Statesville Connects, which provides relief to Statesville homeowners threatened with utility cutoffs, has just surpassed its 400th assistance recipient.
Begun in 2007, the program, administered jointly by the city and the Salvation Army, provides money to the needy from voluntary customer donations.
“Four hundred is an impressive number and we are very grateful to those who give,” said Finance Director Lisa Salmon at the city council’s Nov. 17 meeting. “However, we can have as many as 400 customers subject to disconnect each month so there is a very real need for this program to continue to grow.”
Under the program, the city collects voluntary donations from utility customers through their monthly utility payments. In addition, the city also accepts single or one-time contributions from customers and businesses. As the funds accumulate, the city notifies Salvation Army, which screens and approves Statesville utility customers for assistance. The average payment is $85.
Mayor Costi Kutteh said he’s had an opportunity to review some of the situations faced by the city’s utility customers. “Their stories are heartwarming. It’s a great example of neighbors helping neighbors.”
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. To apply for assistance, utility customers should contact the Salvation Army at 704-872-5623.
In other action at the Nov. 17 meeting the council:
• Approved an economic incentive for Heung IL USA, an electronics components supplier on Glenway Drive. The company is launching a $2.3 million expansion that will create 30 full-time jobs with average salaries of more than $18 per hour. The city’s incentive will cost $31,451, over a five-year period, based on the $2.3 million investment.
• Appointed two residents to serve on the city’s Historic Preservation Commission. Steven Bell was appointed to fill a term ending in January 2015; Ginny Ton was appointed to fill a term ending in January 2017.
• Received an upbeat report on the city’s finances. In the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, Potter & Co. of Mooresville, an independent auditing firm, issued an unqualified opinion. This means the city’s financial statements are free from material misstatements and are presented fairly in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
• Authorized Parrish and Partners, of Columbia, to begin the planning and design of a runway-grooving project at Statesville Regional Airport. The engineering/design phase of the project is being funded from leftover federal and state grant funds of $317,000, previously issued for improvements at the airport.