WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- With a new year just beginning, that means the annual State of the City address in Wilmington. Mayor Saffo took the time to reflect on last year, examining the issues and high points, while also looking forward to this year and what the future months will bring. He touched on several aspects from a controversial budget plan to crime rates.
“Despite our financial challenges and a reduced workforce, the city was able to complete a number of projects and continue to provide a level of service that you our citizens have come to expect,” said Mayor Saffo.
“I think anybody who listened to the speech would have to believe that our city is doing well and it's in good hands,” said Jim Quinn, a former Wilmington City Councilman.
“He touched on a lot of different sections and in all of them, he was able to quote to a positive achievement in all of the areas,” said Owen Wexler, who lives in Wilmington.
Saffo made sure to look at the favorable things, like a 30 percent drop in major downtown crimes and several infrastructure improvement projects, talk of this coming year's budget was not so chipper.
“We know the revaluation of property throughout New Hanover County will have a significant impact on the city's budget and we will face difficult choices as we set next year's budget,” said Saffo.
“I remember how tough it is and I don't envy them but we've got a good council and I think they're going to do a good job for us,” said Quinn.
Saffo says the new budget will be developed using an updated strategic plan.
Though the speech lasted about half an hour, there were a few things that some hope to be addressed this year that Saffo did not mention in his speech.
“We want to see the convention center get a new hotel,” said Quinn. “I wish he had been able to announce that that had happened. I think that would be a good thing.”
“One of the keys to having a stronger city would be if we were able to have less friction between the city and county government and they were able to work a little closer together,” said Wexler.
Saffo aslo touched on the film industry in Wilmington and how Iron Man 3 will be a huge economic boost for our region, bringing more jobs and more business.