Murrieta Mayor Rick Gibbs stuck with his theme of economic development Tuesday morning when he gave his 2013 State of the City address titled "Building Murrieta's Technology Economy."
"For Murrieta and the region, all the ingredients of success are here," Gibbs said, to a crowd of about 130 businesspeople and local municipal leaders who gathered for the breakfast meeting at Bear Creek Golf & Country Club in Murrieta.
Murrieta has a smart and creative population, whose average age is 32 and mean income $100,000, he said the latest census data indicates. Thirty-four percent have college degrees. The problem, he said, is 66 percent of residents commute to San Diego, Anaheim and further west.
"We've got to do a better job," Gibbs said. "How do we change that? Economic development."
Creating more jobs locally can be achieved by continuing to strengthen the local economy through developing the technological, medical, manufacturing and industrial sectors, he said.
Gibbs gave examples of how the city's economic development team is accessible to assist start-ups and existing local companies in their efforts to grow.
One specific instance he gave was when Murrieta-based Waterstone Faucets was growing out of its 14,000-square-foot facility, Economic Development Director Bruce Coleman helped the company locate a nearby 42,000-sqaure-foot facility.
And in October 2012, the city opened the a business incubator that offers office space to start-up companies at a rate of $1.
"We ask the businesses in our incubator, 'How can we help you?' And then we get out their way," Gibb said.
In turn, growing local business will bring in revenue for the city, which he said has been operating on a steadily decreasing budget since 2007-2008.
The city's revenue comes largely from sales and property taxes. In 2007-2008, revenue was $43 million; in 2011-2012, it was $32 million. As a result, he said the city has been operating on a lean budget, which has included cutting or freezing 75 jobs.
"What does that mean? In city hall we have an entrepreneurial spirit."
The city continues to take care of business, he said. In five years, $150 million has been spent on infrastructure (road) projects.
The city also remains among the safest to live in in the nation, he said.
The local school district also gets it, he said, because they are educating students in the science and technology sectors. He noted that Murrieta Mesa High School offers an engineering pathway and Murrieta Valley High School has a world champion robotics club and a virtual enterprise program.
A goal also remains to bring a major four-year university to southwest Riverside County, he said.
Gibbs shared the floor with featured guest speakers, Fred Latuperissa, director of the U.S. Department of Commerce/U.S. Commercial Service, and J. Adalberto Quijada, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Creating jobs locally goes hand in hand with expanding globally, according to Latuperissa.
"How do we make that connection from Murrieta to overseas? Well guess what, we have 160 offices," Latuperissa said, reminding folks that the city of Murrieta and the U.S. Department of Commerce entered into a memorandum of understanding in May 2012 for the purpose of enhancing trade.
Quijada, who works with small business owners throughout Southern California, said he was encouraged by what he heard Tuesday.
"I love coming to State of the City (addresses)," Quijada said. "You are a great example—from the city manager to the mayor to the city council—of how you are looking to the future to make this a great region."
While the breakfast meeting was geared toward the business community, Gibbs was also slated to give a public State of the City address at 7 p.m. at Murrieta City Hall, One Town Square. A reception including free refreshments was scheduled to take place directly following the evening event.