McALLEN, RGV – The City of McAllen is not only building a future for the region’s children, it’s also working to making sure that everybody matters.

That was the message McAllen Mayor Jim Darling was seeking to convey to attendees and the community in his State of the City speech on Tuesday afternoon.

Entering the annual event with a cadre of veterans, the mayor sought to emphasize the city’s theme, “Everyone Matters”. The theme is a testament to the city’s care and acknowledgement of all people and the importance of supporting programs that empower them, Darling said.

“We talked about education, which is very important. That’s to make sure we have a future for our kids to stay here, and when they get out of college, to make sure they have a job. That’s really important,” Darling said. “I think we’re building on that as a region, but it’s also about making sure that everybody matters. Those people with special needs in our community, we need to make sure those needs are addressed. We work those into our programs and how we do things.”

“We want to build on what we have, and make sure that when we give that vision to make sure the staff gets involved in it. It’s just to keep improving,” Darling said.

Darling spoke to a full house at the McAllen Convention Center.

In attendance at the State of the City was state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, state Reps. Sergio Munoz Jr., D-Palmview, Bobby Guerra, D-McAllen, Oscar Longoria, D-La Joya, and Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, Mexican Consulate Guillermo Ordorica Robles, Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia, Hidalgo County commissioners Joseph Palacios, Eddie Cantu, and A.C. Cuellar, Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra and former McAllen Mayor Leo Montalvo.

Also in attendance were Consuls from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador.

Intertwined with the event was a moving tribute to Valley veterans.

“To all veterans in the room, we would like to recognize you,” Darling said. “The phrase ‘we matter’ was not one we heard when we came home from our tours of duty, so we are saying it today. You matter for the freedoms we enjoy.”

Darling used the end portion of his address to reveal significant statistics for McAllen.

McAllen has one of the lowest crime rates of any city in the nation, the mayor announced at the event. The city is currently enjoying five back-to-back annual crime decreases, and the current crime rate is the city’s lowest in 24 years.

The City ended fiscal year 2015 with General Fund revenues exceeding budgetary expectations by $1.5 million, Darling said. Spending was below the budgeted appropriations, leaving the ending unrestricted cash balances at more than $46 million.

Property taxes in McAllen have held steady despite the recession and the collection rate has increased, attaining 96.93 percent this year, providing an additional $648,000. Sales tax revenue continued to trend upward with a 2.6 percent increase over 2014, representing $1.2 million. Spending was held to $3.5 million under budget.

The City’s financial position is strong and is prepared to successfully meet challenges and continue to grow in population,” Darling said. As a whole, current year revenue line items maintain McAllen’s strong fiscal position as evidenced by the City again receiving its AA+ issuer credit rating from Standard & Poor’s, as well as Fitch Ratings.