Statesville selects Michael Johnson as mayor pro tem
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Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013

Statesville selects Michael Johnson as mayor pro tem

After sounding the gavel at the start of his third term as Statesville mayor, Costi Kutteh announced that the first order of business at the city council’s Dec. 2 meeting would be selection of mayor pro tem.

The position is traditionally held by an elected official familiar with public meetings and who can quickly step in and temporarily act as mayor.

Without debate, the previous mayor pro tem, Councilman Michael Johnson, was quickly selected to serve another two year term, ending in December 2015. The vote was 6-2, with two councilmen voting for Councilman Jap Johnson (no relation).

Michael Johnson, 62, a development company owner, has been on the city council since 2003.

“Statesville is a community blessed with wonderful people and great opportunity,” Johnson said. “It has been and will continue to be my honor to serve the citizens of our city as mayor pro tem.”

Although occasions of mayor pro tem acting as mayor are usually infrequent and brief, there have been some exceptions. For example, in neighboring Troutman, former Mayor Pro Tem Mike Spath functioned as the town’s mayor for four months in 2012 while Mayor Elbert Richardson was ill.

Utility assistance fund

In other news, a program designed to provide relief to city homeowners threatened with utility cut-offs has just surpassed the $30,000 mark in donations. Administered jointly by the city and the Salvation Army, the program, called Statesville Connects, has assisted 351 utility customers since 2007 who were in danger of losing utility service.

“On average, the assistance has been about $85 for each customer in need,” said the city’s finance director, Lisa Salmon. “When you consider that we have about 400 customers subject to disconnect each month, there is a very real need for this program. Most of the donations come from individual residential customers, but businesses can also participate.”

Under the program, the city collects monthly voluntary donations from utility customers through their payments or as a single/one-time contribution. As the money accumulates, the city notifies the Salvation Army, which screens and approves Statesville utility customers for assistance.

By working with the Salvation Army, the city is assured that those who qualify are in legitimate need, often in the midst of a personal crisis, and have not received similar assistance during the past 12 months.

The donations are tax-deductible.

Residents who wish to donate can simply check a box on their bill, and the indicated amount will automatically be added each month. Separate checks are also accepted.

Those wishing to apply for assistance should call the Salvation Army at 704-872-5623.

Dave Vieser is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Dave? Email him at davidvieser@gmail.com.

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