BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome hinted Tuesday night that she's had enough of the naysayers getting in the way of progress. "I seek to be effective more than popular. I am committed to progress, not partisanship," she said.
Broome gave her state of the city-parish address Tuesday night, laying out an optimistic look ahead for 2018 after an admittedly rocky first year in office.
"The first year certainly had its moments that I wish were different. What I will share with you is I have learned from each instance and I have grown and have become even more prepared to move this city forward," said Broome.
Broome says moving the city forward must begin with moving past the August 2016 flood. A year and a half later, recovery is still a struggle, but she pointed to a reformed storm management plan as a successful first step. Broome also announced that 2018 will bring more than $100 million in federal grants to the city, saying her staff is still working on final plans for that money.
"This recovery framework is a way we can insure that we continue to bounce back from any shocks and stresses to our community," she said.
As violence marked the end of 2017 and the beginning of the new year, public safety was another obvious top priority for the mayor. She lauded the newly appointed police chief, Murphy Paul, stressed that people need to stand up to crime, and announced a $1 million federal grant that will be used to provide behavior and mental health help for at risk youth, targeting the roots of crime.
"Whenever there is a homicide in this city, I receive a phone call. It doesn't matter what time it is, I receive that call. I can tell you that I have received too many phone calls during my first year in office," said Broome.
Traffic will also be a major focus for the mayor's office in the coming year. While Broome was unable to get her BTR tax plan through the metro council to voters, the Mayor says her staff has been tasked to look at new traffic solutions, saying it's a problem that must be fixed now.
"If we do not, we are effectively taking a pass and placing an even greater burden on those generations ahead," she said.
The mayor also hinted at several new initiatives to come this year for economic development, specifically one to help what she called "dis-invested" parts of the community. She said more information on that will come soon.