Local mayors gain state group posts

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 4, 2011

Salisbury Mayor Susan Kluttz was re-elected vice chairwoman of the at-large Executive Committee of the N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition during its 2011 Winter Meeting in Greensboro.
The coalition, made up of the mayors of the state’s 27 largest cities, came together Feb. 24 and 25 to elect leadership and work on policy focus areas for 2011-12. The coalition was joined by Gov. Beverly Perdue, U.S Sen. Kay Hagan, Speaker of the House Thom Tillis, and President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, who spoke at various times on the state and federal budget outlook and its effect on cities.
In addition to Kluttz, the group re-elected Durham Mayor Bill Bell, chairman; Greensboro Mayor Bill Knight, treasurer; and Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines, past chair. They also elected other at-large Executive Committee members Concord Mayor Scott Padgett, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo, High Point Mayor Becky Smothers and Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly.
The coalition recommitted to its advocacy agenda, which states it will:
• Support additional revenues for the Mobility Fund, set asides within the fund for expanding Powell Bill and Interstate Maintenance, and defend against statutory changes to the formula;
• Defend existing statutory roadway responsibilities between the state and local government;
• Defend against attempts to shift state responsibilities to local governments and protect state collected local revenues;
• Support the needs of the justice system;
• Support efforts to reduce gang violence;
• Support the continued state appropriations for life sciences;
• Preserve local government ability to engage and lead in communication public enterprises; and
• Maintain a cost effective way to manage growth, provide services and ensure all who benefit from the heart of their community also share in the cost.
The members of the coalition also stated their support of:
• Legislation to extend from 2012 to 2014 the implementation requirements for the Jordan Lake wastewater rules, with no other changes in the legislation;
• Asking President Obama to consider North Carolina’s Richmond-Petersburg-Raleigh portion of the South East High Speed Rail Corridor which extends south from Washington D.C. to Richmond, Hampton Roads, Raleigh, Charlotte, and cities throughout the southeast when reallocating any high speed rail funds;
• Preserving local control over new billboards and billboard conversions; and
• Protecting North Carolina’s current film incentives.
The coalition also expressed its opposition to any unnecessary cuts to the University of North Carolina and N.C. Community College systems by the General Assembly.