Mayor feels ‘let down’ after developer chooses Duke Energy for utility services
BY STACIE LETT CAIN
Although Mayor Costi Kutteh welcomed the new Fairfield Inn & Suites to the City of Statesville on Monday, he expressed some disappointment with the developer’s decision to have Duke Energy provide utility service instead of the City of Statesville.
“We were under the impression that they would use our utility service and they have chosen not to,” the mayor explained during Monday’s council meeting. “That would have provided a future income to the city and despite this being part of our initial discussions, they have chosen to use Duke Energy instead. I am honestly feeling very let down, and I will make sure I make them aware of that the next time I see them.”
The City Council, despite the developer’s decision, voted unanimously to allow the hotel property at 1243 Tonewood Street to be annexed into the city limits at Monday night’s meeting.
“Despite their choice, we welcome them to our community,” Kutteh added.
♦ In other business, a site plan was also on the agenda for the new Harbor Freight retail store that is being built on the property located at 303-313 Turnersburg Highway just outside of the Lowe’s retail complex. Although the public hearing was opened, any commentary on this site plan was postponed to the August 3 council meeting due to some changes in the site plan.
♦ The City Council also approved a site plan for the Georgetown Place Subdivision located on eight acres adjacent to 163 James Farm Road. The development, which will contain 47 duplex units, with each unit being for sale, was approved unanimously contingent upon the developers providing a 15-foot buffer between the development and Lot 5 of the adjacent residential property as well as stormwater plans, the name of the roadway being decided and the inclusion of sidewalks, all of which was recommended by the Technical Review Committee.
♦ The Council also voted unanimously to change the name of the City Collections division to the City Customer Service Division with the goal of providing an exceptional customer service experience, not just being seen as a punitive agency to those it encounters. In addition, Chris Tucker, the city’s finance director, also asked that the council consider permanently abolishing face-to-face transactions for payment of utilities or other fees, making the drive-thru and internet options being the only options for the city.
“We want to provide an exceptional customer service experience, but under the current circumstances we want to make that as safe as possible for both our customers and our employees,” Tucker said. “Our citizens should be commended on how they have reacted to this current pandemic and we have received no complaints as to how we have been dealing with this so far.”
Customers setting up new service would be able to meet with Customer Services by appointment only or through the drive-thru. With the current uncertainties in how the City will be reopening as a part of the Phase 3, Council member William Morgan asked that the decision be made at the August 17 meeting, after Gov. Roy Cooper’s announces the next step of the reopening.
♦ The council also approved a $644,493.67 contract with J.D. Goodrum Company Inc. for the installation of new Instrument Landing System electronic components at the Statesville Regional Airport.
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for August 3 at 7 p.m.