Gray: Lexington "Strong And Getting Stronger"
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray delivered the city’s State of the Merged Government address Tuesday morning.
"I am proud to report the state of our city is strong and getting stronger," the mayor said.
Gray began the speech by reflecting on four decades of the merged government, which he said now faces three big challenges: job creation, running government efficiently, and creating what he calls a “Great American City.”
Progress has been made on the number one priority, he said, as the city has seen a drop in its unemployment rate from 8.7 percent at the height of the recession down to 6.1 percent as of last November.
"Our job growth rate from July 2012 to July 2013 was the ninth highest in the country. Since January 2011, jobs in Lexington have increased by almost 9,000, a 6 percent increase in our labor force in less than three years. By contrast, the state’s labor force increased by only 1 percent," he said.
Gray also touted efforts to make Lexington more attractive to hi-tech startups, $61.8M saved since 2012 as a result of employee health insurance and pension reforms, and progress on the plans to reimagine Rupp Arena.
The mayor said the city is set to unveil new designs for Rupp, the convention center, and elements of the Town Branch Commons in the next few days.