State of the City Address

State of the City Address

Luncheon Presented by:
The Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce and the City of Elk Grove

Featuring Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen

Friday, March 29, 2024
11:30am to 1:30pm, Livestream: 12:30pm to 1:30pm

The Center at District56, 8230 Civic Center Drive, Suite #100


Good afternoon. Thank you for that warm introduction. I’m Bobbie Singh-Allen and I am proud to serve as Elk Grove’s Mayor. 

Thank you to the Chamber Board and staff for your continued work to support local businesses.  

Thank you to my City Council colleagues and our wonderful city staff who join me in serving our City every day; and 

To my parents, husband, children, and friends;

Most importantly, thank you to all of you who are attending and tuning in online. 

I’m excited to share with you the progress we’ve made over the past year and provide you with a look into our future and I have to ask… 

Is time flying by as fast for you as it is for me? 

It seems like just yesterday that I was delivering my first state of the city speech virtually… online from city hall…during a worldwide pandemic. 

Fast forward and here we are. Together again… and I am sharing my fourth annual address with you. 

The big dreams we conceived for our future that seemed so impossible back then are coming to life today thanks to the passion, commitment, and collective pursuits of dreamers like you and me who see the promise and the possibilities for Elk Grove’s future. 

The work of our City is guided by a clear mission that comes from the needs and priorities expressed by our community. 

And as I was thinking about our mission, I couldn’t help but associate what we do with the Mission: Impossible movie series. 

Bear with me, now… 

If you stop and think about it, running a city government and the Mission Impossible movie series have some things in common. 

Both Require Leadership and Teamwork 

City government work requires effective leadership and teamwork to resolve complex urban issues. 

In Mission Impossible, Ethan Hunt led a team on dangerous missions where teamwork and leadership were critical for the success of the mission. 

Both Face Complex Challenges. 

Managing a city involves addressing issues like infrastructure, transportation, public safety, and social services. 

The Mission Impossible team took on complicated missions to address global threats. 

And both Thrive on Adaptability and Innovation 

Cities must embrace innovation to adapt to changing demographics, technology, and environmental concerns. 

The Mission Impossible team had to think quickly and come up with innovative solutions to overcome obstacles during their missions. 

But really…these tongue-in-cheek comparisons are meant to highlight the complexity and the approaches to the work that we must do for our city. 

Your Mission… should you choose to accept it…is to dream big and work hard with us to foster a city that provides: 

A vibrant, sustainable economy; 

Community Safety and Resiliency; 

A High-performing, financially stable local government; and 

Infrastructure that meets our current and future needs. 

And I believe that that Mission is Possible. 

If you’re familiar with the Mission: Impossible franchise then you know that a burning fuse is a part of the opening sequence. 

“Light the Fuse.” 

That’s the direction Ethan gives a member of his team at the start of Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol. 

Well…the fuse is lit here in Elk Grove! 

From expansions to new business openings, we are seeing explosive growth in our local economy. 

Last year alone, there were more than 400 new business licenses issued to companies starting in Elk Grove. 

In December, we celebrated the opening of the Western Distribution Center for Kubota Tractor Corporation. 

This $70 million state-of-the-art facility is serving dealers and customers throughout the West. 

Kubota is sparking new jobs, innovations, and opportunities for our region not just at their facility but in hotels, restaurants, and retailers here in Elk Grove. 

And it will spur additional growth in the Grant Line Business Park, our newest development area that has room for millions of square feet of new warehouse and manufacturing facilities. 

We extend our welcome and congratulations to Kubota Tractor Corporation and wish them continued success for the future. 

And business is booming at Sky River Casino too. 

The Wilton Rancheria celebrated a year in business by purchasing an additional 20 acres near the casino and announcing plans for further expansion. 

Last month we enjoyed the opening of The Humidor, their new bourbon and cigar lounge and we eagerly await the start of construction on the parking garage, hotel, and conference facilities. 

This growth continues to enrich the community’s dining and nightlife options and foster self-reliance and success for Wilton Rancheria and its members. 

Thank you, Chairman Tarango and Wilton Rancheria’s Tribal Council Members for your continued commitment to the Elk Grove community. 

And I spy growth in other parts of the city too! 

How many of us are counting down the days until the opening of Nordstrom Rack? 

That’s May 2nd by the way. 

Or the opening of the new Macy’s, Whole Foods, Yard House, or Mendocino Farms. 

The list of well-known businesses coming to Elk Grove is growing longer every day.  

Their anticipated openings are generating a buzz on social media but will do even more for our economy when they open. 

And I, for one, am ready for it! And I know a lot of other people are too. 

Of course, all that shopping makes us hungry (and thirsty) and thankfully we have a few more dining and drinking options available. 

New places like Pig Latin, PROST, Coatza Brewing Company, Raw Sushi Bar, and Slow and Low are offering fresh new flavors to Elk Grove’s dining scene.  

And the City’s new Brewery, Restaurant, and Winery Incentive program, created with Measure E funding, will support more unique offerings in our future. 

New restaurants and retail shops are obvious perks, but there are other industries emerging in our city too. 

With companies like Apple based in Elk Grove since 1992, it’s no wonder that tech start-ups are finding a home in Elk Grove. 

The City’s Start-up Incentive Program is nurturing a growing number of cutting-edge companies whose concepts could change the future. 

Since its start in 2018, the Start-up Incentive program has provided funding to six companies who have moved out of the garage and created more than 80 jobs in our city. 

These businesses continue to dream big and are making significant contributions to global industries. 

Businesses like Core Impact and visionaries like Samuel Taylor. 

Core Impact is revolutionizing athletic performance by developing wearable devices that offer real-time feedback to athletes, coaches and trainers. 

These devices provide valuable data that could reduce sports related injuries and level up an athlete’s performance. 

Look for big things from this Elk Grove company in the future. 

But it’s not just about Elk Grove. 

We want our region to thrive and we’re doing our part to cultivate more start-up ventures through events like Pitch Elk Grove. 

Our second pitch competition was held in May and awarded more than $15,000 to regional start-ups focused on new innovations in health care, food science, and advertising. 

We look forward to the next pitch event in September and encourage everyone to attend the technology career events hosted by the City and the Chamber next month to learn more about our emerging tech industry. 

There is no doubt that new businesses bring innovation and fresh ideas. 

They create new energy and make an economic and cultural impact on our community. 

To innovators looking for a great place to set up shop, we want you to know…Elk Grove is open for business. 

And we have a workforce that is up to the challenge. 

When we turned the corner on the worldwide pandemic, we put $2 million in ARPA funds to work to offer free enrollment in regional workforce development programs to residents who suffered COVID related job losses. 

These programs have allowed community members to learn new skills and retrain for jobs that generate a good living wage. 

We partnered with Cyber Proud to design and implement a training program in the field of information technology focused on cyber security and infrastructure support. 

And the demand for professionals in this industry is so great, we’ve since tripled our investment in the program. 

120 Elk Grove residents will have the chance to become a part of this growing career field thanks to this program. 

Residents like Adnan Baig (Udd*non Bayg) and 5 others in our community who have graduated from the Cyber Proud program and are already working in the industry. 

Congratulations, Adnan. We are excited to hear about your work with the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the chance to share in your professional success. 

But a vibrant economy comes from a diverse economy and that means offering jobs in a variety of fields. 

Having pathways to careers in manufacturing and the building trades is just as important as our tech talent. 

That’s why we partnered with the Charles A Jones Career and Education Center to offer a nine-month apprenticeship program to train manufacturing technicians and offer forklift driver certifications. 

Joining us today is Seren Soriano. 

Seren graduated from the Manufacturing program last November and was hired by Insight Manufacturing Services in December.  

We applaud residents like Adnan and Seren who have rose to the challenge to dream bigger and do better for themselves and their families by participating in these programs. 

Providing pathways to the trades is also a goal for the Executive Director of the Sacramento Sierra Building and Construction Trades Council, Kevin Ferrerira. 

This group represents more than 15,000 union construction workers in the Sacramento region. 

Our Community Workforce Training Agreement will support more local hire and apprenticeship programs. 

Our invaluable partnership offers real-world opportunities on local capital projects for those seeking careers in the construction industry. 

To inspire a new generation of skilled tradespeople, Kevin’s organization will host a hands-on career fair at District56 next week. 

Skilled labor is essential to a vibrant economy. 

Let’s continue to promote efforts like these to encourage the next generation of builders and craftspeople. 

Investing in infrastructure and institutions that support life-long learning speaks volumes to who we are as a community. 

Later this summer we will begin preparing for construction of a new library on our historic Main Street. 

This new site at the former Rite Aid building will increase the size of the library by 5,000 square feet and more than double the parking available for patrons. 

It will offer new ways to engage with education and connect through spaces and resources that support learning at any age. 

We are grateful for the continuing support of our library partners and the state representatives who have secured more than $8 million in funding to make this project possible. 

I want to take this opportunity to thank Senator Angelique Ashby for securing $1 million this year to enhance the children’s section of the project and to our former assemblymember, Mayor, and now Sheriff, Jim Cooper for securing millions for this project during his time at the state capitol. 

We simply could not deliver these kinds of projects without your support. 

Thank you. 

But beyond the book stacks, there’s a great opportunity to bring learning to life in our city. 

Next week the Planning Commission will consider a significant capital project. 

One that would spark tremendous opportunity for our City. 

A new Zoo. 

The City and the Sacramento Zoological Society have been in close communications and coordination since 2020 when we decided to explore the opportunity of bringing a New Zoo to Elk Grove. 

Over the last several years, city staff have thoroughly studied the feasibility of the project. 

I also understand and appreciate that our Planning Commissioners and the Council take their responsibility to make decisions in the best interest of taxpayers and residents of our community seriously. 

A major new zoo hasn’t been built in the United States since Disney constructed its Animal Kingdom in 1998. 

They are transformative projects given their scale and the level of investment required. 

The project financing plan estimates a cost of around $300 million to build the initial phases of the Zoo. 

While the City would share expenses with our regional partners, the City’s investment would be significant. 

But its important to remember… 

The City has been saving for a project like this for the past 24 years… 

A project that could attract more than a million visitors a year;  

A project that would fuel short- and long-term economic impacts totaling more than $249 million; 

A project that promotes Elk Grove and brings unrivaled civic amenities to our community;  

A project that supports our conservation and sustainability goals; and 

A project that provides an amazing educational resource for thousands of K-12 students in the region. 

That’s not even including the collaborations possible with higher education institutions like UC Davis. 

This project could do a lot for the city and its important to remember that it parallels our ongoing efforts to serve the community. 

The project WILL NOT use Measure E funds. 

Those will continue to support community priorities. 

It WILL NOT dip into our rainy-day reserves… 

which are projected to be more than $22 million this year. 

And it WILL NOT affect our ability to provide the quality-of-life services our community needs and deserves. 

Steve Jobs once said that “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” 

He also said that “everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future.” 

I believe this project would be transformational for our City. 

I have confidence that the City has put safeguards in place to protect community resources. 

We can do big things IF we work together. 

There are many details about this project I don’t have the time to dive into today, but I encourage you to review the materials available on the city’s website to learn more about this project as it is considered by the Planning Commission on April 4th and the Council later this spring. 

This is a big project. 

But in my mind…it’s NOT IMPOSSIBLE. 

Earlier this week, In-N-Out Burger closed its first location in its 75-year history. 

Not in Elk Grove…but a store that had operated for more than 20 years on a busy corridor near Oakland International Airport. 

A spokesperson for the burger giant stated that the frequency and severity of the crimes being encountered by their customers and associates left them with no alternative. 

And this is not an isolated incident. 

Businesses are closing all over the bay area and the state for similar reasons. 

Statewide numbers show that California commercial shoplifting increased by nearly 30 percent in 2022 and continued to rise last year. 

I bring this up to point out that a vibrant economy cannot survive without prioritizing public safety. 

Our Police Department is working hard to keep our community safe and our economy thriving. 

Chief Davis and his department embrace innovation, take advantage of technology, nurture positive relationships with our community, and do a lot of cutting-edge police work. 

Last year, officers conducted 13 covert operations to combat retail theft. 

During those operations they recovered more than $27,000 worth of stolen merchandise and made 58 arrests. 

With your support, and Measure E funding, we added 19 Police Department positions and launched a new Youth Services Unit over the past year. 

And to help ensure that offenses in Elk Grove come with consequences, we’ve partnered with Sacramento County District Attorney, Thien Ho to introduce a Community Prosecutor Program. 

Allow me to introduce you to Anthony Ortiz. 

Anthony is an Elk Grove resident and our new Community Prosecutor.  

As a Deputy District Attorney, Anthony has more than 25 years of experience in prosecuting local crime. 

His new office at the Police Department literally puts him alongside our officers to combat crime. 

His presence provides dedicated resources for our city to prosecute those who commit crimes in Elk Grove. 

Crimes like burglaries, thefts, trespassing, substance abuse, vandalism, and other safety concerns. 

He’s working with our Problem Oriented Policing Unit and the newly launched CORE program that’s aimed at re-directing and rehabilitating repeat offenders. 

He also led the Elk Grove Youth Academy outreach program which provided an educational introduction to the Sacramento County Criminal Justice System 

We are excited to have Mr. Ortiz on board and appreciate our partnership with District Attorney Ho to make our city safer. 

Public safety is a top priority for all of us, but busting bad actors is just part of the issue. 

As a growing (and aging) city, making sure that responders can get to us quickly when we need emergency medical attention is just as important. 

Cosumnes firefighters provide a critical, life-saving service to our community. 

As one of our partners, Cosumnes CSD is investing Measure E funding in people and resources to ensure they are there when we need them most. 

Chief Rodriguez and his department are working hard to reduce emergency response times. 

Fifteen new firefighter recruits entered the academy in January and, once they graduate, will be deployed to serve in fire stations later this year. 

And new rescue equipment and software will support their operations. 

We thank our police and fire responders for their selfless service and for making our city a safer place for all. 

Please join me in expressing our appreciation for all that they do. 

Just as we celebrate the achievements of our safety professionals, we must also acknowledge some other unsung community heroes. 

Those serving our unhoused community. 

A city that prioritizes security and compassion is a community where every person can feel protected and cared for. 

In November, the city opened its first Enhanced Winter Sanctuary with our partners, The Gathering Inn. 

This facility has provided a stable place to stay for more than 50 guests since it opened its doors last fall. 

Guests like Tina. 

Tina and her dog were able to make the transition from homelessness to a one-bedroom apartment at the Bow Street complex earlier this month. 

She attended a City Council meeting recently and expressed her gratitude to the Sanctuary staff and Elk Grove HART, who helped furnish her new apartment. 

These are the results we want more of. 

And to provide more time for guests to make that transition to sustainable housing, we are using savings from the program to extend the operation of the Enhanced Winter Sanctuary to the end of April. 

Understanding the extent of the homelessness crisis is essential to addressing it head-on. 

In January, we partnered with Sacramento Steps Forward to conduct the annual Point in Time count. 

With the help of volunteers, we canvassed the city to determine how many unhoused people reside in Elk Grove. 

Similar counts were conducted throughout the county. 

That data will provide us with a regional snapshot and qualify us for federal funding for more services and solutions. 

We look forward to reviewing the results of that report later this year. 

In the meantime, we will continue to provide a helping hand to our unhoused residents through our dedicated service partners like Sacramento County, Elk Grove HART, Uplift Elk Grove, and the Elk Grove Food Bank (who is celebrating their 50th year in service to Elk Grove). 

We have invested Measure E dollars to add dedicated Homeless Navigators to our team. 

I want you to meet Becky Jones and David Bettencourt, our dynamic Homeless Navigator duo. 

Last year this team made contact with more than 57 unhoused community members, connecting them to services and shelter. Their work moved 109 people into permanent housing and literally made a difference for 39 local households.  

Thank you, Becky and David. 

Your work reflects Elk Grove’s compassion and commitment to our unhoused population. 

Permanent housing is the ultimate goal of this work. 

In February, we announced a win-win settlement in a lawsuit to relocate a permanent supportive housing project from the city’s historic district to other city-owned property. 

We believe that this new location positions the project for success and offers a larger site to provide more units and help for more people who truly need it. 

The proposed Coral Blossom Apartments project will construct approximately 81 units on a site designated for affordable housing on Elk Grove-Florin Road. 

The Project will provide some significant support services including individual case management and health services through a partnership with Hope Cooperative. 

We are joined today by April Ludwig, one of the dedicated people serving that non-profit organization. 

Hope Cooperative’s service in Sacramento and Yolo counties for more than 40 years has made an impact on more than 10,000 people each year and we are grateful for the opportunity to support the work you will do in Elk Grove. 

The City continues to be a steadfast supporter of affordable housing and the Coral Blossom Project is just one of a number of housing projects under development in the city. 

We know that a diversity of housing options is essential to a vibrant community. 

We have invested more than $78 million dollars from the Affordable Housing Fund since 2004 to construct 15 local projects. 

Projects that have created more than 2,000 homes for families who are working hard to make ends meet, with nearly 800 additional homes under construction right now. 

Homes for people who contribute to our community. 

And for people who could not otherwise afford to live in Elk Grove. 

We are doing our part to make affordable housing a reality in the region through projects like Pardes Apartments on Poppy Ridge Road. 

The first phase of this project broke ground last month and is expected to open in 2025. 

We are proud of our partnership with CRP, and other project developers working with us to provide affordable, quality homes in Elk Grove. 

The motivational guru Tony Robbins has said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” 

We’ve never been a city that conforms to the status quo. 

We strive to be leaders in innovation -- pursuing ideas that improve the lives of our residents and streamline our operations. 

We are focused on the future and harnessing the power of technology and creativity to provide a more transparent and responsive government. 

We are implementing a smart city plan that prioritizes participation and data analysis in the decision-making process. 

Later this year, we will roll out an inclusive engagement toolkit -- a playbook that will provide tools that will empower our staff to engage the community early and often in the development of city projects. 

We’re also using technology to collect and present information in new ways. 

Students from Franklin High School are working with us to offer a 3D augmented reality environment for the new zoo. 

And our Planning, Public Works, and GIS teams are consolidating images and data to present digital story maps to report the progress of local development projects and let you know who’s digging in your yard. 

Embracing innovation is not just a choice we’re making. 

It’s a necessity as we strive to build a resilient, responsive and forward-thinking community. 

Breaking out of the box is opening the doors to new opportunities for regional collaboration and funding support. 

Earlier this month, Congresswoman Matsui announced that the city will receive over $2.2 million in federal funding to connect local trails, hire victim advocates to support the survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse, and support the conversion of the city fleet to zero emissions vehicles. 

Having strong partnerships with the federal government ensures that we have a champion that is representing the needs of Elk Grove in Washington DC 

Thank you, Congresswoman Matsui. I am grateful for the friendship and the partnership. 

Our culture encourages innovation and our fabric is rich in diversity. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… 

Elk Grove’s diversity is our strength. 

We honor and celebrate it. 

We are proud that the Elk Grove Unified School District was recently ranked the 2nd most diverse school district in the state. 

And we strive to be a city welcome to all. 

City Hall reflects our diversity a little more each year. 

In 2023, 64% of all new hires were diverse. 

And as I promised last year, we adopted a city land acknowledgement that celebrates and honors the heritage of Elk Grove’s Indigenous People. 

That acknowledgement is now a regular part of city meetings and events. 

We continued the tradition of celebrating our diversity at the Multicultural Festival with more than 8,000 visitors. 

And we partnered with the Wilton Rancheria to host the California Tribal Showcase in observance of Indigenous Peoples Day. 

We have certainly made progress, but there is still more work to do. 

I have asked the Diversity and Inclusion Commission to review the City’s code of ethics with a DEI lens and provide the Council with recommendations later this year. 

Let’s continue moving forward on this important mission together. 

Now…Let’s talk about traffic and roadway projects. 

It affects us all and addressing it remains a top priority for our Council. 

And I have some good news to report. 

The roads we roll on are some of the best in the region.  

Road conditions are measured with a Pavement Condition Index, or PCI. 

Roads in the Sacramento region are rated at 53 PCI, but Elk Grove’s PCI is a stellar 80. 

I want to thank our Public Works Department for maintaining more than 1,000 linear miles of Elk Grove roadways so well. 

Moving from the ground to the sky, there’s lots of work happening on our traffic signals. 

Early results show a 12% average reduction in travel time on Elk Grove and Laguna Boulevards and a 46% reduction in the number of stops crossing town thanks to the traffic signal synchronization project. 

Some people know this as “the green wave.” 

Things should continue to improve with construction starting this summer on our citywide Traffic Signal Enhancement Project. 

This project will add larger traffic signal heads and better vehicle detection devices at more than 100 intersections around the city. 

These enhancements will improve the flow of traffic and make the drive across town a little easier. 

These projects improve the roads that we have, but we’re also paving the way for new roads. 

We’re one step closer to extending Kammerer Road to Interstate 5. 

Known as a critical segment in the Capital Southeast Connector, the project will provide a much needed additional east-west  connection from Interstate 5 to Highway 99. 

This new roadway will not only provide access and a route for residents and businesses in the developing southern parts of our city, it will offer much needed traffic relief on Elk Grove and Laguna Boulevards. 

Environmental clearances for this project came through in December. 

The final design for this segment began in February and we hope to begin securing right-of-way acquisitions later this year.  

The project is not fully funded yet, but the work being done will put us in a good position to seek state and federal grants for future construction. 

For those who would rather hit the trails, there’s also good news. 

Work continues to close the three largest gaps in the Laguna Creek Inter-Regional Trail System. 

Regional, State and Federal grant funding has been secured to create connections including a new pedestrian bridge over Highway 99 at Laguna Creek. 

Once these projects are completed, the City will focus on closing the smaller remaining gaps in the system. 

And you may want to borrow a bike to use the trail. 

We’ll launch a new bike share program later this spring to encourage more people to make the switch to alternate transportation when they can. 

Who’s ready to ride the train? 

We’re excited for the work of the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission to extend ACE train service to the City. 

A new train station in Elk Grove is not just a transportation hub, but a gateway for connecting with our untapped potential. 

The station will close a gap between us and the Bay Area. 

It will remove barriers like a lengthy commute for top talent and it will provide additional incentives for businesses to start or relocate to Elk Grove. 

Construction of the station off Dwight Road is expected to start next year with an opening in late 2026. 

As I prepare to close today’s message, I am reminded of a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us”. 

The State of our City is strong. 

Our mission is possible. 

My goal as your Mayor is to be able to look back on the work that we’ve done together and say Mission Accomplished. 

Thank you once again to the Chamber Board and staff for hosting today’s event and to all of you for your commitment to Elk Grove.