(Editor’s Note: 2012 was a busy year for the City of Union and Mayor Harold Thompson has issued a State of the City report reviewing the achievements of that year and looking forward to the year ahead. Given the importance of the issues addressed in this report The Union Daily Times is running the mayor’s report on the front page of today’s edition.)
First of all let me just say I am extremely honored to have been selected mayor of the City of Union again for the next four years and to accept the responsibilities that your trust has entitled me to. Let me assure you that in my activities I will be guarded by no other principals than those outlined in our City of Union mission’s statement…Accountability, honesty, respect and teamwork.
The city has fully supported economic development and will continue to do so in the future. We have joined the development board and the county in its commitment to bring good paying jobs to Union. We’re improving our infrastructure giving cost saving incentives in water, sewer services that are consistent and within the confines of state and federal law and our local ordinances.
The city over the last few years has received $4.7 million dollars in grants for sewer upgrades, an energy grant and gas line extensions into Spartanburg County. The city also added 49 West Apartments to its sewer system with a $200,000 grant. Over $2 million dollars of grant monies received so far have gone to local contractors. We are also gearing up for the bid process for a $500,000 Village Renaissance Neighborhood Improvement Grant in the Union Mill Village.
The City of Union participated in three enterprise programs through the National League of Cities: the prescription drug program, the sewer line warranty and the water line program. These programs are on a voluntary basis.
If we plan on being a progressive community we must enforce our building codes. They are designed to help protect life, health and property of all the citizens of Union from the hazards of faulty design, unsafe, unsound and unhealthy structures and conditions. It reduces the chances of costly litigation and property disputes, it lowers insurance rates and it fulfills prerequisites for federal grants. And most importantly it saves lives. I have advised our code enforcers and inspectors to try to help wherever possible as long as it’s within the confines of the law and no special treatment.
On the financial end of things, we took advantage of the opportunity to refinance some of our outstanding bonds by taking advantage of low interest rates. By doing this, the city will realize net value savings of $726,000 over the life of the bonds and a release of $983,000 in debt service. A total of $1.7 million. Inside of this process we closed the Beltline Pump Station and the Beltline Wastewater Treatment Plant saving approximately $60,000 a year in operations and maintenance. Closing the Meng Creek facility generates a savings of approximately $250,000 a year and replacing headworks, aeration equipment and replacing the Coleman Street, Lukesville and Ottaray pump stations.
We remain very mindful of the budgetary and fiscal challenges our city faces. We understand that the services we provide cost money to maintain, but we insist that the money we collect from our citizens through taxes and services provided, be spent in an honest and efficient manner. As we continue to work together for growth and development, the challenge of revenue generation can be met and there is no reason why the City of Union should not continue to be fiscally healthy.