Stowe gives State of the City address
With a full house in attendance, Porterville’s Chamber of Commerce held this year’s last First Friday Coffee at the Galaxy 9 Theatres Friday morning.
At this special meeting, Mayor Milt Stowe gave the annual State of the City address, but not before the 2018 Outstanding Business Honorees were recognized.
William Garfield, Tule River Economic Development Corporation’s public relations manager, opened the meeting by welcoming those in attendance, and requested a moment of silence for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. After the silence had passed, Garfield introduced Jason Pommier, the Chamber board of directors’ chair-elect.
Pommier stood at the microphone and announced a list of activities for the next few weeks, including pictures with Santa at the public library and the annual senior Christmas luncheon.
At the conclusion of Pommier’s activity list, he introduced Jenni Byers, the city’s community development director.
Byers took the opprotunity to introduce this year’s outstanding business honorees: Agricare, Grocery Outlet and Bob Ruffa Electric (BRE). Byers briefly spoke about each company, and some of their achievements.
Byers began with Grocery Outlet.
“Since their opening, Grocery Outlet has focused on providing great customer service and educating the community on their outlet business model,” said Byers. “Porterville Grocery Outlet has been involved in the community since opening. They support schools, and regularly donate to churches, the Porterville Fair, Project Homeless Connect, PACC and St. Anne’s.”
Byers moved on to BRE after congratulating Grocery Outlet.
“BRE began with a vision to provide great service to the community and had only one employee,” Byers said. “The Ruffas take a lot of pleasure in their involvement in the community. This can be seen through their many contributions, which include providing lighting for the Helicopter Memorial in Veteran’s Park, power for the “Time Marches On” clock on Main Street, power for Springville Rotary Park clock, lighting for the Emblem Club Battle Cross statue, yearly support of the Porterville Fair power requirements, supporting the local 4H and FFA clubs, the Porterville Breakfast Rotary and Ducks Unlimited.”
Byers listed BRE’S many other contributions before continuing on to the last honoree, Agricare.
“Agricare’s focus on stewardship has led to their desire to serve the community,” said Byers. “They have a long-standing educational scholarship program for their employees and their children, which has earned Agricare the 2018 Upskill Tulare County Award from the Tulare County Workforce Investment Board.”
Byers named many other accomplishments of Agricare before congratulating all the businesses and posing for photos with the three business representatives.
Mayor Milt Stowe then stepped to the microphone to begin his State of the City address after plenty of photos had been snapped.
“2018 has been an exciting year for the City of Porterville,” said Stowe. “Today, I will go through some of the accomplishments, and what to expect as we enter the new year.”
Stowe began to list each city department and what they had accomplished over the year.
The city’s finance department was able to refinance a sewer bond, which resulted in tremendous savings for the city. The finance department was also awarded the Government Finance Officers Association Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 28th year.
The Administrative Services Department was recognized for their processing of passports. This department oversaw the process of placing the new general tax measure (Measure I) on the ballot for people to vote on, and recruited 22 new full-time positions for the city.
The library was commended for 110 years of service. Stowe stated that the library has served over 170,000 visitors in 2018 and have circulated over 230,000 library items, such as books and DVDS.
After celebrating the different city department achievements in 2018, Stowe moved on to future plans for Porterville.
The upcoming year holds big plans for Porterville, as multiple retail developments will be coming in to town.
“Retail development remains strong with the opening of Aldi’s yesterday, and the construction of Porter’s Crossing at Henderson Avenue and Prospect Street,” said Stowe. “Porter’s Crossing will be home to Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, Habit Burger and Togo’s.”
Stowe revealed even more development for the coming year.
“Next year, we will see the addition of a Family Healthcare Network facility on D Street, as well as the muchanticipated opening of Fugazzi’s Restaurant in the former Palace building,” said Stowe.
This is not the end of future developments however, as Stowe had one final future building to announce.
“Through the leadership of the City Council, City Manager John Lollis, Finance Director Maria Bemis, and Community Development Director Jenni Byers, the City was able to successfully continue the acquisition of the site of the former Porterville Hotel, have the site cleaned and prepared for development and sold to a developer to be the new home of the Tulare County District Attorney,” said Stowe.
With all these future developments preparing to make their home in Porterville, Stowe stated that the future of the city is looking bright.
“2018 has been a blessed year for our community,” said Stowe. “We look forward to next year with the anticipation of even better times to come.”
Mayor Milt Stowe gives the State of the City address Friday morning at the Chamber of Commerce’s First Friday Coffee.