GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

November 29, 2012

Mayor to talk state of city at City Hall

Officials will answer questions from public

By Marjorie Nesin
Staff Writer

---- — This year, instead of traveling to Gloucester's neighborhoods, the mayor will deliver her State of the City address at City Hall.

The mayor’s annual address to Gloucesterites will come in a different form this year, but will still hit on residents’ biggest concerns regarding the city’s finances and infrastructure, with a special discussion on community development.

Mayor Carolyn Kirk will deliver her state of the city address Monday night as one large presentation, with public officials available to answer audience questions, rather than give the neighborhood addresses as she has in the past. Kirk said the new format will create an opportunity for residents to reach out to all of their public officials, instead of just the one or two she brought along to each community meeting.

“I love going to the neighborhoods, but the challenge is I’ll bring the DPW director to Lanesville, for example, and I’ll bring the CFO to Magnolia, rather than dragging each official along with me on each of the five nights ... and residents who have the CFO director in front of them wish they had the DPW director in front of them and vice versa.”

Instead, this year residents can attend one consolidated presentation in Kyrouz Auditorium at City Hall on Monday beginning at 7 p.m. As requested by residents, department heads will attend, including the police and fire chiefs, chief financial officer, Public Works director, city solicitor, acting community development director, harbor planning director, environmental engineer, director of veterans services and the public health director.

Question and answer sessions will take place throughout the presentation, as inquiries arrive. Plus, Kirk intends to leave extra time for questions so city officials can answer as many as possible.

“People come out, they’re there, and they have questions,” Kirk said. “I don’t like to leave any question unanswered.”

Within Kirk’s own Power-Point presentation, the mayor will highlight tax dollar revenues, planned and completed work on city infrastructure projects, such the water project, through charts, photos and images. This year’s address will also paint a picture of upcoming community development work such as the Harbor Plan, and showcase some of the city’s Community Preservation Act projects. And, Kirk said, it will introduce interested people to the projects, giving them a chance to dive in deeper later.

“It’s like a tease,” Kirk said. “If you want to learn more, go to the website and dig in, or if you have a project you think might work, learn how to apply.”

Kirk hopes to see at least 100 Gloucesterites turn out for the presentation, emphasizing the format allows people to ask questions of their public employees or just listen to answers and put names to faces, and she said the address is an opportunity for community members, seasoned and new, to learn.

“It’s a really good reminder to people who have lived in the city for a long time of what has been going on, and what is happening in the city,” Kirk said. “And, it’s a great orientation for anyone who’s new to the city.”

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3451, or mnesin@gloucestertimes.com.

If you go Who and what: Mayor Carolyn Kirk gives her State of the City address. When: Monday at 7 p.m. Where: Kyrouz Auditorium, City Hall, 9 Dale Ave. How much: Free to the public.