Newark has seen the worst of the storm.
That was the message Mayor David Smith delivered in front of 160 attendees during Thursday’s State of the City Address at the .
In his annual report to the Newark community, Smith reviewed how Newark’s employees and citizens have been affected by its narrowing budget and where the city is headed.
Since 2008, Newark has seen a reduction in its operational budget of nearly $8 million. The total operational budget for the current fiscal year is $33 million.
Smith reminded the community this decline had a drastic effect on programs and services available to Newark residents.
The mayor thanked the community for passing Measure U – the utility users tax approved by voters in November.
The 3.5 percent utility users tax on electricity, gas, telecommunications and cable television is expected to bring $2.3 million into the city’s operational budget each year for the next five years.
“It gives us some breathing room,” Smith said.
In his speech, Smith noted that in public safety, landscape, park and street maintenance, recreational services, equipment replacement, fire apparatus replacements as well as capital improvement and fiscal uncertainty funds.
A school resource officer, a police detective, a school crossing guard program and the reopening of the city’s Senior Center are among those restorations.
The mayor also recognized new and green businesses that call Newark home.
Smith praised new businesses for coming to Newark during the declining economy, mentioning stores like at Newpark Mall and across town in Rosemont Square.
The has also seen success with almost half of its 1.4 million-square-foot facility being occupied by globally recognized businesses, according to Smith.
Smith also said a new company that is planning to occupy the building on Gateway Boulevard will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Newark community, he said, will see more development this coming year. He added that while Newark has had tough times within the past four years, he believes there are calm waters ahead.
Check back on Newark Patch Saturday to watch what else went on during this year’s State of the City Address.