10:40 PM PST on Friday, February 25, 2011

By JOHN F. HILL
The Press-Enterprise

Mayor Randon Lane said Friday that Murrieta has “weathered the storm” of the recession and that public and private investments have the city poised to recover strongly from the recent economic bust.

“I believe we are at the beginning of a decade where our city will become known as an economic force,” Lane said.

Lane delivered his State of the City address on Friday morning to about 500 people at the new Loma Linda University Medical Center-Murrieta. He pointed to the new hospital, a partnership between some local doctors and Loma Linda University, as an example of the private investment that is beginning to pick up in Murrieta.

Murrieta, which has seen sky-high foreclosure rates and plummeting home prices in the past several years, is seeing retail sales start to grow. However, experts say the city’s property values will take years to recover.

Declining tax revenues forced Murrieta to make budget cuts last year, laying off 15 full-time workers, furloughing other employees and closing City Hall on Fridays.

Last year, then-Mayor Kelly Bennett did not give a State of the City address. The speech was cut from the budget.

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