Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple released a progress report Thursday evening on the city’s efforts to boost the economy, improve public safety and provide opportunities for all of its citizens. In his state of the city address, the mayor said the city is working with Wichita residents to build a vibrant community.
The mayor said the city has moved on from the COVID economy since 2020 and now has a three percent unemployment rate. He said the city has restored or created more than 32,000 jobs and now has the strongest job market it has had in decades. He said Wichita is leading the state in economic growth and attracting the attention of businesses around the world. He spoke about the recent announcements by Bombardier, Novacoast and other companies to set up their headquarters in Wichita.
Whipple said the city has the strongest nondiscrimination ordinance in the state and the city has an obligation to leave no one behind in providing economic opportunity. He said the city’s budget this year has had more government grants than ever before and is delivering the services people are asking for. He said the budget is expanding social services and police and fire operations, while staying the line on taxes.
The mayor said a report will be ready next month to provide new police chief Joe Sullivan with a road map to create a more effective strategy for community-centered policing. He said the city has committed $45 million over the next eight years to new fire stations, and the firefighters have the best contract they’ve had in 100 years. He said the contract resulted in 400 applications for the firefighters’ recruiting program.
Whipple also called attention to the city’s efforts to reduce homelessness, combat youth violence and respond to the community’s fentanyl crisis.