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Marking progress

A year ago, Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy used the word “results” 46 times in his State of the City address. On Monday, he used it only three times.
But that does not mean Rochester’s mayor is any less focused on accomplishing his goals. As he noted, “Last year at this time I promised results. I said that our administration will be accountable for making measurable progress.”
This year’s speech contained a long list of milestones marking progress. At the same time, Mr. Duffy repeated his running metaphor, saying that “we’re running a marathon, and this stretch of the course is going to be painful. But we cannot take an easier course.”
The reference, of course, was to the daunting budget gap-more than $17 million-that the city must close. While the details are yet to come, the mayor’s plan to cut spending by reorganizing the delivery of city services and raise taxes only as a last resort is the right one.
“Raising taxes sends the wrong message to people and businesses looking to locate here,” he said. “We are all taxed enough.”
The city’s fiscal woes-and the public’s safety concerns-will not be easy to fix. Nor can things be turned around overnight.
But the mayor’s optimism about Rochester’s future is not misplaced. Consider just a few of the things that have gone right over the past 12 months:
–The city successfully completed the sale of the fast ferry.
–Plans for Paetec Holding Corp.’s new headquarters on the Midtown Plaza site were unveiled-and this week former Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s $65 million commitment to make the site shovel-ready was secured with passage of the new state budget.
–ESL Federal Credit Union committed to building its new headquarters downtown on Chestnut Street, opposite the Strong National Museum of Play.
The city has a long road ahead, but it is clearly moving forward in some important ways.

04/11/08 (C) Rochester Business Journal

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