JOBS & ECONOMIC PROGRESS
The Wall Street Journal reported New Bedford had the greatest drop in unemployment among 372 cities nationwide last year. The city’s unemployment rate has now dropped by 5 full percentage points.
In total, 5,000 more residents are working today than when Mayor Mitchell took office.
The city’s economy is on a sharp ascent, with new restaurants, start ups, and factories in place, and more on the way.
Our effort to make our schools effective is producing results:
- The dropout rate is down to its lowest level in 15 years.
- The most recent accountability data shows continued progress across schools, with more Levels 1 and 2 schools.
- Citing this progress, the state has ended its monitoring of the school system.
- Major school construction projects are underway or complete: two new elementary schools, major upgrades to athletic facilities and refurbishing of six elementary schools.
Citing strong financial management, Wall Street upgraded New Bedford to its highest bond rating in modern history. By holding the line on spending, the city has closed every fiscal year with a budget surplus.
INVESTMENTS IN QUALITY OF LIFE FOR RESIDENTS
To make neighborhoods across the city, we have:
- Created (or are creating) five new parks
- Completed major upgrades to existing parks
- Established the Blue Lane corridor that includes the HarborWalk and CoveWalk
- Planted over 2000 street trees — perhaps the largest tree planting initiative in the city’s history.
- We are repairing our crumbling roads and sidewalks by increasing funding by a full fifty percent.
PROGRESS ON NEIGHBORHOOD CHALLENGES
Crime has dropped by double digits in each of the last two years.
We created a Neighborhood Task Force to increase enforcement of codes designed to protect the public and crack down on absentee landlords, issuing thousands of tickets and correction orders.
We also created a Problem Properties Ordinance, that is making absentee landlords treat their properties as they would their own homes.
In order to combat the scourge of opiate addiction, we also created a task force and several new initiatives.
PROGRESS IN OUR PORT
We have been an effective advocate for the fishing industry and repeatedly challenged the decision-making of federal regulators that refuse to factor in the interests of fishing communities as they are required by the Magnuson Act. The federal government announced last week that New Bedford remains the nation’s top fishing port for the 15th year in a row.
And cargo at our port has doubled from 18,000 tons to 43,000 tons. Each freighter injects a quarter of a million dollars into the local economy – another shot in the arm for our waterfront.
We have worked to pave the way for the offshore wind energy industry’s move into our port.
We recruited a new ferry service to Nantucket which had over 30,000 in its first year.
NATIONAL LEADERSHIP ON GREEN ENERGY ISSUES
According to the Wall Street Journal, New Bedford has more installed solar capacity per capita than any other city in the continental United States. Solar program is saving nearly $1 million in electricity costs in this year’s city budget and is forecast to save $22 million over next twenty years
We also acquired the largest electric municipal electric car fleet in Massachusetts. Ten Nissan Leafs were leased at just $70 per car per month. Cars are being used every day in the neighborhoods by Health Inspectors.
The City also played a lead role in the region-wide effort to negotiate a 14% discount in the electric bills of local consumers and small businesses through the nation’s 3rd largest Electricity Aggregation Program. This program is expected to collectively save local customers $15 million in the first six months alone.