City of Daytona Beach, State of the City 2021.
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News
The City of Daytona Beach Mayor, Derrick Henry, addressed last year’s successes and challenges with a State of City Address that was shared via video to the City’s website.
Beginning 2020 with a worldwide pandemic, which affected every aspect of the community, Mayor Henry and the City Commission, ensured that Daytona Beach was able to adapt quickly to the crisis, by enacting the State of Emergency in March – which is still in effect.
“The city had to juggle with decisions to help keep people safe while keeping businesses open and people employed,” Mayor Henry said in the video.
The City, overall saved residents $4 Million on their water bills, waived permit fees for six months, and assisted more than 1,000 households with the city’s rental assistance.
Daytona Beach was the first city in the county to begin offering COVID-19 testing in underserved areas, such as Midtown, as well as enforcing the use of face coverings in public areas.
Along with dealing with the ongoing pandemic, civil unrest and police brutality were another major concern for cities all across the country. For this reason, Mayor Henry enacted a community-wide Equity Initiative, utilizing multiple committees that encourage thought-provoking conversations to establish sensible approaches to combat racism and injustice in the community.
These Equity Initiative Committees are still meeting regularly, in a virtual setting.
Mayor Henry also established a Citizen Police Review Board, over that summer, that provides independent reviews of complaints against the Daytona Beach Police Department and offers a layer of oversight and transparency.
“Enough cannot be said about the city’s growth,” Mayor Henry said, regarding multiple projects around the city that updated its infrastructure.
Some projects mentioned in the video include the Conclusion of the Beach Street streetscape, and the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune mini streetscape, the Opening the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge after four years, the Martin Luther King Jr. Road Improvement Project and the city pools having been or being rehabilitated.
More steady improvements of public spaces and the opening of more businesses led to the reduction in property taxes totaling $1.8 Million for homeowners in Daytona Beach while continuing economic growth.
“Much has been accomplished in 2020, and I am looking forward to meeting the challenges of 2021,” Mayor Henry said in closing.
For those interested in viewing the Mayor’s State of the City address, the video can be found here.
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