Higgins looking forward to an “even better” 2014

Lisa Goudy
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Mayor Deb Higgins gives the State of the City address at the Moose Jaw an District Chamber of Commerce 2013 Citizen and Group of the Year Awards and Moose Jaw heritage advisory committee awards luncheon on Jan. 16, 2014 at the Heritage Inn.

From a record value of permits to the work on the new hospital, Mayor Deb Higgins thinks 2013 was a “great year.”

“2014, I think, is going to be even better,” said Higgins after her State of the City address on Thursday at the Heritage Inn. "(During budget) we were notified of an increase in our taxable assessment, which means more money is coming in from activity, economic and construction activity, here in the city and that just says there’s lots going on.

“We’re starting to see the results of that at city hall and we can all drive around town and see construction going on somewhere.”

Higgins gave her address at the 2013 Citizen and Group of the Year Awards and Moose Jaw heritage advisory committee awards luncheon.

After the address, she said she wasn’t worried about the city being able to keep up to the amount of activity that is happening.

“It hasn’t been in big spurts and then sputtering for a while. It seems to have been a fairly steady pace over the last couple of years,” said Higgins. “Now that we’re starting to see the results of that, it just makes us feel that we’ve been headed in the right direction, the community’s headed in the right direction and I think it’s just going to continue in 2014.”

Some of the highlights from 2013 mentioned in her address included progress in the West Park, Iron Bridge and Westheath subdivisions, an increase in the city’s rental vacancy rate and the completion of 28 housing rental units on Maple Street that filled up at once. There was also the groundbreaking for the new hospital last spring.

In 2013, the city issued 321 building permits with a value of $96.13 million, which is $28 million more than in 2012. In the first nine months of 2013, the value of permits rose 43 per cent from the same period in 2012. The average monthly value of the permits in 2013 was $8.8 million per month, the highest in the city’s history.

Further, the city issued 276 new business licenses in 2013 compared to 19 in 2012.

Afterwards, Higgins added there are always challenges along the way, but it’s important to get prepared for those and learn from them.

“You just need to have the good information to be able to make an informed decision,” she said. “Our eye is always towards making the best decision for the community of Moose Jaw and residents that live there.”

But the best asset to the city, she said, are the people who live in it.

“When you meet someone from out of the community that’s either just moved to Moose Jaw or they’re visiting here, always (they have) great things to say about the city and also about the people that they meet: how helpful they were, how friendly they were,” said Higgins. “They talk about the historic aspect of the City of Moose Jaw and it’s just great to hear. It truly is great to hear that people maybe see more to it than we do, living here on a day-to-day basis. So it’s always a bit of an eye-opener.”

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

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