Folsom mayor sees brighter days ahead
Folsom Mayor Steve Miklos presented a brief message with good news in his 2013 State of the City address. The mayor debuted his speech at the Folsom Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Jan. 17 and delivered it from the Folsom City Council chamber on Jan. 22.
The city has a few more challenging years because government always trails the private sector, he said. “However, we are turning the corner and we will get there. Our economy is rebounding.”
Miklos recounted signs of economic recovery in the city during the past year. New housing permits went from 56 in 2011 to 162 in 2012. Construction valuation increased by seven percent over 2011. He said the city has set a priority for people of all income levels to be able to afford a home in Folsom.
The business park on Iron Point Road generated 275 new jobs. Intel hired 500 new employees. Walmart’s expansion on Riley Street created another 120 jobs.
Folsom’s unemployment rate is 4.5 percent, compared to Sacramento County and California at 10 percent.
Palladio, the eight-block lifestyle shopping center that opened with Cinema West in November 2009, is 60 percent leased and expects to be 80 percent leased by the end of the year.
In 2012, Sacramento County Local Agency Formation Commission approved Folsom’s application to annex 3,585 acres south of Highway 50. The city is working on infrastructure plans now. One-third of the area will be reserved as natural open space, with parks and trails throughout.
He said the city is paying close attention to the Central Business District and expects to see more positive changes in the coming years.
He talked about the “Folsom experience,” all the activities and facilities that are available. He mentioned the “joy of discovering Folsom’s rich Gold Rush history, the pleasure of using the 34 miles of recreational trails, taking part in library programs, watching your dog at the Aquatic Center’s Bark ‘n’ Splash,” or enjoying a block party with neighbors. These experiences may be slightly different for each of us, but they bond us together, he said.
The Folsom Cordova Unified School District operates 10 elementary schools, two middle schools, two comprehensive high schools and an independent high school in Folsom. With high-achieving schools from kindergarten through Folsom Lake College, he said city leaders are “working diligently to attract a four-year college in the coming years.”
Pointing to fire and police services, he said that Folsom has the best response times in the region and the crime rate dropped 20 per cent last year. He thanked the residents who “support our public safety efforts by their eyes and ears.”
Miklos highlighted the role of tourism. The TOT tax, the tax on hotel and motel stays, doubled the state average. Three Stages at Folsom Lake College had its first full season in 2012, with artists from around the world and throughout the community performing almost every night of the year. The Public Plaza opened on Sutter Street, and events such as Folsom LIVE! brought thousands to the Historic District.
A new event this year will be the Hydroplane races on Folsom Lake. The hydroplanes last appeared in Folsom in 1967. These boats travel over the water at 200 mph. The races will be held May 31 through June 2, and are expected to attract 10,000-20,000 visitors.
Miklos gave credit for the city’s economic health to his fellow council members and city management for providing leadership stability. Miklos was first elected to the city council in 1994. He is a retired paramedic/firefighter who became a real estate broker and founded Bentley Mortgage and Real Estate. He has served as mayor in eight previous years. Vice Mayor Jeff Starsky, an attorney, was elected in 2000. Kerri Howell, civil engineer, was elected in 1998. Andy Morin, meteorologist, was elected in 2002. Ernie Sheldon was a Parks and Recreation commissioner for two decades. He was elected to the council in 2008. “We work as a team,” said Miklos.
City Manager Evert Palmer joined the city in 1996. He became city manager in 2011 and leads a 12-member executive management team.
Miklos thanked “all the residents and business owners who have made a commitment to volunteerism and civic involvement, a commitment to helping ensure that the Folsom experience endures for many years to come.”