Good Evening Tonight I will give you a report on the state of our City, Norwich.

Josh Pothier, our Comptroller, reports that for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013, the unrestricted fund balance of the City’s General Fund had a balance of $11.2 million, or 9.81% of the total General Fund expenditures and operating transfers on a budgetary basis. During this fiscal year, our revenue targets are being met and we will end the year between 8.5% and 9%. We experience sound fiscal management. 2013 was the first full year that our new website was up and running. Norwich citizens have been able to interact with it more than ever before with features such as: submitting cultural events to our community calendar, signing up for notifications for job or project bids and viewing recorded City Council meetings online. I urge you all to use our website. You will be able to find meeting schedules, minutes of meetings and commissions and other areas of interest. The non-profit Yankee Institute ranked Norwich’s website in the top 10 for Transparency among Connecticut’s 169 towns. Norwich’s Plan of Conservation and Development was completed and adopted. This document will guide our City’s planning for the next 10 years. It was a dedicated group that worked diligently along with Planimetrics to develop an updated plan that included input from citizens as well as a wide range of stakeholders. The Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association awarded Norwich’s Plan of Conservation and Development the 2013 Innovative Plan Award. Peter Davis, Director of Planning, noted that there were 1,822 total building permits, 1,619 were for residential use and 203 were for commercial/industrial use. The majority of the commercial permits were associated with Norwichtown Commons and the Marina renovations. This represents $30,729,038 in total construction value. This

translates to jobs, dollars in the local economy and represents a reinvestment in the community, economic growth, and a contribution to the grand list/taxes. On December 23rd, the Norwichtown Commons sold for $39,319,675. The Planning Department also was the recipient of the 2013 APA Excellence in Planning Award; Great Places in America/Neighborhoods/Downtown. Further, the department coordinated the private donation of 29 acres of land to the city adjacent to Mohegan Park. Norwich Community Development Corporation continues to pursue developers and other business opportunities for our City. They have been involved in the successful sale of the multi-apartment building formerly known as the Fairhaven. NCDC continues to work with Winston Hospitality to find an equitable solution to the abandoned hotel at one of our major gateways. They continue to administer to the vibrancy of our business park exploring ground breaking opportunities such as medicinal cannabis. NCDC administers the Downtown Bond initiative. Since its approval, they have awarded $745,000 which enabled an additional $3.4 million in private spending. This translates for every public dollar given it was matched by 4.5 private dollars! NCDC received a “2013 Celebrate Connecticut” award from the CT Economic Resource Center and the Southeast Region. The Norwich Fire Department has continually made improvements in fire prevention by incorporating a one-city perspective. The department has increased their capabilities by incorporating new equipment and technology in emergency scene application. The NFD houses a state of the art Hazardous Materials response capability that is State funded and ready to respond at a moment’s notice from our City. Further, the NFD has been an integral part of the development of the Emergency Operations Center and continues to support our operational needs during times of activation.

A future project is the development of a web based informational system that will enhance our on-scene operational decision making. Upon completion, this information will be shared and utilized by our Volunteer Fire Houses for greater safety and awareness in the areas they so diligently serve. In Norwich we are fortunate to experience the great talents and dedication of our Volunteer Fire Houses throughout this City. They continuously look for ways to buy new equipment in bulk or with group purchasing for more fiscal efficacy. Further they are 95% complete on the FCC required narrow banding radio project. They are now operating on the NPU fiber optic cabling for all radio communications to and from the dispatch center with superior reliability and clarity. They continually recruit for new members and remain dedicated to the residents and businesses in Norwich. 2013 began as a near tragedy for the Norwich Police Department. Officer Jon Ley was shot multiple times at an incident on Cedar Street. From this difficult event came some positives; the community rallied around Officer Ley and the Police Department with kind thoughts, many offers of assistance and prayers. Jon Ley is back to full duty, serving as a Detective. We were able to increase the number of police officers, allowing the police department to expand its emphasis on community policing. There has been a robust return on our investment. Crime is down overall, especially violent crime, and the preliminary numbers show a ten year low.

The efforts of our police department have been recognized both at the state and federal level. Governor Malloy came to Norwich to specifically recognize the

community policing efforts of the Police Department. In August the Police Department received a Federal Community Policing grant to increase our community policing staff

by four officers. This grant was a highly competitive grant, one of a small number handed out nationwide. And we were only one of four cities in Connecticut to receive federal grant funded officers.

The police department, working in a funding partnership with the Board of Education, was able to save the School Resource Officers, one each at Kelly and Teachers Middle Schools. Fiscal year 2012-2013 was a challenging but successful year for the Public Works Department. This department was heavily impacted by two federally declared disaster events – Superstorm Sandy and the Blizzard of 2013. Despite lengthy and costly responses to these disaster events, the PWD managed to resurface 6.8 miles of City streets, applied preventative maintenance measures to an additional 6.0 miles, secured 80% grant funding for the resurfacing of approximately ½ mile of Wisconsin Avenue and substantially completed the restoration of the ornamental cast iron fence and stairways at City Hall. Residents recently passed a $5 million infrastructure bond that, coupled with consistent capital budgeting on the order of approximately $1 million annually, should result in the resurfacing and/or treatment of 35-40 miles of streets over the next 5 years. PWD purchased and put into service the first compressed natural gas Public Works dump/plow truck in the State of Connecticut. Approximately 440 linear feet of new sidewalks in Greeneville were constructed as well as an additional 2,050 linear feet of sidewalk all funded by Community Development Block Grants and the Capital Improvement Sidewalk Program. As we were all forced to tighten our belts in 2013, the City administration fully understands the need to find a way to continue our successful operations with limited resources. The Positive Workforce Committee was established. It is a cross section of

employees at all levels and experiences whose primary focus is to eradicate costly duplication, improve overall functionality and reinforce to employees that they too are our agents for economic development. Further, the City Manager has been working with department heads on a form of outcome-based budgeting. Over time, this approach will strengthen the connection between departmental budget requests and the outcomes the Mayor and Council members wish to achieve. Abby Dolliver, Superintendent of Schools, reports that the Norwich Public School staff continues to work on many initiatives that will increase reading and math proficiency as well as overall student achievement. They are implementing a new curriculum that aligns with the Common Core State Standards. They are providing resources for effective parent and community engagement and are expanding opportunities for shared leadership. While doing this, they are implementing the new mandated teacher and administrator evaluation systems and Smarter Balanced Assessments for students that will take the place of CMT's. Human Services has converted funds formally used to run a winter shelter to establishing homes for Norwich residents that would otherwise be homeless. Further, this department maintains a leadership position for the state’s first Coordinated Access to Shelter for single individuals. The department was instrumental in developing an internship program with NFA to enhance diversity in employment for the City of Norwich. They have trained 14 people for jobs in the healthcare field and had an 80% placement rate. The staff continues to administer the Renters Rebate Program for seniors and people with disabilities that returned $470,000 to our residents and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which refunded over $650,000 to residents. Norwich’s Youth and Family Services employed an impressive 122 youths in meaningful summer jobs.

The City of Norwich is fortunate to own its own utility company, something we will continue to promote as one of our most valuable resources. I’d like to highlight two major projects that are currently underway by NPU that have a direct economic impact to our community. In 2010, the voters passed the first of two natural gas expansion bonds requested by NPU. Since then, more than 15 miles of new natural gas main, and over 1,000 new gas services have been installed or are under contract for installation as part of the branded Energize Norwich campaign. This equates to more than $1.7 million dollars of new gas sales annually, and more than $173,000 added to the Utilities’ annual payment made to the City. Not only have the gas expansion bonds paid for themselves through this newly generated revenue stream, but the community as a whole benefits from the savings realized by those who converted. To-date, customers who have switched to natural gas realize an annual savings of close to $1 million! As a result, this savings translates to disposable income which can be put back into our local economy. For businesses and industry, the cost savings realized by spending less on fuel translates to more working capital available for business expansion, capital improvements, and overall business and job retention. This project also demonstrates how Norwich is ahead of the game, as it is just one of the elements outlined in the Governor’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy already being implemented by NPU, and is being used as a model for the rest of the State of Connecticut. The second major capital project underway is the Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade, also known as the “Sound Norwich” project. This project is crucial for maintaining a clean, healthy environment. Already we can see the benefits of the upgrade by improving the harbor area by controlling the previous odor issues that had impacted that area. Other improvements made by the work underway will result in

Norwich meeting or exceeding the stringent emission standards required for the health of the Thames River and Long Island Sound. From an economic standpoint, the plant upgrade is necessary to assure that the City of Norwich is positioned to support future economic growth. This asset should not be taken for granted, as evidenced by the desire from surrounding communities to work with Norwich to develop a regionalized solution to allow for economic development in towns that would otherwise be unable to support growth. In conclusion, we have a great deal to be proud of in Norwich. We have a vibrant arts community, a terrific water front, NFA, Otis Library, Uncas Leap and Mohegan Park to name a few. Therefore, I am pleased to report to all that the State of our City is sound, our finances are in order, our services are of the highest quality, outside investment in our City is expanding and together we are moving toward a brighter future for all. We enter 2014 with a sense of vibrancy and the anticipation of moving this City forward. Norwich will continue to define itself by the sound financial management we experience, by the talented staff and departments that work diligently and most important by the people who live and work here. They proudly call Norwich home.

Respectfully submitted, Deberey Hinchey, Mayor, City of Norwich