State of the City Address
Mayor Prakash Narain
January 23, 2013
Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for joining us today for the 2013 State of the City program. I appreciate the successful year we had in 2012, and look forward to our continued success in 2013. At this time, I would like to acknowledge my colleagues on the City Council, Mayor Pro Tem Leroy Mills, Council Member Doug Bailey, newly elected Council Members Rob Johnson and Mariellen Yarc. I would also like to thank and acknowledge former Council Members Phil Luebben and Todd Seymore for their service on the City Council and to the Community in 2012.
In our printed program, there is a list of dignitaries in attendance today. I would like to extend to all of you our warmest welcome from the City of Cypress. Last, but not least, I would like to thank and acknowledge my wife Veena for her love and support.
During the six years as a Council Member and Mayor serving the citizens and businesses in Cypress, I have developed a greater appreciation of local government. When one thinks of government, usually what comes to mind is a large bureaucracy, such as the State or Federal government. Along with that thought comes the perception, that it takes months, or even years, to complete a project or affect a change. However, I feel it is local government where accomplishments are made. Our City is a shining example of effective local control. And this is evidenced by our well-maintained infrastructure, great recreational facilities, and outstanding public safety services.
Having the honor of being the Mayor of this great City, I’d like to take a few minutes to share with you the successes of our community in 2012, and the great things to come in 2013.
After the economic downturn, 2012 showed signs of improvement in the national and state economies. According to a report from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, over one-third of California’s GDP is produced in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan areas. Orange County is one of only eight counties in California that had unemployment rates below the national average.
I believe we contributed to this statistic by undertaking efforts to grow our local economy by partnering with outstanding organizations such as the Small Business Administration, the Board of Equalization, and the Service Corps of Retired Executives to bring the knowledge and tools to our community to encourage entrepreneurship. We also partnered with the Orange County Business Council and the One-Stop Center to host our successful annual Job Fair. The 2012 event attracted over 50 employers and was attended by over 1,200 job seekers.
Last year continued the trend of workforce reduction for many cities throughout the County and State due to budget challenges. I am proud to report that the City of Cypress continued its path of successful and prudent financial management. We did not experience any reduction in services such as public safety, infrastructure maintenance, and recreation. The City continued its sound financial management and maintained its service levels even with the continued depressed economy. And we continue to fully fund our obligations including long-term liabilities such as retirees’ health care and pension costs.
The City’s goal is to leave a debt free legacy to future City Councils and residents. Overall, the City of Cypress maintains a healthy fund balance, designating sufficient funding to the City’s capital infrastructure in addition to its operations.
The continued success of our City is the result of the concerted efforts of our many stake holders. I would like to thank the City Council, City staff, the School Districts, our business community, the Chamber of Commerce, our service groups, and the numerous community volunteers. We are really blessed to be living and working in this great City, the City that has beautiful and family-oriented neighborhoods, the City that has quality infrastructure, the City that has first class municipal services, the City which has an outstanding Police Department all of these makes Cypress the perfect place to conduct business and call home.
The success of our City can also be attributed to the many service organizations that tirelessly volunteer countless hours to enhance the quality of life of our community. Our service organizations provide enriching and active afterschool programs for our children, events to honor our Veterans, and contribute hundreds of hours enhancing the lives of our senior citizens. Their hard work and success is evident in every aspect of the fabric of our City.
I would like to thank and acknowledge the Cypress Rotary Club and the Cypress High School Interact Club for their volunteer service at Darrell Essex Park. These clubs worked with our Recreation and Community Services Department to coordinate a garden restoration project.
We also have the honor of having world class businesses in our City whose employees freely volunteer their time for the betterment of our community. Thank you to the team members at Vans for volunteering their time at Oak Knoll Park. 50 Vans employees took time out of their work day to mulch tree wells and clean playground equipment as part of the annual Earth Day project. Thank you Vans.
The Bandai Foundation gave generously once again in 2012 in support of the City’s 5K/10K run, as well as supporting Cypress service groups such as the Friends of Cypress Recreation and the Boys and Girls Club. Thank you to the Bandai Foundation.
In the area of infrastructure improvements, last year was another successful year. The City continued to effectively implement Capital Improvement Plans, by completing a combination of landscape, environmental, flood control, sewer, and street maintenance projects.
One of the premiere projects completed during the year was the Moody Street Beautification Project. This project was completely paid for with a combination of State and Federal transportation funds.
The project provided new medians that were planted with trees, drought tolerant plants, and equipped with water efficient irrigation systems that run on solar powered controllers. Beautification included approximately 300 trees distributed over 2 acres of landscaping, greatly enhancing the appearance of Moody Street. In fact, in the past five years, we have planted over 5,600 trees throughout the City.
The City of Cypress not only cares about the environment, but we also care about our residents and protecting their property. This past spring, we finished construction of Myra Avenue Pump Station No. 2, a new state of the art pump station which increases the flood capacity in the area by 63%. Myra Avenue has a history of flooding in the past, but with this new pump station, residents who live in this area can now rest easier during rainy days.
In addition, we have recently completed the Lincoln Avenue Sewer Project, which increased the capacity of over 2,800 feet of sewer pipe to help guard against sewer spills for the businesses and residential properties along Lincoln Avenue.
Furthermore, this project has environmental benefits by reducing the likelihood of sewer overflows that could enter our storm drain system and pose a risk to our beaches.
Now, in the area of recreation, the successful programs of our outstanding Recreation Department remained a major attraction.
Highlights of the many programs that our Recreation staff members facilitated include our annual 5K/10K run that attracted over 1,700 runners and walkers, and the Halloween Carnival, which was attended by over 1,100 children.
The Cypress Senior Center continued to provide outstanding services to our seniors in 2012. At this point, I would like to thank our outstanding Senior Center volunteers who put in approximately 10,000 hours of service. Thank you volunteers for your dedication and service to enhance the quality of life of our seniors. The City’s “Concerts on the Green” summer concert series continues to attract hundreds of people on Saturday evenings to enjoy great bands and music on beautiful summer evenings.
The 2012 Community Festival was another successful and well-attended event. The event attracted over 25,000 people, continuing the tradition of being the largest single day festival in Orange County.
In the area of public safety, the City of Cypress continues to be one of the safest cities in Orange County. Our Police Department maintained a dedicated police force with no disruption or reduction in services to our community. Let’s give our Police Department a big round of applause.
Our Volunteers in Policing or (VIP) were also a great asset in discouraging crime. The VIPs are trained citizen volunteers who assist our Police Officers with non-enforcement duties that allow Officers to focus on crime reduction. In 2012, the VIPs devoted 3,200 hours of service to our community and Police Department. I would like to acknowledge two of our outstanding VIP volunteers – Mr. Chuck Mealey and Ms. Jan Ridgeway. Thank you.
To assist our youth on the path of success, the Cypress Police Department implemented the Positive Actions through Character Education (P.A.C.E.) program in partnership with the Cypress School District, Savannah School District, and Cypress private schools.
This program is designed to enhance awareness, influence choices, and educate sixth graders in the areas of Internet safety, social media, peer pressure, violence, and drug abuse.
Last year, the Cypress Police Department was recognized by the Crime Survivor Council as the Community Policing Organization of the Year as a result of the success of the P.A.C.E. program. Let’s give our Police Department and the P.A.C.E. program a round of applause.
In the area of fire protection, I would like to note that in 2012 the new Fire Station 17 building was completed and features a modern fire engine and paramedic van. Now, shifting gears to education, Cypress schools have the reputation of being among the best in Orange County. 2012 continued the academic achievements and successes of our students and educators.
The students of the Cypress Elementary School District were very successful last year. All six Cypress School District Schools have been designated CALIFORNIA DISTINGUISHED SCHOOLS. In fact the State Academic Performance Index (API) is 788 points. The Orange County score is 835 and the 2012 API score for Cypress School District is an outstanding 893.
The Anaheim Union High School District graduated the largest number of students in Orange County—approximately 4,700 seniors. Oxford Academy was recognized as the number one school in Orange County, as well as one of the top high schools in the state and in the nation. Oxford students achieved an API score of 989 out of a possible 1000. Congratulations to the teachers and students of the Oxford Academy!
The City of Cypress also has a number of private educational institutions that not only offers high quality education to our residents, but also contributes to our City through community service and civic events. I would like to recognize St Irenaeus Parish School and Grace Christian School for participating in our annual Holiday Sing year-after-year, and thank you for providing quality education for our children.
Cypress College continues to offer higher education opportunities to students. In addition to quality classes, the college features a wide array of services such as assessment, counseling, library and learning center for individual and group study, tutoring, financial aid, and health services.
Cypress educational institutions continue to set the achievement standards in the region. Congratulations to our school districts and Cypress College for another successful year.
Now, in the area of economic development, 2012 continued to be a year of progress. The City’s BRACE Program continued to reach out to our large companies. The Mayor and the economic development team visited large businesses during the year and conducted grand opening ribbon cutting ceremonies to help businesses celebrate their special occasion.
Last year, Cypress welcomed several new companies to our business family. Some of the larger businesses include Hilti Corporation, Crestron Electronics, Sandvik Coromant Company, Komyo Logistics, and Chase Bank. Welcome to all of you.
The City’s AGENT Program also continued its partnership with the Small Business Administration, helping small business owners and entrepreneurs create and expand their businesses. The City and its partners facilitated well-attended educational workshops focusing on topics like importing/exporting, and social media marketing.
The City’s SPIRIT program kicked into gear in 2012. This program also partners with the Small Business Administration, and the Board of Equalization, to host business forums to assist small business owners and those looking to start a new business. In the works is a “how to start a business” forum tentatively scheduled for May 2013. This workshop and will provide an overview of what an aspiring entrepreneur should know such as types of business entities, process of incorporating in California, and other topics such as business taxes and banking. Thank you to the Board of Equalization and the Small Business Administration for their partnership and support of the City of Cypress.
Our CREW program also continued to be a great success. CREW is a forum for women executives from Cypress-based large companies. They meet quarterly to network and share ideas to increase business opportunities for their Cypress companies. Thank you to all the business executives for your support. Your support and efforts are what makes our business sector strong and successful. Thank you.
In 2013 the City will work diligently towards the goal of bringing more quality commercial, retail, and dining options to the City with the development of the 13-acre site on Katella Avenue.
In June 2012, voters approved an initiative to rezone 33.5 acres located north of Katella Avenue and east of Enterprise Drive. The rezoning increased the types of uses permitted on the site to include a variety of mix-use commercial, senior housing, and business park related uses. The approval of this initiative reflects the forward thinking of our citizens.
New construction and development are signs of a successful economy. This progress is a further testament that Cypress leaders do not wait for the Federal or State government to take action in growing the economy. As we continue to work together and going forward in 2013, the City intends to build on the successes by improving municipal services, beautifying neighborhoods, and enhancing City infrastructure. Our goal is to expand the City’s regional influence in business, employment, and cultural activities. We will continue our efforts to become a shopping and dining destination, as well as a leader in cultural arts. The City is committed to continuing its highly successful and popular recreation programs. The City Council is dedicated to sustaining our open spaces, and working to identify opportunities for additional parks.
While many organizations have just a written Vision Statement that is supposed to guide the activities and principles of the organization, the Cypress City Council, City Staff, community members, together, put into practice the City’s Vision Statement every day.
Our City’s vision is to “be an outstanding family-oriented community with a thriving business environment.” I believe that we have met the challenge of this statement, and I am confident that Cypress will continue to be on the cutting edge of progress and success in the region for many years to come. Thank you. Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s not over yet, now comes the award portion of the program. It is my honor to recognize three outstanding businesses that exemplify the City’s motto of Progress, by presenting the Annual BRACE, AGENT, and SPIRIT Business of the Year Awards.
The BRACE Program Award winner is FujiFilm Holdings America Corporation. Receiving the award on behalf of the company is Ms. Jean Berrien, Human Resources Manager. The AGENT Program Award winner is Crest Steel. Receiving the award on behalf of the company is Mr. Kris Farris, President and COO. The SPIRIT Program Award winner is Los Altos Trophy. Receiving the award on behalf of the company is Mr. Mark Norton, Vice President.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in congratulating our BRACE, AGENT, and SPIRIT Business Award of the Year winners once again with a round of applause. In conclusion, the City Council is highly optimistic and excited about all the great things and successes our community can expect for 2013. We look forward to continuing the tradition of effective governance, prudent financial management, outstanding police services and excellent public infrastructure. All the forces contributing to the success of our City, they come together like a well-oiled machine, which reminds me of what Henry Ford, once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
Ladies and gentlemen, in Cypress we are working together for a bright and successful future. Once again, thank you for coming. Have a great day and God bless the City of Cypress.