Duluth Mayor Don Ness called for a more confident and optimistic Duluth in his state of the city address Monday.
Ness, fresh off an unopposed re-election to a second term, highlighted how the city has saved more than $180 million by reforming its retiree health care system. For the first time in 10 years, Duluth has a reserve fund equal to 10 percent of its annual operating budget.
Ness also touted the city's economy. He said the unemployment rate has mirrored the state's during the recent recession despite a more than 20 percent drop in public sector jobs.
"The reason? Private sector leaders and entrepreneurs are creating jobs, investing aggressively in their Duluth based business, and competing nationally and internationally from Duluth," he said.
Ness predicted a boom in job growth and private investment over the next two years.
"There are dozens of projects in the development and pre-construction stages that will be coming on line in the coming months," he said.
He's made it a goal for Duluth to expand its population to 90,000 residents by the year 2020.