Stowe gives State of the City ad­dress

Porterville Recorder - - FRONT PAGE - By ALEXIS ESPINOZA ae­[email protected]­villere­corder.com

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.”

PHOTO BY ALEXIS ESPINOZA

Mayor Milt Stowe gives the State of the City ad­dress Fri­day morn­ing at the Cham­ber of Com­merce’s First Fri­day Cof­fee.

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