Naperville’s biggest promoter and fan was on hand Monday morning, dressed in a tuxedo, to give his 17th annual state of the city address.
Mayor A. George Pradel shared highlights about the state of the city before a group of roughly 500 business leaders. A few of the highlights from the presentation included the city’s balanced budget, new businesses set to open and successful city programs.
The hosted the event, which was held at the soon to open Chicago Marriott Naperville Hotel, the site of the former Holiday Inn.
The hotel is scheduled to open in April and the General Manager Dan Gustafson told the crowd that carpeting was still being installed Sunday. The changes are more than a renovation, he said, adding the work done at the hotel was more of a transformation.
Pradel referenced the renovation during his speech, and said it required a significant investment of $30 million.
His presentation included videos highlighting different areas and aspects of the city.
“Residents want to live here and businesses want to relocate here,” Pradel said. “We are blessed to have a business community that works with the city and residents to manage growth.”
He said that what keeps people in Naperville is unity in the community, the committment to quality of life and the strong volunteer community.
During the program, Pradel recognized members of the city’s administration and outgoing Police Chief David Dial. He also recognized previous mayors.
Residents who move to Naperville do so because of the “tremendous value” they get for their dollar, he said as he referenced the low water rates, electric service that won’t see an increase until next year and the low percentage of taxes collected by the city and park district.
A video presentation from City Manager Doug Krieger and Finance Director Karen DeAngelis highlighted the city’s budget and the fact that in the coming year the city’s budget will be balanced.
After tremendous growth in the 70s, 80s and 90s, the city sales tax, it’s main source of funding took a hit after 2007. For three years it experienced a significant slide, but in 2011 it rebounded to “near record levels” to $29 million.
The increase in sales tax revenues coupled with the city making cuts and even the warmer than normal winter has helped the city’s financial situation, DeAngelis said.
Pradel also mention that there will be some new businesses moving to Naperville, including a new restaurant Fiamme, which will be located at 19 N. Washington St. and Standard Market, which will be located at 1520 Aurora Avenue and is expected to employ about 150 to 170 and will focus on providing locally sourced products.