Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh views 2012 as a year of "efficient" government in the city but with some pain due to the loss of key officials through an early retirement incentive.
In his annual Year in Review address delivered at the City Council’s Dec. 17 meeting, Kutteh also recognized the city workforce for its contributions.
"I cannot thank our employees enough for always stepping up, looking for the one way to say yes rather than the 99 ways to say no," Kutteh said. "Our only reward to the employees has been to have neither furloughs nor involuntary reductions in force. I realize many days this is not enough."
The city did invoke a voluntary early retirement program during the year which saved the taxpayers $1 million. "Our retirement program has worked from a financial perspective. However, we lost many experienced employees, including our long-time director of electric utilities and our city manager."
Kutteh views the completion of the City Hall renovation and downtown Streetscape projects as two major accomplishments during 2012. "As more folks have the opportunity to visit City Hall, they will appreciate the wisdom of Council’s decision to restore it beyond its original magnificence."
Looking ahead, Kutteh expects the city to complete the purchase of property on the south end of the city next year so that construction on phase II of the Streetscape project can begin. “We have asked our consultants to give us a simple view of the way Shelton Avenue might look in the future, so as development continues, we might incorporate that look."
Kutteh also asked residents for patience in 2013 as the massive Interstate 40/Interstate 77 reconstruction project being undertaken by the DOT moves into high gear.
Also at the Dec. 17 meeting, Finance Director Lisa Salmon announced that Statesville Connects, a program designed to provide relief to Statesville homeowners threatened with utility cut-offs has just surpassed the $26,000 mark in donations since its inception in 2007. Administered jointly by the city and the Salvation Army, the program has helped more than 300 families who were in danger of losing utility service.
Under the program, the city collects voluntary donations from utility customers through their monthly utility payments. As the funds accumulate, the city notifies the Salvation Army, which screens and approves Statesville utility customers for assistance. As of December, there were approximately 85 utility customers making regular monthly contributions into the program. Those contributions amounted to more than $4,000 during the past year.
Freelance writer Dave Vieser writes about Statesville and Troutman for Lake Norman News. Have a story idea for Dave? Email him at email@example.com.
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