ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The Mayor of St. Petersburg touted the city’s accomplishments Saturday morning, as well as acknowledging some of its downfalls, saying much has been done, but there’s still a lot to do.
Mayor Rick Kriseman came prepared with numbers and facts that paint a rosy picture of the city.
“Our violent crime rate is currently at a six year low,” he told the audience. “St. Petersburg’s African-American poverty rate has decreased eight and a half percent in one year. Our overall unemployment rate is also out-pacing our nation and our state.”
He also spoke about how the city has turned around its financial situation.
“The Fiscal Times has just ranked St. Pete as Florida’s financially-strongest city,” he said, in contrast to when he took office on January 2, 2014.
He talked about the bustling redevelopment in South St. Petersburg, a major hike in construction, and the rise of property values.
But, it wasn’t all positive.
One of the biggest problems, the mayor said, is infrastructure, particularly the sewer system and the black cloud that continues to hang over the city.
“Until our planned upgrades are complete, wastewater discharges may continue,” Kriseman said.
But, what about the Rays and the future of Tropicana Field?
The mayor said nothing,although he had plenty to say about the Pier and how it would be built by the end of next year.
He also spoke about the Crossbay Ferry and acknowledged the pilot program may not be permanent.
In the end, he brought up what some might call his ongoing feud with President Elect Donald Trump.
“As you may know, I’ve been a little critical of Mr. Trump,” Kriseman told the audience. “I believe the things he says and does are hurtful to St. Petersburg and are hurtful to the diverse and wonderful people who call our city home. It’s simply impossible to look at the elections of 2016 and not acknowledge the resounding sound of St. Petersburg’s voice.”
The mayor also talked about ridesharing and how his next ordinance that he’ll propose to the city council will essentially deregulate the vehicle for hire industry in the city.