WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - At City Hall, the beginning of a new year marks the annual State of the City address from the mayor. In his address, Mayor Saffo took time to analyze last year, examining the highs and lows, before he focused the rest of his speech on the year to come and what the future holds for the city of Wilmington.
Mayor Saffo touched on several issues, everything from the city's economic development future to crime rates to the city's budget. To read the complete transcript of the address click here.
This year's address comes as the city is currently preparing to develop its budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Mayor Saffo pointed out one of the major projects the city is working on is the Water Street parking deck. The city hopes to demolish the aging structure at some point to build a green space downtown in addition to more residential and commercial structures.
Another large project is the Riverfront Park revitalization project. The city plans to remove the wooden walkway and replace it with a new trees, benches, and contemporary bathrooms.
In his address, Saffo also mentioned some of the city's other major goals, including securing a Convention Center hotel. Earlier this month, the City of Wilmington agreed to an extension with hotel developer Harmony Hospitality in order to give them more time to nail down details of the project.
Saffo also reminded citizens of the city's five-year plan to repair city roads.
"This city council is committed to improving infrastructure throughout our entire city," said Mayor Saffo.
This year, the city will continue work on improvements to the storm water system to reduce flooding. Saffo says the city will also continue work on Park Avenue, Clear Run Drive, and 17th Street.
Saffo says the city currently has a balance of $86 million in the general fund budget, "tucked away for a rainy day, or in our case, a hurricane."
In total, the speech lasted about half an hour, but there were a few things that some hoped the Mayor would address more.
"I liked what he said about consolidation," said County Commission Chairman Woody White. "When it comes to parks, fire, police, and rescue, the city and the county need to work together to come up with the best ways to save money."
2013 is an election year for the mayor. When asked if he plans to run for re-election, Saffo says he will consider that over the next few months with his family.
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