Lake Charles mayor optimistic in first State of the City address

by Brandon Richards bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach delivered his first-ever State of the City address to the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance Tuesday.

Mayor Roach started his speech off by talking about the local economy. Roach said while the economy in Lake Charles is better than many parts of the country, the city was "not bulletproof."

"We're going to feel the effects of the recession," said Roach. "It is true that right now we're experiencing a double-digit decline in sales tax revenue [but] it's not just the city of Lake Charles."

Roach said the recent downturn in the city's sales tax revenue is a product of two factors: the nationwide recession and a natural contraction that is a result of post-Hurricane Rita.

"Imagine for a moment the conversion of these two lines, a national recession and a natural contraction and what do you have? A decline in sales tax," Roach said.

Roach also cautioned local business leaders about overreacting to bad economic news.

"Don't overreact," Roach warned.

Speaking for over an hour, the mayor also highlighted the current and upcoming projects the city was working on, including development in the downtown and Lake Front areas. Roach also said many people had started approaching him with the understanding that most of the money from a prior bond issue was money that was slated for the Lake Front development.

"The $90 million bond issue had $18 million for downtown. It was not a bond issue dedicated strictly for the Lake Front development," Roach explained.

Roach also talked at length about the importance arts and culture played in the region and highlighted the progress the city had made with respect to its parks.

The mayor wrapped his speech up by quoting from one of FDR's inaugural addresses and by once again reiterating his optimistic outlook for the city and the region's future.

"We can do and we can handle and be whatever we want to be," Roach said.

The city plans on posting the slide show the mayor used during his presentation on the city's website on Wednesday.

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