In a public ceremony held at the Rochester Opera House, on Tuesday, January 3rd, the City of Rochester celebrated the inauguration of the Mayor, City Council, School Board, Police Commission, and Election Officials.
The event featured a Presentation of the Colors by Spaulding ROTC, the singing of the National Anthem by Alexis Voce, an opening prayer by Ed Cilley, Chaplain for the Rochester Police Department, and a reading of two original poems by Ed Pacht, Rochester’s Poet Laurette. Councilor Don Hamann (Ward 5, Seat B) was unanimously chosen to serve as Deputy Mayor.
During his inaugural address, Mayor Paul Callaghan reflected on the previous term and detailed the challenges still facing Rochester residents and business owners, expressing “I want to thank our past City Council for its commitment to Rochester. Together, we focused our efforts on revitalizing our downtown, creating a positive and thriving environment for good jobs for our hard-working residents, being fiscally responsible with our tax dollars, and keeping our city safe.”
“The last 2 budgets were a combined $7.5 million under the tax cap, violent crime has been reduced by 25%, and the median income in Rochester has increased significantly to more than $75k,” said Callaghan. “I’m proud that [City Council] expanded the eligibility for our seniors, veterans, and disabled residents to receive a tax break. We cut the city and school tax rate by 41 cents this year. Even though inflation has risen to double digits during our term, our budget this year increased by less than 2%. That increase was a result of an increase in county and state education taxes — which was not under the control of the City Council.”
“Leadership is not about popularity — it’s about doing the right thing,” said Callaghan. “My vision for Rochester involves all of you. What happens from this day forward is something we will shape together.”
Callaghan encouraged newly elected officials to continue to empower the City’s Economic Development team, support local businesses, stand with first responders, support teachers and schools, and be good stewards of fiscal resources.
He also highlighted some of the issues he believes the next City Council should focus on, including affordable housing, recruiting quality developers, examining current zoning ordinances, addressing childcare needs, and partnering with regional and state leadership to address issues affecting Rochester residents and business owners.
Callaghan encouraged newly elected officials to work together, stating “We’re one team, we must be committed to that leadership. I look forward to all the questions and respectful debates that will take place in our Council Chambers over the next two years.”
“For those who have gotten to know me, my leadership style is one to rise and meet the moment with a steady hand and not shy away from doing big things or taking on difficult problems,” said Callaghan. “Leadership is not about popularity — it’s about doing the right thing.”
Callaghan concluded by stating, “This new generation of thoughtful, conscientious leaders will help make this City a better place for decades to come” and “What happens from this day forward is something we will shape together.”