Local Politics

Meeker: 'Time for community to move forward'

Posted March 14, 2011

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— Mayor Charles Meeker said Raleigh needs to regain momentum after the nationwide recession, and he said sustainability efforts and plans to improve transportation and affordable housing are two steps in that direction.

Raleigh has trimmed its payroll by about 200 people in the past two years and has deferred some infrastructure projects to balance its budget without raising taxes, Meeker said Monday during his annual State of the City address.

Now, the recession appears to be over as local unemployment levels are starting to decline and spending by Raleigh residents is picking up, he said.

"But the recession is really not over in terms of our attitude and our will to move on," he said. "For so many reasons, it is time for our community to start moving forward. It is time to let our dreams be big. It is time to create a world-class city of which we can all be proud."

Raleigh's effort to become a more sustainable city is attracting visitors and conventions, the mayor said. He cited the city's 4-year-old program to install LED lighting, which saves more than $200,000 in annual energy costs, as well as programs to replace city vehicles with hybrids and all-electric cars, install solar arrays to generate electricity, including one planned atop the downtown convention center, and design more energy-efficient city buildings.

"Raleigh really has changed. The (city) government has become a leader in sustainability," Meeker said. "Sustainability is key for us and something that really distinguishes this city."

The mayor also said that the City Council is considering having the city fund sidewalks and no longer make homeowners pay for new sidewalks and subsequent repairs. The effort is part of a $25 million to $35 million bond issue focusing on "people-friendly projects" slated for the November ballot, he said.

"I'm hoping to move in that direction so we can get sidewalks into our transportation network so people can walk or ride bikes," he said.

Other projects that would be included in the bond issue are greenways and bike lanes.

The council also is considering a $15 million bond issue for affordable housing. Meeker said there are about 7,000 affordable residences in the city but about twice as many are needed.

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  • blackdog Mar 15, 2011

    The right wing wants to believe THEY are the conservative side. Yet, they don't want to spend a nickle to save a dime. They say, save the nickle, until you have another one. By that time, the object, which was originally costing a dime, is NOW, twenty cents. Have you ever known the price of ANYTHING to decrease in price over the years ? The other day, I saw two tomatoes in the store, for $5 !!!

  • Bill Brasky Mar 15, 2011

    "When I read that, I see good an bad; why all the hate? We're investing in Raleigh to make it a great city. It's certainly fair to argue that this policy or that policy doesn't accomplish that, but I feel like many will hate Meeker no matter what, simply because he plays on the Democrat's team."

    I agree. Raleigh is one of the fastest growing cities in the US right now, and quickly outgrowing its infastructure. Why not build it now, and not be faced with safety problems and limitations in the future.

  • ykm Mar 15, 2011

    The problem I have with politicians like Meeker is they love to build for today and pass the bill on to a future population. If you want bike paths and green ways or what ever pay for it today. Save a little money and pay the bill, don't pass it on to some one else.

  • pclong2214 Mar 15, 2011

    does this mean raleigh needs a new mayor?

  • HeadPro Mar 15, 2011

    He wants to raise the sales tax again.
    Ohprah

    Let him... I'll just buy my stuff off line and won't spend any money in wake county...

  • HeadPro Mar 15, 2011

    Hmmm...save $200,000 with LED stop lights and then buy electric cars??? I am not a mathmetician but I can see this does not balance!!
    goncampn2

    Typical politician's reasoning... "If I save $200.000.00 here... I can spend $250.000.00 over there and get more bang for the buck."

    Obviously, there are a couple things wrong with that statement, but it is true of our politicians....

  • Ohprah Mar 15, 2011

    Meeker is a bad mayor, period.
    This is not hate. This has nothing to do with party affiliation.
    This is just a fact.

  • HeadPro Mar 15, 2011

    Past time for Meeker and his cronies to get voted out...

  • goncampn2 Mar 15, 2011

    Hmmm...save $200,000 with LED stop lights and then buy electric cars??? I am not a mathmetician but I can see this does not balance!!

  • goncampn2 Mar 15, 2011

    Why do the people of Raleigh keep voting this CLOWN back into office???

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