HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — On Thursday, Oct. 20, Harrisburg Mayor Wanda Williams gave her State of the City Address to local business leaders, elected officials, and more, where she said Harrisburg is the strongest it has been in decades.
Williams cited Harrisburg’s financial recovery out of Act 47, which states that the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has a responsibility to help municipalities in Pennsylvania who are experiencing financial difficulties, as well as the city finishing its payments on a $125 million debt that began in 1997.
“More than $12 million will go back into our annual budget,” Mayor Williams said. “Money that will go towards safer roads, more police officers and firefighters, and other capital investments the city has lacked for three decades.”
Williams also touched on the partnerships that Harrisburg has with Dauphin County and state leaders, which provide more opportunities, such as business opportunities, family-friendly festivals/events, and work programs, for Harrisburg residents.
The Harrisburg Bureau of Police, which is on pace to take more illegal guns off the streets than last year, was also recognized at the event.
Williams and Police Commissioner Thomas Carter both expect the bureau to reach 158 officers in 2023.
The Harrisburg Bureau of Fire has been responding to fire calls in Harrisburg in record time, often under five minutes. The fire crew is staffed 24 hours a day every day, and has not lost a life on their watch in 2022 so far.
“The work being done by Chief Brian Enterline and the Harrisburg Fire Bureau is second to none,” Mayor Williams remarked. “It’s not just lives being saved. It’s property as well. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars of property has been saved by our firefighters this year. Furthermore, a lack in volunteer firefighters is putting an even greater dependence on our men.”
Seven members of Mayor Williams’ administration also spoke briefly about their respective departments and fields.
Dave Baker from the Department of Parks and Recreation spoke about the $2.5 million in grants his department has received in 2022 and how the funding will help give new life to city parks, playgrounds, and trails.
“We are ten months into a journey to rebuild this city,” Mayor Williams said. “We banded together because we all love this city. Many of us were born here. Many of us raise our families here. We are Harrisburg, just like all of you. And for the next three years, and God-willing four more after that, the best is yet to come.”