Vavricek Casts "A Grander Vision"
"I'm asking Grand Island residents to help envision new dreams."Calling for "A Grander Vision", Mayor Jay Vavricek laid out a course for Grand Island in his State of the City address.
He focused on key issues, like public safety. "To reduce violent crime and the fear of crime," he said.
He also highlighted the city's improving financial health.
He said, "Our cash reserve has nearly doubled and now stands at more than $8 million. Instead of laying off more city employees, not one position was lost in the current budget." Vavricek says the city must improve aging infrastructure and use its new metropolitan status to assess transportation needs.
Last year, Vavricek says the city got more public input than every before, "in a record 45 city council meetings." But that included several meetings where Vavricek was the focus, including a censure, or public reprimand, and a recall attempt.
Communication breakdowns did not come up in this address, and even those who have been critical say it's time to move past that.
Councilman John Gericke attended the speech. He said, "As the mayor said we've got to look at the positive standpoint and he did today and I like that. That's what we have to do. We're not here to dwell on the negatives, we're here to dwell on the positives in the future."
Citizens say a new Mayor's Advisory Council has already helped.
Clarence Stephens said, "He's taken our input very seriously. In some cases has actually advanced the program."
Vavricek's agenda remains on public safety, economic growth, and conservative spending.And beyond that, dreaming up goals for 2025. He called for creation of a citizen task force to "Dream for the future and seek input from people so we can be a greater city ahead."
Another immediate goal -- Vavricek spoke several times about the competition for the new Central Nebraska Veterans Home.
Governor Dave Heineman says Grand Island is in the driver's seat, but Vavricek says they will still fight hard on the project.