RETRACTION: An earlier version of this article consisted largely of quotations and paraphrases that were based on an October 2016 speech Mayor Stephanie Burke gave to the Medford Chamber of Commerce, not the Feb. 8 State of the City address. The article has been updated so that it reflects the content of the Feb. 8 speech. The Daily deeply regrets these errors.
Medford Mayor Stephanie Burke affirmed the strength of the City of Medford at her first State of the City address Feb. 8. Burke lauded Medford’s successes in finances and public works as well as development plans such as a proposed new hotel expected to create 50 permanent jobs.
“Much time has been spent among our residents, business owners and staff, working in collaboration with one another and elected officials in all levels of government, to have a high-level dialogue to renew and improve our city,” Burke said. “I am very proud of the work done thus far and it continues today.”
The mayor added that the city has worked hard to ensure fiscal success and has seen growth in tax revenue collection, stability in its housing market and a decrease in the unemployment rate.
She stressed that the city is focused on economic development because continued economic growth will bolster the city’s financial soundness. In particular, she mentioned the proposed hotel development as well as plans to rehabilitate Riverside Plaza.
“Economic development, and development in general, is necessary to maintain a financially strong municipality,” Burke said.
While delivering remarks on public safety, Burke said that the city’s police department will not profile witnesses and victims of crimes based on immigration status.
“While we are not declared a Trust Act city, be assured that our police department’s protocols do not allow for profiling,” she said. “Witnesses and victims are not asked about their immigration status.”
Burke ended her speech by promising to maintain an open dialogue with residents to better the city.
“I say to you that the state of our city is sound, it is stable and it is sturdy,” Burke said. “As your mayor, I stand as committed as ever to foster this dialogue with you as we continue to cultivate a city of which we can be partners in progress.”
Burke’s speech, which was held before approximately 250 people, inspired positive feedback among attendees. City Councilor George Scarpelli said he is pleased with the mayor’s achievements.
“The mayor is leading us [in] such a positive direction and looking at all facets of our community, from infants to the elderly,” Scarpelli said. “You see the growth and development in Medford with a new hotel and the focus on recreation like the Chevalier [Theatre].”
Christine Morin, a Medford resident of 16 years, said she was happy to hear the mayor’s remarks on education, and she liked the fact that the mayor invited students to be a part of the event. However, she believes that the event could have had more components that were directly relevant to residents.
“I actually liked it better than I thought I would, and it was quick and brief,” Morin said. “However, I did not feel there [were] enough resident-oriented services.”
Matthew Morin, a sophomore at Medford Vocational Technical High School and Christine Morin’s son, was part of a group of students that recited the city’s Unity Resolution, which affirms that Medford should be a welcoming community for all citizens.
“I think [the resolution] shows that we are a unified community that is diverse,” Matthew said. “I would like to see more efforts like this.”
In an interview with the Daily following the address, Burke said she is committed to keeping the community unified. She added that the city’s police department will not profile anybody based on race or ethnicity.
“I think I want people to understand that our police department are good men and women, and there is no profiling going on,” she said. “You can call yourself this or that, but it’s your actions that really matter. I want people to know that they are safe in our community, and if you need to report a crime, nobody is looking at where you came from.”