Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
I would like to extend our warmest welcome to everyone.
I hope that you enjoyed your lunch.
I realize that I am an after-lunch speaker, so hang in there with me. I intend that this address will be worth your time.
Notables in attendance
We appreciate you taking time out from your busy schedules to join us today and we do not take that for granted.
At this time, I would like to introduce my colleagues on the City Council:
- Mayor Pro Tem Rob Johnson
- Council Member Doug Bailey
- Council Member Dr. Prakash Narain
- and Council Member Mariellen Yarc
And to my wife Mary Ann, son Kevin, and daughter Meredith, thank you for your prayers, love and support.
As for Mary Ann, she has been following me around since the second grade — started in North Carolina. But that’s another story.
A list of honorable attendees registered for today’s event has been included in your program for your information. Their presence speaks very highly of the respect that Cypress holds in Orange County.
The President of one of our businesses stopped by and chatted with me in my Starbuck’s office. She relayed to me that in her business circles, she is often asked where her business is located. She responds with a great sense of pride in the “sleepy little town of Cypress.”
Today, I would like to talk to you about six important attributes essential to retaining and attracting new businesses and residents to our great City.
- financially sound
- high achiever in education
- safe and secure community
- poised for new development
- outstanding streets and infrastructure
- vital parks and recreation programs
The first attribute is that Cypress is financially sound.
One of the greatest challenges for all cities, Cypress included, is being informed of pending legislation in Sacramento. One significant example is AB 26, dissolving redevelopment agencies, effective in 2011. AB 26 raided the coffers of local governments to balance Sacramento’s irresponsible spending, and created uncertainty and instability for many cities — especially for those which were most severely impacted by the recession.
Regretfully, I cannot report that the issues have been ultimately settled. The fiscal impact to the City could be as high as $45 million. The City continues its dialogue via litigation and negotiations with the State Department of Finance (DoF) in our attempt to protect every local dollar to the maximum extent possible from the State takeaway.
Upper government works on the following principle:
“A fine is a tax for doing wrong, a tax is a fine for doing well!”
Nevertheless, the City’s fiscal health remains strong because of long-term conservative leadership. For Fiscal Year 13-14, the General Fund operating budget is projected to be in the neighborhood of $25 million, and the Capital Improvement Program budget is projected to be around $10 million. 75% of our reveneues come from sales tax, property taxes, and other taxes.
For the past several years, Cypress is among the few cities that can claim that we’ve experienced no lay-offs, no furlough days, no reduction in service levels, and no new taxes during the recent economic downturn. We are on course now to close out this budget year in the black just as in past years. Our success in doing this is to prudently estimate reveneus a little low and expenditures a little high just like we successfully did when I was in the Air Force.
High achiever in education
The next attribute is Cypress’ educational institutions excel!
Whenever one relocates to a new city, high-quality schools are very important in deciding on a location. Welcome to Cypress for all of your academic needs from kindergarten through Community College!
Cypress School District was ranked first in K through 6 and fifth in K through 12 in Orange County.
The District’s schools achieved an astounding API score of 888!
Oxford Academy is consistently ranked high by the U.S. News and World Report. Oxford is also recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School, adding to its already impressive academic honors.
Lexington Junior High School, Oxford Academy, and Cypress High School are all noteworthy California Distinguished Schools.
Extracurricular activities provide for a broad balanced education. The Cypress High School Marching Band was First Place at the 2013 Los Angeles County Fair Marching Band Competition Finals. The Imperial Brigade won a $5,000 cash prize, as well as an invitation to the 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade.
90% of the members of the Class of 2013 of the Anaheim Union High School District are either attending a 2- or 4-year college, vocational, or trade school, or are serving our country in the armed forces. 90%! That’s commendable!
At Cypress College, 96% of all available seats were taken by students during the Spring 2013 semester even after adding 48 class sections to the schedule. Responding to demand, the College approved new courses, and new Associate Degrees for transfer.
The Cypress Women’s Water Polo team earned a Scholar Team nomination in the Orange Empire Conference, continuing a tradition of classroom academic achievement among athletes.
Cypress College’s baseball team was undefeated in the State Final Four tounament, wining the College’s fifth baseball state championship.
State Championship swimming honors were taken in the fifty-yard freestyle along with establishing a number of school records.
Safe and secure community
The third attribute is Cypress being a safe community.
When each of us leaves our homes in the morning for school or work, we do so needing to know that we are leaving our families and property secure. Our world has changed. Our Police Department has remained adaptive to our community needs in maintaining a peace of mind.
The Police Department has presented Active Shooter countermeasures to Cypress College staff members and business leaders. Bi-annual school visits, exercises, and drills have been implemented in response to this new world.
Other program and service advancements implemented during the past year include:
- A review of suspects convicted of property crimes for potential fraud of the social services benefit system and a determination to suspend or revoke state benefits
- Implementation of the Police Department iPhone mobile application
- Internet Safety presentation directed at our youth
- And lastly, a multi-language “Community Services” voicemail box
We are pleased to have the Orange County Fire Authority provide fire services. This past year the OCFA provided over 2,500 EMS, Fire, and other service calls. The average response time in Cypress was around five minutes.
Poised for new development
“Cypress is posed for new development” in the fourth attribute.
The amount of construction going on is really fueling our housing recovery. This past year, the City saw the completion of:
- fourteen new townhomes on Belmont Street,
- and sixteen million-dollar single-family homes on Harmony Lane
Projects currently under construction include:
- fifteen-unit townhome project on Orange Avenue
- sixteen-unit townhome project on Camp Street
- And a large tenant improvement on Corporate Avenue
There is a future opportunity to develop forty-seven detached single-family homes on the former Mackay School site. The project would include 2.9 acres of open space area which the City could acquire from the School District for a future park.
Another opportunity exists to develop twenty-nine detached single-family homes on the School District Office site. These homes would be similar to those recently developed in Harmony Lane.
These are great indicators for recovering from the housing slump.
This past year, we welcomed:
- ADC Energy USA, Inc.
- Cavatec Dabico U.S., Inc.
- Kusha, Inc.
- Sakura Paper, Inc.
- and D’Andrea Visual Communications
into our business family, just to name a few.
To them, we extend a warm and hearty welcome.
The thirty-three-acre Katella site has taken a change in direction. I understand that the original property owner is looking for a developer with an interest toward a project that is more in line with the community’s expressed need.
Much was learned from Measures L and A. Community outreach is very productive. Applied critical thinking is absolutely essential. We are a stronger community for coming together and for the lessons that we have learned.
Expansion of the Los Alamitos Race Course is near completion. This will allow the housing, training, and racing of thoroughbred horses up to twenty days per year. This will be a welcomed addition to the entertainment venue.
The City and CREW Program hosted its first Women’s Conference in October. The featured keynote speaker was Eileen Frere, Orange County Bureau Chief for ABC Channel 7 Eyewitness News. The conference celebrated women, their achievements, and the difference that women make in the world.
The Fourth Annual Cypress Job Fair was held in October, attracting over fifty employers and 2,000 job seekers. This Job Fair is unique in that all candidate employers are highly screened in qualifying to participate and must have the job openings to hire on the spot; resumes not just collected and filed away.
Outstanding streets and infrastructure
The fifth attribute is that our streets and infrastructure are outstanding.
Cypress’s financial health has allowed the Public Works Department to continue to execute the projects approved in the seven-year Capital Improvement Program. This type of multi-year end-to-end system engineering planning has greatly benefited our City.
One of our most notable projects is the recently completed Myra Avenue Storm Drain. Myra Avenue has had a history of flooding. With the new fully operational pump station and storm drain, local residents can now rest easier with the added 63% increase in capacity.
The Public Works Department was successful in securing grant funds to install 115 storm drain screens to reduce the amount of trash and debris which flows into storm drains and out to the ocean. The City is halfway to reaching our goal of installing 586 storm drain screens throughout the City.
This past year, the City replaced copper wire with new fiber optic cable, added traffic cameras, upgraded traffic signal controllers to improve the traffic control system and traffic flow. It should be noted that nowhere in the City are cameras used in any way for traffic enforcement.
This past year, we have resurfaced sixty-five “lane miles” of pavement and complemented this effort by planting over 800 street trees City-wide. Cypress’s streets and infrastructure remain one of best in the county and region.
Vital parks and recreation programs
The final attribute is vibrant parks and recreation programs are essential to a community’s well being.
Recreational programs too often are understated for their value and contribution to a community.
- $12,804 juvenile parole supervision
- California student average $8,482
There is no substitute for upfront investment in our youth!
Studies conducted by notable universities and agencies across the nation show that parks and recreation programs provide a health, social and environmental benefit. The American Planning Association identifies parks as a positive source for economic development in recognizing that real property values are positively affected, homebuyers are attracted to purchase homes, and employers are attracted to live and work in the community.
We are fortunate to have a number of popular parks and a thriving community services department. In 2013, more than 400,000 people were served by use of our recreation facilities or participation in our programs and events coordinated by recreation staff for a city with a population less than 50,000.
Many of our services are supplemented by volunteers. 9,000 volunteer hours have been given to our Senior Center along. Organizations such as Cypress Church, and businesses including Vans and United HealthCare, have provided volunteers to complete service projects or to support ongoing programs in our community.
The City is also grateful for the generosity from the Bandai Foundation in providing financial support to special events and services such as the annual 5K/10K Run, the Police Department’s Positive Action Through Character Education (PACE) Program, Red Ribbon Week, and the Challengers Basketball League.
Let’s give all our volunteers, service groups, sponsors and community members a round of applause.
Looking to the future
Looking toward the future, economic recovery is encouraging for Cypress and Orange County as the local economy and real estate markets have greatly improved. In the past twelve years, the median income in the City increased by approximately $12,650 and the median home sale price increased approximately $176,000.
According to recent SCAG Economic Recovery and Job Creation Summit, the economic indicators and employment trends show an OC return to the pre-recession unemployment levels in 2014 at the earliest, and the latest in 2016, worse case.
My additional duty is being an elected member of SCAG’s Regional Council, Transportation Committee, several subcommitees. Along with other regionally elected leaders from the 191 cities from the six counties, serve some 18 million people in Southern California in this organization in our continued efforts to plan and accommodate growth in Southern California, and to project and assess future needs in critical planning areas such as land use, housing, GHG, and transportation. I would like to assure the people of Cypress that the City as well as surrounding communities are being diligently represented regionally and that our interests are being heard.
Let me say emphatically that the foregoing successes of the Cypress community are attributable to the cooperative, focused efforts of many people. Take away any one and our success would be greatly diminished. Our City is in excellent standing, as demonstrated by our stability during these changing economic times.
Ladies and gentlemen, now comes the award portion of the program.
It is our honor to recognize three outstanding businesses that exemplify the City’s motto of Progress, by presenting the Annual BRACE, AGENT, and SPIRIT Business of the Year Awards.
The BRACE Award goes to United HealthCare. United HealthCare is an operating division of UnitedHealth Group, the largest single health carrier in the United States. They also have the distinction of being the largest employer in the City of Cypress.
With us today is Mr. Greg Siebert, Vice President of Network Management, to accept the BRACE Award. On behalf of the City Council and staff it is my pleasure to present to United HealthCare the BRACE Business of the Year Award and this Certificate of Recognition of our appreciation.
The next award is the AGENT Business of the Year Award. And this Award goes to Sika Corporation – Roofing. Sika Corporation – Roofing is an international supplier of high-quality, long-lasting Sarnafil thermoplastic roofing and waterproofing membranes for commercial building applications. Products include energy-saving white reflective roofs, vegetated green roofs, solar-ready roofing, and vinyl systems that simulate the appearance of metal roofs. Accepting the AGENT Award on behalf of Sika is Mr. Jesse Quezada, Vice President of Sales. Mr. Quezada the City of Cypress thanks you and the Sika Corporation in recognition of your exceptional performance, success, and growth in Cypress. On behalf of the City Council and staff, it is my pleasure to present to you the AGENT Business of the Year Award and this Certificate of Recognition of our appreciation.
The final award is the SPIRIT Business of the Year Award. And this Award goes to Hyatt Die Cast & Engineering. Hyatt Die Cast was founded in 1956, currently with three California locations in Orange County and San Diego County, boasting 150,000 square feet of manufacturing space for products in aerospace, telecommunications, computer, medical, and commercial industries. Mr. Robert A. Meschuk is the President of Hyatt Die Cast & Engineering and accepting the Award. Mr. Meschuk, the City of Cypress thanks you and Hyatt Die Cast & Engineering in recognition of your exceptional performance, success, and growth in Cypress. On behalf of the City Council and staff, it is my pleasure to present to you the SPIRIT Business of the Year Award and this Certificate of Recognition of our appreciation.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in congratulating our BRACE, AGENT, and SPIRIT Business Award of the Year winners once again with a round of applause.
The City Council remains highly optimistic about the City’s future and economic recovery. We will stay the course in the continued tradition of effective governance and prudent financial management of this City’s resources ensuring successes in the years to come.
An examination of our community attributes clearly shows that the State of Cypress:
- is financially sound
- is a high achiever in education
- is a save community
- is poised for new development
- has outstanding streets and infrastructure
- derives excellent community benefits from oour parks and recreation and senior programs
Vince Lombardi said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence!”
Cypress is an excellent city!
You have been a great audience. Thank you all for investing your time with us today. Have a prosperous New Year and may God bless each of you and the City of Cypress.
The text above was delivered by Cypress Mayor Leroy Mills at the City of Cypress State of the City Luncheon on Jan. 22, 2014. We apologize for being late.
Pictured left to right are members of the Mills family: Mr. Kevin Mills; Mrs. Mary Ann Mills; Mayor Leroy Mills; and Mrs. Meredith Mills-Youngquist