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New Businesses & Job Creation

Since 2011, our Economic Development Team has brought more than 1,100 new jobs to Waterbury. We have seen the establishment of more than 45 new businesses – a mix of manufacturing, retail, restaurant and professional enterprises that allow for continued expansion and diversification within the City’s employment base.

New businesses expected to come online in 2015 could bring more than 800 new jobs to Waterbury. And more than 15 existing businesses have expanded, adding more than 100 jobs.

Waterbury’s unemployment rate peaked at 16 percent in February 2010 – the height of the Great Recession. By April 2015, it was 9.5 percent. In May 2015, it was cut further to 9.3 percent in a continued downward trend and by June it was down again to 9.0 percent.

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City Infrastructure

Chase Avenue: The second phase of a state project to widen Chase Avenue began in Spring 2015.

Reed School Area Sidewalks: Construction substantially complete with additional work started in Spring 2015.

Washington Street Sidewalks: Construction anticipated to begin Fall 2015.

Country Club Road: Construction anticipated in Fall 2015 to repair long-standing drainage issue.

North Elm Street/Cherry Avenue Streetscape: Improvements to visible area set to begin Summer 2015

Waterbury Police Department Roof Replacement: Construction to begin Summer 2015.

Naugatuck Valley Community College: Sidewalks to be constructed along Chase Parkway, out to bid in late Summer 2015. New bus shelter already installed.

Silas Bronson Library: Nearly $1 million in renovations to Library’s interior as well as entry plaza. Project still in bid phase.

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Brownfields & Neighborhood Revitalization

Brownfields

We remain the state’s leader in Brownfields identification and redevelopment. In fact, our Workforce Investment Board’s Brownfield Job Training Program will be featured as a Case Study in a federal EPA publication on the Nova Dye and WIC projects for job placement. The publication will be released at the EPA’s Brownfield Conference this September in Chicago.

Neighborhood revitalization

The O’Leary Administration has embraced the task of revitalizing certain Waterbury neighborhoods, partnering non-profit organizations and local, state and federal housing officials.

Gaffney Place features five newly remodeled homes in the Historic Hillside neighborhood, developed through a public-private partnership. Liberty Commons is a 33-unit affordable apartment complex recently opened by the nonprofit Loyola Development Corp. Also, Francis Xavier Plaza was opened on Baldwin Street earlier this year. The former St. Francis Xavier School was transformed into a 20-unit permanent supportive housing complex for adults and families experiencing chronic long term or repeated homelessness. It was a joint effort among local, state and federal agencies as well as the Archdiocese of Hartford.

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Fiscal Responsibility

Overall spending increase in 2015-16 budget just 0.64 percent.

Annual average budget growth of 0.88 percent – less than 1 percent per year.

Cumulative budget increase of 3.5 percent since O’Leary Administration’s first budget in fiscal year ’13. That’s far lower than increases in the cost of living (8.5 percent) and the Consumer Price Index (6.4 percent) over those years.

Mayor O’Leary has made great strides in stabilizing Waterbury’s municipal finances. Since taking office on Dec. 1, 2011, Mayor O’Leary remains committed to reducing spending, reducing the City’s workforce and containing the City’s spiraling health-care costs.

All these financial moves resulted in a bond-rating agency late last year, reaffirming the City’s long-term bond rating at A+ with a stable outlook. This improved rating reflects the strong financial management of the O’Leary Administration and has enabled the City to undertake some long-term projects that include improvements to our parks, schools, library and other infrastructure.

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Health & Safety

Police & Fire: Switched to Civilian Dispatch as of 2016. Savings of $1.8 m for each of six years.

Police

The City’s crime rate has gone down significantly over the past 12 years, according to federal statistics. In 2001, Waterbury had an average of 484.6 crimes per 100,000 people. The national average is 298.9. By 2012, the number was reduced to 309 crimes per 100,000 people. Over the past decade, Waterbury has seen a significant decrease in every major-crime area, including murder, rape, robbery, burglary and auto theft.

Fire

Infrastructure: Station 4 Baldwin Street, finished final phases of interior and exterior restoration and modernization to 1907 firehouse. Station 6 Willow Street, completed second phase of exterior renovation, moving to third phase of interior renovation and modernization of 1905 firehouse. Purchased three engines and one ladder truck. Implemented two-way radio upgrade.

Consolidation and Reorganization: Consolidation of Engine Co. 1 increased efficiency while reducing personnel costs by $1.65 million. Bureau of Fire Prevention reorganization saved $400,000 and significantly increased the inspection rate.

Grants: Acquired $4.23 million in grants that covered personnel costs, protective gear, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for City residents and FEMA performance grant.

Emergency Management/Homeland Security: Became the first large municipality in state post-Sandy Hook to have plans completed and approved by the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security under Public Act 13-3. Created a model presentation used statewide for National Incident Management Systems instruction to school administrators. Successfully secured funding for all declared disasters in New Haven County via FEMA.

Health Department

Nursing recruitment initiatives placed a registered nurse in every school.

Held 12 skill-training workshops in-house or with outside agencies to generate job opportunities for low-income residents, reaching 175 individuals.

Made 177 housing units lead safe. Conducted 68 community outreach and education events, proactively trying to prevent lead poisoning among City residents. Established a lead-safe housing registry.

Conducted Citywide Waterbury Health Assessment with establishment of Greater Waterbury Health Improvement Partnership to establish a platform to address the Top Four identified health needs.

Maintained active involvement as a member of the Region 5 Emergency Preparedness Medical Support Functions to maintain emergency readiness.

Performed routine inspections of all food establishments, including mobile food vendors. Conducted routine inspections of barbershops/cosmetology establishments. Also did routine inspection of swimming pools as well as child day care centers to ensure compliance with all state regulations.

Routinely respond to housing violations and participate in weekly Blight Task Force Meetings.

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Blight & Parks & Recreation

Blight Task Force

Mayor O’Leary formed the Blight Task Force in 2012. It works out of the Police Department and is staffed by two police officers and a representative from the Waterbury Development Corp. It also has liaisons with Corporation Counsel, the Fire Marshal, Public Works, Community Relations, Building, Health, Zoning and the Mayor’s Office. Since its formation, the Blight Task Force had cleared more than 18,000 complaint from residents of littering, abandoned or rundown properties and the like. The Blight Task Force has also overseen the demolition of 40 properties.

Neighborhood revitalization

The O’Leary Administration has embraced the task of revitalizing certain Waterbury neighborhoods, partnering non-profit organizations and local, state and federal housing officials.

Gaffney Place features five newly remodeled homes in the Historic Hillside neighborhood, developed through a public-private partnership. Liberty Commons is a 33-unit affordable apartment complex recently opened by the nonprofit Loyola Development Corp. Also, Francis Xavier Plaza was opened on Baldwin Street earlier this year. The former St. Francis Xavier School was transformed into a 20-unit permanent supportive housing complex for adults and families experiencing chronic long term or repeated homelessness. It was a joint effort among local, state and federal agencies as well as the Archdiocese of Hartford.

Parks and Recreation

River-Baldwin Park: Construction substantially complete on new basketball courts. Project completion expected in Fall 2015.

Chase Park: New playscape, splash pad, site amenities; construction underway in Summer 2015.

Waterville Park: New playscape, splash pad, site amenities; construction underway in Summer 2015.

Rivera-Hughes Park: Various improvements under construction are expected to reach completion in Fall 2015; new bathrooms were recently delivered and installed.

MLK Park, Hamilton Park, Hopeville Park: New restrooms at all three parks. Anticipated that contracts will be awarded in Summer 2015 with construction to follow.

Fulton Park: Warming hut renovation; Greenhouse shed to be demolished; Demolition anticipated for late Summer/Fall 2015.

Lakewood Park: New double handball court; new benches under gazebo in Summer/Fall 2015.

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Downtown Revitalization

In 2014, Waterbury received a historic TIGER Grant. With plans already underway to improve the Waterbury rail branch, this $14.4 million federal grant will enhance mass transit in our City while highlighting the beauty and viability of our Downtown. A City contribution brings the total to $19 million.

 

The TIGER Grant and the rollout of Waterbury NEXT will transform our City. Waterbury NEXT represents a separate, almost $20 Million public-private investment in our Downtown. It includes renovations to historic buildings to create many new Downtown apartments that will attract young professionals. We are already moving forward with the Brown Building and Rose Hill in Downtown and this year will see the next steps in redeveloping the historic Howland Hughes building. Up to $5 million in state housing funds were designated for the Brown Building. Additionally, several out-of-town investors have recently visited Waterbury and expressed a real interest in our Downtown.

 

Summer of 2015 will see Waterbury begin implementation of its Green and Downtown Streetscape Projects. This will enhance the use of existing sidewalks along the streets that radiate from the Green by making them more walkable and widening them to allow sidewalk dining outside restaurants. The plan also calls for the installation of free WiFi to draw people to the Green.

 

Another Downtown improvement is the scheduled demolition of the decrepit Prospect Street parking garage this summer. The Rectory Building restoration will be done this fall in preparation for UCONN students using that space.
We are truly restoring the legacy of our Downtown.