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Saffo gives State of City address

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WILMINGTON -- Mayor Bill Saffo delivered his State of the City address last night. In it he laid out the city's successes and challenges. Saffo addressed many key issues, ranging from sewer improvements to growth management. And he says Wilmington is moving in the right direction. A large crowd gathered in city hall as Mayor Saffo addressed Wilmington's well-being. "I want to talk about the progress and challenges we've made," Saffo said. One major improvement is the north east sewer pipeline. Saffo says that majority of the repairs are done. The city spent $6 million on repairs and will continue to spend $40 million on upkeep. Saffo thanked citizens for conserving more water. He says we are saving one million gallons a month. Growth will continue with more developments popping up like the Wilmington convention center, scheduled to be complete in early 2010. To offset the added traffic WAVE Transit will expand its routes and traffic lights will be reconfigured Saffo said, "This will mean less waiting at stop lights and better synchronization at stop lights. We're spending $9 million to do it, the last time this was done was in the early 1990s." The city faces a pressing financial challenge due to a revenue calculation error. The budget is $4 million short. "We're going to look to control expenses, use reserves, this error resulted in us using our intended revenue neutral tax some two and half cents less than what it should have been," Saffo said. Even with the budget challenge Saffo is optimistic the city of Wilmington is on the right track. Mayor Saffo says the city will continue its focus and attention on solving the budget deficit. Even with the challenge, he still believes this is a great time to live in Wilmington. View the agenda here.
Cape Fear 2020: What are your concerns about the path of progress in our area? Leave a comment here.

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State of the CIty Address

I think the Mayor did a fine job of covering all the issues facing the city. It was good to hear some of the positive accomplishments of our community---better sewer management, drainage improvements, new sidewalk construction near the hospital, reseting the stoplights, more parks, and other beautification projects, such as riverwalk and underground utilities downtown, and more landscaping throughout the area. Mayor Saffo is a charismatic leader who takes his job seriously. I do believe he puts a great deal of time and effort into his duties. The one issue that I feel is a blight to this current city council is the approval of the Downtown Convention Center. This is a project that will cost the taxpayers untold millions of dollars. To begin, the riverfront land has increased in value maybe four times since the the city purchased it. Sell the land to private enterprise, and put the millions back INTO the tax coffers. Let private enterprise take over the expense and trouble of developing the property. Moreover, as the convention center, it will be off the tax books. As private property, the city collects a huge property tax. We all know convention centers lose money everywhere in the US. Will not other venues, such as another PPD, or upscale residences, bring more of what we want to our charming, historic district? Taxpayers, let's get out of the convention center business, and back to the business at hand for our city....namely providing necessary services, protecting our community, and saving the taxpayer money!

Nice to know what lies ahead

I have to share my thanks for Mr. Saffo for giving the residents of Wilmington an idea for what we have in store for us in the near future. I really wanted to hear more about the plans and problems that may of may not face the convention center. Also what impact what the UNCW college meeting center might have on the whole project. At least UNCW can get a hotel chain to sign on and stay in the running for their project. How are they going to cut back? Are they going to reduce city services or the size of the government top-heavy system that we have in the city? Are the citizens that already pay the bills going to have to chunk up some more change? It's no secret that this shortfall has been known about for awhile, even before Saffo got elected and used the skewed numbers for campaign slogans and the like. Isn't it about time for some REAL answers and not projected ideas? Also very sorry that Mr. Saffo has a speech impediment. That at least keep the mood light for those of us sitting around at the speech yesterday.

Good Man

To the people of Wilmington, You have a great Mayor

Mayor Saffo

Guest 5364, could you please be more specific. In what way is he great, not to say that he's not great As with most leaders, I approve and support some agendas, but not all. How is the Mayor's support of a "Meeting Center" (exactly, what is it called now?) great? Maybe it is. But just saying that it will improve the city's economy, (when it will NEVER make money, and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars) is more of a slogan than a fact.