State of the City is good, Price mayor tells crowd
Price city mayor Joe Piccolo delivered his annual State of the City address at the Price Civic Auditorium Friday afternoon, promising that Carbon County's largest city would not only survive the current economic situation but grow and prosper from its challenges.
"We have a community that will remain solid," said Piccolo during his address. "A community that will rise above the challenges which face the energy industry and prosper for many years to come."
Piccolo's comments focused on two major issues, the education of this area's children and the limitless dream of Olympic athletes all across the world.
According to Piccolo, the Department of Workforces Services has chosen Price children to participate in a pilot project for a mentoring within the secondary educational system. This program should be substantially ready to implement as the 2014-2015 school year begins.
The program will provide some concurrent enrollment in vocational training to will help those interested obtain training for well paying jobs they will be ready to perform after graduation.
"Our graduation rate across the state is very dismal and as I presented this idea to the inter-generational poverty committee at workforces services they became excited," he said. "And they stepped forward with an initial grant to provide our children with another opportunity for success."
To provide some attention to Price's younger students, Mayor Piccolo will initiate a program in which six elementary school students a month will be taken to lunch in the fire engines and police cars.
"We will take them with the lights and sirens blaring. We will take them to the fire and police stations to show them just what our public safety officials do. Can you imagine their excitement?" he asked.asked. "I have learned that to change things within a home stricken by poverty you can't just change the amount of money going into the home, you have to increase the net worth of the individuals you are trying to assist."
The Olympics in Sochi became the focal point of the discussion.
"Price City is a city with no limits and today in Sochi an event begins that also has no limits," said Piccolo.
Thinking back to the Salt Lake Winter Games, Piccolo stated that the naysayers who fought to keep the games from taking place in Utah were many.
In 2014, there are 12 individuals from Utah competing for Olympic gold, 12 individuals that influence the world, he said.
"These athletes don't compete for the fame, they compete because it allows them to compete where there are no limits, to be the best at what they do. "
This comment lead the mayor into the economic hardships experienced by those who have come before us.
"Price city is a successful organization, Carbon County is a successful organization and when the winds of change that are in the air and the rains we are going to experience pass us by, we are going to be stronger for it," said Piccolo.
According to the Price Mayor, in 1980 there were just over 10,000 non-agricultural jobs in Carbon County and today there are still approximately 10,000 non-agricultural jobs. However, in 1980 there were 7,700 coal miners working, today there are only 785.
"We took a torpedo that knocked 90 percent of our workforce off the deck," he said. "And we are still standing. So don't you for a minute think that we won't survive whatever is dished out to us. We will overcome the economic and social challenges that come at this community."
For Piccolo, the issues that face Carbon County represent opportunities for growth and innovation. A challenge, to go forward by choosing a road that is less challenged. A road that will allow others to follow. He spoke of the opportunity to be grateful and appreciate the gifts that this community has provided.
"I am amazed every time someone drives up in a brand new Ford truck and says, 'We're going broke,' I think, come on, guy. Life looks so much better through a grateful lens," said Piccolo.
Every year during the mayor's remarks, Price city honors its employees and community members with special awards. In 2014, Mayor Piccolo began by presenting Price City Wave Pool Supervisor Supervisor Tamara Gray with the Employee of the Year Award, a distinction which is chosen by city employees through a vote.
The Safety Team of the Year Award was given to the Utility Metering Department comprised of Heather Sandoval, Bob Whitten and Fridel San Juan. The Visionary Service Leader Award was presented by coach Paul Dupin. Lastly, the Southeastern Utah District Health Department was given a Certificate of Appreciation for their partnership with Price City.