Mayor Paul Soglin gave his State of the City address Wednesday to the Rotary Club of Madison at a local hotel, highlighting issues and achievements in Madison.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said Soglin covered many issues he was passionate about such as poverty, education, hunger and economic development.
Soglin highlighted the many new developments occurring, especially downtown, Verveer said. There has been a huge influx of proposals by developers over the past year, Verveer said.
“I thought the mayor’s vision was right on target,” Verveer, said. “He covered a lot of ground in the speech.”
On the same day as the State of the City address, Soglin announced 24/7 Wall Street, a financial and market information publication, ranked Madison second on a list of the best-run cities in the country.
Madison was cited for having a good credit rating and both a low violent crime rate and unemployment rate. The rankings also highlighted a recent rule which was put in place by Soglin with the annual budget. The rule states unless two-thirds of City Council members vote otherwise, the city cannot use emergency reserves to fund the operating budget.
“I’m very pleased that in their report, they recognized some of the financial restraints I recommended in last years budget,” Soglin said.
He attributed the success of the only city ranked higher than Madison, Plano, Texas, to assets which come from management standards. Soglin called these “tough to match” because they are directly related to financial resources, the wealth of individuals and the tax base.
Soglin said the University of Wisconsin plays a significant role in Madison’s future, thanks to the economic impact of everything from its football games to spending on State Street.
UW has an impact through the local talent it creates, Soglin added, and cited the UW campus as a force that attracts major artistic performers that would otherwise overlook a city as small as Madison.
The university community also significantly contributes to improving some challenged areas of the city in everything from tutoring, mentoring and role models to running health and housing programs, Soglin said.
“The presence of all the students has a major impact on not just the city’s economy, but also the culture of the community,” Soglin said. “A significant number of graduates and…stay in Madison to begin careers and raise families, which includes myself.”