Mayor Marylou Powers and City Manager Jason Behrmann painted a picture of a strong and growing community during Galt's annual State of the City luncheon on Thursday.
After soup and sandwiches were served to the approximately 30 members of the local community in attendance, Powers welcomed everyone, briefly touched on some current issues and events, and then handed the majority of the presentation over to Behrmann.
Behrmann's first order of business was addressing Galt's current fiscal vitality. He said the city, which has finished the last four years in the black, is currently operating under a balanced budget.
"We're in relatively good condition financially as a city," Behrmann said. "It hasn't been easy to get there; it took a lot of sacrifices. But what I'm proud of is the fact that we haven't seen a big reduction in services that we provide to the community.
"It's always been the (city) council's number one goal to keep providing those services," he added.
Behrmann spoke on several topics ranging from new housing developments proposed for the city — which, according to Behrmann, hasn't seen a new home built during the past three years until this year — to the planned Walmart that he said aims to see its doors open on April 1 of next year.
"Having developers come, knocking on your doors, getting in line to see some of these things happen — it's been a while," Behrmann said. "We've done our best to try and set the stage for these things."
On a similar but less positive note, Behrmann told the crowd that the loss of redevelopment funds provided by the state has seriously hurt Galt over the past few years. In 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown eliminated a statewide redevelopment program in an effort to help California crawl out of its massive deficit.
"I really lament that loss," Behrmann said. "I think it (was) really shortsighted on the part of the governor and the legislature to do that — but they did it."
Behrmann also praised several key changes the city has made in recent times. Some of these changes included the launch of an online registration system for the city's Parks and Recreation department, and the adoption of a new computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system the city's police force is using in tandem with Folsom and Citrus Heights law enforcement agencies.
Police Chief William Bowen said the new CAD system has been a vital addition to his department.
"The access it gives us to all sorts of important information has made a world of difference," Bowen said.
Bowen said the new system has become even more significant since the Jan. 15 shooting death of Galt Police Officer Kevin Tonn. Tonn's death prompted the Chamber of Commerce to postpone its State of the City luncheon — originally scheduled for Jan. 17 — until Tuesday
But despite the difficulties Galt has experienced and the challenges it still faces, Behrmann and the mayor both said they are optimistic and thankful concerning the state of their city.
"We don't always achieve all of our goals, but we do our best to get there," Behrmann said. "We're always looking to improve and do better. We want to get this city to where I know we can take it and to where I know you all can see it going as well."