ST. PETERSBURG — The new year comes with a new mayor for the residents of this city.
Mayor Bill Foster was sworn in as the city's 53rd leader Saturday. He is the city's third strong mayor and previously held a nine-year post on the City Council, representing a district that included Shore Acres.
The longtime lawyer takes office Monday with an overwhelming to-do list. As a mayoral candidate, Foster released his "Foster Forty," an ambitious outline of his vision for the city. He also made other promises in various media interviews and campaign stops.
Here's a list of promises you can clip and save to see whether Foster keeps all the pledges he made to voters:
Increase enforcement of the city's panhandling laws.
Create a task force to review the Mahaffey Theater's management agreement and help broaden the public downtown venue's reach.
Host a Mayor's Night Out eight times a year to give residents face time with the mayor.
Consolidate city departments. He has already announced plans to merge the city's park and recreation departments, and the city's development services and economic development departments.
Host a public safety retreat to discuss best policing methods. Foster wants to relax the city's no-chase policy, giving officers more freedom to decide which criminals to chase. Police Chief Chuck Harmon does not.
Return to the community policing model where officers are assigned to certain neighborhoods.
Place a greater police focus on smaller crimes to prevent bigger ones.
Use city employees as a crime watch.
Install security cameras in "hot spots."
Require police to have a public presence along streets in commercial corridors.
Establish a downtown police substation.
Host volunteer cleanup efforts throughout the city.
Meet regularly with neighborhood leaders.
Hold semiannual business summits.
Modify the city's procurement policy to favor St. Petersburg businesses.
Change the budget process to a service-level system that requires all city employees to justify expenses.
Host budget summits to gauge public sentiment.
Establish a volunteer and intern coordinator to get students and residents more involved with City Hall.
Create a volunteer support group to help firefighters reach out to the community.
Establish an annual education fair to help students prepare for post-graduate careers or college.
Create a tutorial program for city residents staffed by city employees and volunteers.
Recruit volunteers to spend time in schools.
Work with private businesses to establish a social destination for teenagers.
Establish a new shopping district along Central Avenue from 16th Street to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street called "the Edge."
Host a monthly "breakfast with the mayor" event for the public.
Attract international baseball teams to Al Lang Field.
Create an amnesty program for first-time parking violators and reduce meter enforcement hours.
Meet with the Tampa Bay Rays at the appropriate time to discuss a new stadium.
Consider council ordinances that effectively would stick any future polluter with the cleanup bill.
Explore extending domestic partner benefits for all city employees.
Implement curbside recycling if the county pays for the program.
Create a separate mayor's action line solely for businesses.
Allow for a binding voter referendum on the Tampa Bay Rays' proposed new stadium.
Expand the city's tree-planting initiative.
Expand the reclaimed water system.
Help create a new convention center.
Change the policy on tickets to the city's Tampa Bay Rays suite and allow local nonprofit groups to use the room instead of City Council members and city staff members.
Initiate the Manhattan Casino building as the heart of a new music district in Midtown.