Bethlehem’s mayor reflects on his tenure in his final State of the City address

Written by on April 19, 2021

Bethlehem’s mayor reflects on his tenure in his final State of the City address

By Genesis Ortega

April 19, 2021

Bethlehem City Hall. Photo | Courtesy of Bethlehem City website

The mayor of Bethlehem delivered his annual state of the city address on April 16, and it wasn’t as forward-looking as past years. Instead, it was more like a swan song. 

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Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez, who will not be running again because he’s term-limited, was looking back. 

“During my tenure as mayor, the city has made great progress in achieving the goals that were first outlined in my first state of the city speech in 2014,” Donchez says.

With about 8 months left in his term, Donchez listed some of his achievements.

During his tenure, he improved the city’s bond rating, oversaw the multimillion dollar renovation of Memorial Pool, and hired the city’s first female police chief, among other accomplishments.

There was, however, no playbook for the pandemic. 

“We spent most of 2020, searching for ways to keep afloat as we navigated a myriad of new rules and restrictions: how to keep businesses sustained, how to keep residents safe, and how to keep city services running uninterrupted. We did not pretend to have all the answers,” Donchez says.

He also thanked his colleagues and acknowledged his strong relationship with the college and health network presidents. 

Dana Grubb and J. William Reynolds will face off in the primary for the Democratic nomination to be the city’s next mayor. The winner will go head-to-head with Republican John Kachmar in November. 

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