JAMESTOWN – Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist says, despite the excruciating circumstances of 2020, there were plenty of accomplishments in the City.
Sundquist delivered his State of the City address Monday afternoon to City Council, one that detailed what could be considered a grim set of challenges for the 2021 year. The Mayor, however, says there’s plenty for the City to be proud of.
“My focus on this upcoming year is to get Jamestown to rebuild, rebound, and adapt. I am proud of my team of passionate and talented individuals that accomplished so much this year,” Sundquist said. “I am pleased to see our City Council working together to get things done, despite the massive challenges the pandemic threw in our way. But, I am most humbled by the work our community has done to come together and fight COVID-19.
“Before looking forward, we must look back on what we, as a City, accomplished this year,” he added. “Given the pandemic, we have no shortage of action items that got done this year.”
Sundquist says technological improvements were made throughout 2020. For example, he explains that the city is moving towards a digital citywide information sharing platform that connects each department. In addition, he says the city is investing in contactless solutions to better interact with the public.
Transparency and accessibility in all levels of government continues to be a hot topic nationwide. Sundquist says the City has improved in those areas by streaming every public meeting, hearing, and press event, created community engagement with the establishment of a City-wide social media presence, and are working towards a complete website redesign.
“This process will soon allow us to provide emergency and informational alerts via email and text message for all residents,” Sundquist said. “On top of that, at the recommendation of the City Council, we provided language translation services for every department, so that no matter what you speak, you can interact with your government without fear of a language barrier.
Sundquist says the city has also improving agreements with ALSTAR and the county, provided nearly $1 million in COVID-19 relief grants through the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency, re-established its Human Rights Commission, and hired new department heads in almost every department.
The Mayor says, however, that the City needs to look further down the road.
“It is time for us, as a community, to look towards the future and continue our modernization efforts,” Sundquist said. “Some of the top priorities going into this year include the increased access to information and data for our citizens.”
Sundquist explains how the city will soon have a public portal set up for residents to report concerns, see issues on properties, and better understand how the City makes decisions based on the calls they get.
In addition, Sundquist says the City wants its citizens to have access to its finances and get a grasp on how tax-payer money is being spent.
“We are working on developing a financial accountability portal with our Comptroller’s Office so every person can see the City’s financial data for themselves.”
This is part two of a two-part series chronicling Sundquist’s State of the City address.