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Montgomery mayor addresses public safety, development in State of the City

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 3:00 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2022 at 10:16 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - During his annual State of the City address, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed addressed public safety, economic development and the trash and litter issue.

Reed said his top priority in this new year is making Montgomery a safer city.

“Right now, not enough of our citizens feel safe,” Reed said. “There is no other higher priority that we can have than the peace and sanctity for the people of this city.”

The push comes after another violent year in Montgomery. The city reported a record high 76 homicides in 2021. So far in 2022, four homicides have been reported.

Reed said this year the city is doing more to combat crime like investing $500,000 into into gunfire detection and prevention systems.

“That means acquiring and installing new cameras, license plate readers, and shot spotter units throughout Montgomery,” Reed said.

Reed also touted the cities new growth and push to attract new businesses. He pointed to his administration’s partnership with the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and Montgomery County to bring an Amazon facility to the city.

“Our success resulted in a $100 million investment that will create 500 good-paying jobs,” Reed said.

However, he said bringing new businesses to the city has to go hand-in-hand with supporting existing job creators and encouraging minority entrepreneurship.

“I’m asking for two things: Help us build capital and help us build capacity,” Reed said.

Reed added that the unemployment rate dropped to 3.6% for November.

“With 24 new projects and nearly 1,000 jobs announced in 2021, we anticipate it sinking even lower,” Reed said.

The mayor also mentioned a branding campaign to complement Montgomery’s history. The campaign is called “Experience Montgomery” and will have a “national and international reach,” Reed said.

Reed mentioned the city’s improved financial position allowed them to give pay raises to police, fire and sanitation.

The city also has enough funds to invest $50 million this year into the new “Montgomery Forward” campaign, a project designed to make quality of life improvements to Montgomery’s neighborhoods. According to Reed, several projects are in process and others will start in the weeks and months to come.

“When you see the billboards and when you see the commercials I want you to know that’s your dollars are going back into this community,” Reed said.

Reed also addressed the litter and trash issue. He said in this year’s budget, he is allocating $100,000 to the Montgomery Clean City Commission.

The city will also soon announce a new neighborhood services director to help coordinate a clean city campaign.

Reed added that he continues to be a champion for the city’s public schools and will work with the business community, the Chamber, colleges and nonprofits to ensure graduating students have a plethora of opportunities in Montgomery.

Regarding the city’s top concern of public safety, Reed said the Montgomery Police Department’s solvability rate for violent crime stands at 77%. Officers have also confiscated more than 1,650 illegal firearms.

Reed added that the city will soon welcome a new police chief to the community. They have vetted 42 applicants from 15 states, including interim Chief Ramona Harris.

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