Just hours before wildfires erupted across the Santa Clarita Valley, hundreds of residents and business leaders gathered to hear officials deliver the 2019 State of the City on Thursday.
“Each year, the luncheon is an opportunity for the City Council and our city organizations to celebrate the accomplishments and progress made over the past 12 months,” City Manager Ken Striplin said at the event held at the Hyatt Regency Valencia.
With the new year approaching and a budget of $225.8 million, officials highlighted the progress the city has made toward completing its Santa Clarita 2020 plan, which has served as a guide over the past five years in addressing several major work areas such as in public safety, building and creating community, and enhancing economic vitality.
“We have several landmark projects under construction that will bring many new, amazing amenities to our community,” said Striplin. “We are fiscally sound, our streets are safe, crime is down, businesses are thriving and arts and culture are blossoming in the city.”
Santa Clarita has been considered a safe place to live and that continues to be the case, thanks to “residents, community leaders and our dedicated public safety officials who work together to keep it that way,” said Councilman Bob Kellar.
He said that part one crimes, such as homicide, rape, robbery, burglary and arson, dropped by 24.9% compared to last year — an all-time low mark.
Collisions and injuries have also reduced. Santa Clarita’s collision rate dropped more than 32% and the injury rate fell by more than 36%. Since the city began gathering statistics in 2001, the collision rate dropped by 82% and the injury rate by 78%.
A ‘business-friendly’ city
Santa Clarita has been dubbed one of Los Angeles County’s most “business-friendly” cities for its investment in local businesses.
This summer, the city took steps to foster new opportunities to help businesses in their pursuit of high-speed internet at affordable prices by leasing two dark fiber strands from its network to downtown Los Angeles.
When it comes to jobs, Santa Clarita reached an unemployment rate of 4.1% as of July and has added more than 20,000 local jobs over the past decade, Mayor Pro Tem Cameron Smyth said.
With local jobs comes the recent development activity with multiple housing and commercial projects expected for completion between 2020 and 2021, including the new SCV Sheriff’s Station, Canyon Country Community Center, Vista Canyon and Newhall Crossings.
The City Council also provided updates on public transportation, sharing that ridership over the past year reached 2 million and that nearly 500,000 residents used the city’s commuter services.
And, the council highlighted efforts to increase and utilize open space, with 12,000 acres of open space currently preserved across the SCV.