(ST.JOSEPH, MO) St. Joseph Mayor Bill McMurray is pitching city as ‘the city worthwhile’. Friday morning McMurray gave his State of the City address during the Chamber of Commerce’s public affairs coffee event. Friday McMurray said his goals for the city are based on the community input received from the long-range planning initiative St. Joseph 2040.
"The underpinning for building is the Imagine St. Joseph 2040 plan. Create a better place, invest in people and grow prosperity," McMurray said.
During McMurray’s first term as mayor, the city council voted on several controversial issues including raising law enforcement salaries.
"We felt that the people who were willing to risk their lives for our safety deserved a pay raise and we gave it to them," McMurray said.
The council also spent months collaborating with advocacy groups and the Chamber of Commerce to establish a citywide non-discrimination ordinance.
"Over a period of several months and involving a lot of people and some compromises passes a non-discrimination ordinance. From that ordinance was enacted a Human Rights Commission, which is meeting so that the rights of all in St. Joseph are protected," McMurray said.
Moving forward McMurray said he wants to focus on battling blighted properties. In December the council voted to increase fees for property maintenance violations and establish a vacant properties registry. On February 25 the council will have the first reading for an ordinance to establish a rental inspection program.
"I think we will come out at the end of the day with a good program that would be fair to everybody and that will address the blighted property we have in St. Joe," McMurray said.
McMurray said he feels the difficult decision made by the council are helping the city progress to the goals outlined by St. Joseph 2040.
"To invest in people, to create a better place, to grow prosperity, it's worth our while to do this and by investing, creating and growing everyday, St. Joseph will be the city worthwhile,” McMurray said.