Provo Mayor John Curtis delivered his sixth annual State of the City address solely via social media on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
“A typical State of the City is not well attended; no one pays attention,” Curtis admitted. “Symbolically, this is where we want to go, on the forefront of technology.”
According to a Facebook post by Curtis on Feb. 24, a total of 329 people joined from Periscope and 541 people watched from Facebook.
Curtis’ administration has become known for reaching out to Provo citizens in innovative ways. His latest address was available via live-streamed through Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, Twitter and Snapchat.
According to Curtis, the social media was a success. More than 700 live views were counted from Provo residents as well as locations outside the United States. He explained that just those numbers alone were about “three to four times” more than the usual attendance.
“I have never been more excited for Provo’s future than I am today,” Curtis said at the beginning of his address. “Provo is on a roll.”
The mayor cited a “triple threat” that allowed the city to overcome any challenge placed before it, thanking the employees, residents and the legacy of pioneers like Abraham Smoot and Becky Lockhart. The State of the City focused on several issues that the mayor has made a focus for 2016: employees, fiscal stewardship and quality of life.
The mayor began by crediting the employees that made up Provo. He shared a story from a woman who lost her wedding ring when it fell down a storm drain outside the BYU Creamery. Calling the city only minutes before the end of the business day, she was gratified when a team of city employees arrived, lifted the grate, and trawled through two feet of sludge to return the ring to her finger.
“To me that demonstrates the type of commitment we have from our employees,” Curtis said. “I feel like we owe it to them to provide opportunities to improve and advance.” He briefly discussed a new enhanced tuition reimbursement program and a mentoring program, as well as an overhaul of the city’s software.
Discussing the issue of fiscal responsibility, Curtis cited a legacy of fine financial stewardship. “Provo has never submitted a budget that wasn’t balanced,” he said. He pledged to continue the city’s reputation as financially responsible into the future.
The mayor also approached the issue of stewardship. “Our largest single challenge is protecting and enhancing the quality of life,” Curtis said. “As good as we are, there are several areas I pledge to improve this upcoming year.”
He addressed concerns about inversion, as well as the city’s new “clean air tool kit”, and announced plans to celebrate National Women’s Day for the first time in Provo’s history.
The mayor fielded several questions from Periscope and Instagram, then extended an invitation to the residents of Provo watching him.
“I ask you to make 2016 a year to take advantage of the great resources here in Provo,” he said. “Let’s show the world why we call Provo the ‘City of Starts,’ and let’s start today.”
The State of the City address is available on YouTube.