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In his 2020 State of the City address, Mayor Ken Miyagishima outlined five major initiatives he supports and believes will “pay valuable dividends for our community for years to come.”
Miyagishima, who was re-elected last November to an unprecedented fourth consecutive four-year term as mayor, made the 30-minute speech Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 19, at City Hall. The audience included former Las Cruces Mayor Ruben Smith, as well as mayors from surrounding communities and Las Cruces and Doña Ana County leaders and elected officials.
“I’m pleased to announce the state of our city is strong,” Miyagishima said, as he outlined these initiatives:
Miyagishima said he would like the city “to make greater use of the investment portfolio of the Telshor Fund, a public-benefit account created through the leasing of Memorial Medical Center, to make low-interest loans to local housing providers, which he said could then be applied as part of the match for state and local grants.
The mayor said the city should also “be more proactive in acquiring infill property for new housing” so that lower- and middle-income residents can use existing public transit and other facilities and infrastructure and devote more of their incomes to housing. The mayor also called for a wider variety of affordable housing in Las Cruces.
The most effective responses work by drawing together the entire community … to collectively plan and develop comprehensive, multi-faceted service for affected residents,” he said.
The mayor said he supports the collaborative effort being led by Mayor Pro-Tem Kasandra Gandara to combat adverse childhood experiences and Local Collaborative 3, which Families and Youth, Inc. and more than 50 local partners are creating to “coordinate and align” the local behavioral-health system.
Miyagishima said he has asked Gandara to work with the city council, the county and surrounding communities “to create a county-wide Behavioral Health District, governed by a joint-powers agreement among the various entities,” which he said would better align governmental services and investments with the overall efforts of the larger behavioral health community, to provide better service and outcomes for us all.”
The corridor could include “a well-landscaped thoroughfare with wide sidewalks for pedestrians, designated bike lanes and leafy trees and shade structures along the way,” he said, along with “frequent transit service … with distinctive vehicles.”
As a result, “one thing we can expect is a steadily accelerating trend toward electrification of everything possible,” he said, “because electricity can be generated by non-carbon sources like wind, geothermal and solar, and stored and distributed for later use by new technologies, many of which are already less expensive than fossil fuels. We want our community to ride this wave rather than be swamped beneath it,” the mayor said.
At an April work session, Miyagishima said the city’s sustainability officer, Lisa LaRocque, and city staff “will begin outlining the full range of implications for the city of this energy transition, to include our fleet of vehicles, our buildings -- both existing and proposed -- and countless other impacts only now being realized.”
Miyagishima said the state of the city “will only remain strong if we keep learning together, reaching out to one another and building on our strengths and ties as human beings. One city, one people, in one community – serving one another and, in turn, being served.”