New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell will deliver his State Of The City Address to elected and civic leaders this afternoon at New Bedford Voc Tech.

The annual speech is largely an opportunity for the Chief Executive to review his administration's accomplishments of the last year and layout some of his vision for the year ahead.  Mitchell tells me he plans to make a couple of announcements this afternoon that he believes are newsworthy.  Details, as in most speeches such as this, will likely be scant.

Being that it is an election year and that Mitchell is widely expected to run again, one might expect the speech to focus on the Administration's successes, and in fairness there have been a few.  Overall crime is down again in New Bedford, pretty much across the board.  School graduation rates have improved.  The city was recognized nationally and by Governor Baker for sharp reductions in unemployment.  Several new businesses have opened and that means jobs and more revenue for the city.

New Bedford is on the right track but there is a lot of work to do.  The city faces a serious drug problem.  Crime, while lower, is still too high. Panhandlers and homeless individuals continue to present challenges and the schools, while improving, still have a long way to go.

All in all though, when you look at New Bedford now and compare the city to, say, 20 years ago, the progress is evident.  I think overall, the state of the city is...pretty good.

Listen for live coverage of the Mayor's address at 1pm on WBSM and the call in to comment when it is done on 1420am WBSM.

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.