (Click here)