CARLSBAD — Mayor Matt Hall celebrated the achievements of local businesses recovering from the economic recession and recognized local schools while touting the city’s latest branding label as a “world class city” at the 2013 State of the City presentation on Aug. 23.
Speaking before more than 500 business executives and city leaders at the Sheraton Hotel in Carlsbad, Hall emphasized how the city’s economic status has returned to or surpassed pre-recession levels during the 2012-13 fiscal year.
He cited that the city’s General Fund unassigned balance has reached $68.5 million after hitting a $46.1 million low in the 2008-09 fiscal year, and furthermore that sales and property taxes have risen by millions of dollars since the 2008 downturn.
He mentioned that median home prices in the city have increased by 18.3 percent from last year.
He also said that jobs in Carlsbad have risen by 7.6 percent to 47,000 in 2013 from 43,7000 in 2009.
“We work not only through the good times, but manage through the bad,” Hall said of the city’s financial recovery.
Hall went on to congratulate major businesses within the city on their accomplishments over the year.
He mentioned Life Technologies’ $13.6 billion sale to Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Westfield’s $100 million investment in the renovation of the Plaza El Camino Real mall.
Hall proudly mentioned that construction of the desalination plant is underway in the city, and that Carlsbad’s hotel industry falls second only to the city of San Diego in the entire county.
He voiced confidence in California Pacific Air surpassing the FAA’s initial rejection of its airline certification application and beginning flights in and out of Palomar Airport.
Referring to the airline’s founder Ted Vallas, Hall said, “He is going to fly that aircraft.”
At the event, the city itself was also recognized with a “2013 eCities” award from Google for being the “digital capital” of California.
Google representative Davis White presented Hall with the award, which recognized the city for its strong online business presence.
Hall acknowledged the accomplishments of the Carlsbad Unified School District (CUSD), particularly talking about Jefferson Elementary’s International Baccalaureate (I.B.) program.
The program, which is in its eighth year at the school, focuses on teaching students how to be inquiry-based learners who examine on their place in a global environment. One aspect of the program is that students are taught a different foreign language each year from second through fifth grade.
“(I.B. is) something we should challenge ourselves to spread through junior high and high school,” Hall said.
The CUSD is currently exploring the possibility of expanding the program to other schools, according to Superintendent Suzette Lovely.
She said that while she has witnessed I.B. enhance the learning environment at Jefferson Elementary, the district must consider the costs of running the program which consist of thousands of dollars in program fees, teacher training and added foreign language instruction.
Hall concluded his speech by saying that Carlsbad is well on it’s way to reaching a “world class city” status where people love to live and businesses flourish thanks to the partnerships between the city, businesses, and schools.
“The lifestyle in the city of Carlsbad is the envy of all other cities,” he said.