Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer’s State of the City on Wednesday was light on news, but heavy on citing his accomplishments.
Dyer repeatedly told the audience of 950 — a sellout for the Fresno Chamber-hosted luncheon — that Fresno was a “city on the move.”
In his 40-minute speech at the Convention Center Exhibit Hall, Dyer touched on decreased crime rates, increased housing opportunities, and downtown growth.
Watch: Highlights of Dyer’s State of the City Address
Police and Homeless
Praising Police Chief Paco Balderrama, Dyer said significant crime is down, including homicides down 54% (21-to-10) from last year. The police force will soon be at full strength with 900 officers, the mayor also noted.
“Sounds like a great investment to me with your tax dollars,” Dyer said, answering arguments made by social justice groups that the city spends too much on public safety.
Dyer also enthusiastically talked about removing homeless people from the street and into shelters through the Project Off Ramp program. He says by June 30, the city will have re-houses 350 people from the city’s freeways.
“Where did the homeless go when referring to our freeways? That is the exact same question I hope people will ask four years from now when they drive through our city,” Dyer said.
— UCSF Fresno (@UCSFFresno) May 24, 2023
Dyer Touts New Affordable Housing
Dyer talked about several housing projects either already completed, or in the process along Blackstone Avenue.
“The future of our city lies in the spine of our city, which is Blackstone,” Dyer said.
This includes 600 units that will be built at the Manchester Center, which will be called “One Fresno at Manchester,” playing off Dyer’s city unity slogan.
By 2025, the city will have added 3,200 affordable housing units, he said.
“Increasing the housing supply in our city is the key to stabilizing rents in Fresno and reducing homelessness in our city,” Dyer said.
Dyer also launched a new program that will provide $100,000 in mortgage assistance to first-time home buyers that meet income-eligibility guidelines. He said only 40% of Fresnans own their home. The $4.1 million for this program comes from the state.
These funds can be applied toward the purchase price of a home and or the required down payment. There are no monthly payments toward the $100,000 loan and if the homeowners lives in that home for 15 years, the loan becomes forgivable.
— City of Fresno (@CityofFresno) May 25, 2023
- Both Dyer and Pastor B.T. Lewis — who delivered the invocation — honored the late H Spees, who passed away unexpectedly earlier this month. Spees worked in Dyer’s administration, working on homeless issues.
- All seven Fresno City Council members attended. Meanwhile, the state attorney general is contemplating an opinion on whether it is a Brown Act violation for a majority of a council to attend such a private event.
- Although it was a Fresno Chamber event, the city of Fresno occupied 25 tables. Chamber member prices were $600 for a table of 10.