Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait called the city “healthy” and “happening” in his annual State of the City address and said he would continue to focus on building stronger neighborhoods and cutting regulatory red tape for businesses.

“My goal as mayor is to get people to look first to each other and not government when there is a problem to solve,” Tait said in his address at City National Grove of Anaheim.

To accomplish that goal, Tait last year headed a community outreach campaign called “Hi Neighbor,” which called on residents and businesses to get to know their neighbors. Tait also announced “Next Door Anaheim,” a kind of Facebook networking website exclusively for neighborhoods.

Tait placed the blame for the city’s budget hardships on rising employee pension costs. While revenues for the city’s $226-million budget have flowed at relatively the same rate in recent years, the cost per employee has risen sharply, according to a graph Tait showed to attendees.

The City Council passed a balanced budget this fiscal year by making nearly $15 million in cuts. “Our city still faces long-term fiscal challenges,” Tait said.

Tait also made it clear that bringing a professional basketball team to the city is one of his primary goals as mayor.

The city came close last year, pledging to help billionaire Henry Samuelli secure $75 million in bonds so he could bring the NBA’s Sacramento Kings to the Honda Center. The Kings ultimately decided to stay in Sacramento for at least another year.

“A county of 3 million people can easily support an NBA franchise,” Tait said.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait blamed Anaheim employees for the city’s budget problems. That was in incorrect characterization made by an editor. We regret the error.


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