My First 100 Days As Mayor
We’re pleased to launch the City of Urbana’s monthly e-newsletter, It’s About U! This is part of our effort to share news, events, and useful information and to showcase what makes Urbana such a special place to live, work, learn, and play.
Throughout my first 100 days as Mayor of Urbana, I was often asked, “How’s it going?” and “Are you having fun?”
Here’s how I answered:
How’s it going?
We’re working hard for you! In the past three months, we passed a budget and developed a plan to address our financial challenges. We will rebuild city reserves, bring our expenditures in line with revenue, and once again adequately fund police and fire pensions. We are now accepting applications for the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program from eligible staff members and are in the process of selecting a firm to lead the search for the new City Administrator. I expect to hire an administrator by December. You can learn more about the City’s financial plans and upcoming street resurfacing projects in this video: 2017-18 City of Urbana Budget
I’ve focused on economic development in one-on-one conversations with business leaders, realtors, and developers. Our staff will be organizing business and development meetings this fall as well as a series of neighborhood meetings to listen to residents’ questions and concerns. We’re promoting our THINK URBANA program that supports new home construction. If you’re thinking about downsizing or upsizing, now’s the time to build a new house and save 60% on property taxes over the first five years and pay no state sales tax on materials purchased in Illinois. We’re also exploring innovative ways to fund infrastructure improvements through energy savings.
Are you having fun?
Yes, I sure am! The City Council recently approved funding for weekend festivals such as Folk and Roots, Pygmalian, and Sweet Corn, as well as Imbibe Urbana’s monthly First Fridays. We’re excited to welcome the Spark Museum and Play Café, a childrens’ museum in Lincoln Square; Broadway Market, the first food hall in downstate Illinois; and Red Bicycle Ice Cream shop at The Pines. I’m also really looking forward to celebrating Urbana-Champaign as Midwest Living’s Greatest Midwest Food Town this fall! I go to as many events as I can because I love sharing in Urbana’s culture, creativity, and energy and I’m constantly amazed by this place that we call home.
Help me celebrate National Farmers’ Market Week at the kale-eating contest at 11 am on Saturday, Aug. 12 and support the Urbana Firefighters and Police fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy and Special Olympics at the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival dunk tank at noon on Saturday, Aug. 26. Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen, Savoy Village President Joan Dykstra and I will be dunked! (Apparently I didn’t read the fine print in my job description!)
It’s a privilege to serve as Mayor of Urbana. The first 100 days have flown by. As always, please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns. Let us know what you think of our newsletter and tell us what you’d like to learn more about.