One City, One Future

January 6, 2009 12:06:55 AM PST
Mayor elect Ashley Swearengin will be sworn into office Tuesday and Monday she invited the entire community to celebrate. "One city, One future" was meant to showcase the city's diversity. But earlier Monday, she and current Mayor Alan Autry joined together to address the 2009 budget and the shortfall the community is facing.Dancers representing several different cultures took to the stage Monday night to celebrate the city they call home. And while the event honored the people that make Fresno great, Mayor elect Ashley Swearengin told the crowd the best is yet to come. "I know in my gut that Fresno is destined to be a great city," said Swearengin.

Fresno city council members and members of the community all joined together Monday to welcome Swearengin into office and Fresno Fire Chief Randy Bruegman played the drums in a band made of firemen. But despite the celebratory mood, Swearengin knows there is tough work ahead. She and current Mayor Alan Autry appeared at a joint news conference Monday afternoon and said because of higher personnel and retirement costs the city will have to come up with another eleven million dollars for next year's budget. All departments are being asked to make cuts, but Swearengin says that won't stop the city's momentum. "That doesn't stop us from moving forward. That doesn't stop us for being ambitious for this city and doing things for an innovative and creative way that can really benefit the citizens of this community," said Swearengin.

Those who attended "One city, One future" say they are also optimistic. "For the first time, we're actually organized as a community and working as one. And so I'm very very excited," said Swearengin.

Jackie Kelley is also excited. She wrote and produced her 'Ode to Fresno' more than a decade ago and performed it for the crowd Monday night. "It marks a moment of change and excitement and everything is just changing and it's changing for the good," said Kelley.

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