Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner delivered her seventh annual State of the City address on Thursday, calling for greater economic opportunity for all Syracuse residents and an increased focus on education.
According to the city, Mayor Miner is hoping to reinvigorate Syracuse through sustainable economic development, investments in job creation, and wider access to educational opportunities.
“Syracuse understands firsthand the struggle against income inequality and we are determined to ensure that our City is a beacon of hope and progress, not a place where your destiny is determined by your neighborhood,” Miner said.
Miner gave her State of the City address in front of several hundred citizens at the Southwest Community Center. A recurring theme in the speech was education, which Miner has already dramatically improved during her time in office.
The Syracuse City School District saw its dropout rate plummet to 16% in 2015, down from 26% in 2008. Additionally, the District’s four-year graduation rate is currently 55%, the highest it’s been since 2008.
Female high school athletes are three times more likely to graduate than non-athletes, and Syracuse’s continued investment in high school athletics for both genders is considered to be a driving factor in the District’s improving graduation rates.
Miner also announced new solutions for Syracuse’s aging infrastructure, which has become antiquated in recent decades as technology advances.
Part of the Mayor’s plan to revive the city’s infrastructure is by participating in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Teams program. Among other aspects of the program, changes would include adding sensors to detect leaks in water mains and allowing residents to submit municipal service requests online.
According to The Daily Orange, Miner also acknowledged the growing rate of extreme poverty in Syracuse, particularly among minorities. As of today, Syracuse has the highest rates of poverty among blacks and Hispanics in the entire country.
“It has been sobering to absorb all the statistics that have come to light in 2015, but the truth is these numbers are a confirmation of what most of us have known all our lives,” Miner said.
“Our community’s economic and social struggles are nothing new and were part of why many of us chose to engage in public life in the first place,” the Mayor added.
While Miner did issue an order to increase minimum wage for city workers to $15/hour last fall, it remains to be seen if other changes are on the way for non-municipal workers.
It seems as if Mayor Miner has a solid plan for Syracuse going forward, but only time will tell if her administration will deliver on these new promises in 2016 and beyond.