Monroe Mayor Pledges to Move Forward with Arena Plans

UPDATE -- Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo presents his State of the City address Thursday. Tensions with the council members and the possibility of a new arena were the overriding points of the address. 

Mayor Mayo began by highlighting the city's six main focus areas. Those include Marketing Monroe, Partnership in Education, Public Safety, Beautification, Housing & Growth, and Economic Development. 

The mayor talked about the city's financial status as well. He says he's hopeful to have the surplus for the tenth year in a row in 2014. He says the city now has more than 14-million dollars in surplus funds. He also talked about the proposed 58.9-million dollar budget the city council is now reviewing. He says he and his department heads are not attending the council's budget hearings this year after it was a "waste of time" last year. He says budget hearings are a courtesy, not a requirement and his administration is following all of the charter policies concerning the budget. Mayor Mayo says he and his department heads will be available to answer budget questions at the next city council meeting on March 11th. 

Mayor Mayo also addressed crime. He says just last week the Monroe Police Department responded to 2600 service calls. He says with so many calls, something may go wrong from time to time, but he believes the officers are doing their job well. He also indicated that he and the police chief are interested in additional training and potential policy changes in order to better serve the community. He says a recent report by a website ranking Monroe in the worst 100 cities for crime is not an accurate portrayal. Mayor Mayo says the same site had Monroe ranked #14 last year and did not rank New Orleans either year. 

Mayor Mayo says he and his staff are making a stronger commitment to social media this year as part of their community outreach. He says this will be a good way for city workers to better connect to residents. 

Finally, Mayor Mayo talked about ongoing projects throughout the city. More than two dozen were listed. The project he put the most emphasis on, is the possible new arena. He says about nine possible locations have been found and that he wants to move forward with the project in the near future. He asked to meet with council members within the next week to get started. He says the new arena would seat 9,000-10,000 people, but the funding source is still a question. Mayor Mayo did say there is one site located within the I-20 Economic Development District. He would not say whether that was a top choice or not, but did say that the I-20 district could possibly help with funding if that site was chosen. The project is expected to cost more than 80-million dollars. 

Mayor Mayo also put a plea out to the city council members to put the past behind them and begin working together. 

Hundreds were in attendance at the Monroe Civic Center including four of the city council members and many city employees. Councilman and attorney Eddie Clark had a previously scheduled court case and could not attend the address. 

UPDATE: Mayor Jamie Mayo delivered his State of the City address this afternoon. 

KTVE/KARD's Nina Criscuolo was there and will have a full report tonight at 5p/6p. 

Monroe -- Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo will deliver his state of the city address today at the Monroe Civic Center.

Refreshments will be served from 11:30 am until 12 noon. The Mayor's address will start at approximately 12:15 pm.

The theme for this year's address is "COMMUNITY OUTREACH!" Mayor Mayo will discuss highlights & challenges from 2013, and city goals & challenges for 2014.

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