In her State of the City address, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig says her office will focus this year on tackling education and homelessness and encouraging economic develpment.
"In the last 10 years, cuts in state aid have cost Manchester more than $50 million," she said Wednesday. "And with a state surplus of over $128 million for this year alone, it’s unacceptable for the state to not restore state aid for education."
In the meantime, she said, the city is ramping up its partnership with non-profits and foundations to grow schools’ leadership and tech programs.
Craig said creating a school system that's "second to none" was crucial for retaining young families who are coming to the city for high tech jobs.
Craig also announced a Task Force on Homelessness, to be made up of leaders from faith groups, non-profits, and local businesses.
"We have a homelessness issue in Manchester," she said, "And that is becoming visible in the downtown area but it exists all over our city.”
The mayor praised health groups for the city’s recent decline in opioid overdoses and deaths and increase in coordinated services.
"When I took office a year ago, it took someone who walked into Safe Station on average 2-3 weeks to get into treatment," she said ."Today, it takes 2-3 days."
Craig’s says her office is working with the state on redevelopment initiatives, providing tax incentives to businesses, and eyeing downtown areas to develop for attractive workforce housing.
She also emphasized diversity and transparency in the Mayor's office.
"From raising the Pride Flag at City Hall for the first time, to increasing diversity on local boards and commissions," she said, "I’m dedicated to continuing to make Manchester a welcoming place."