BY STACIE LETT CAIN
The Statesville City Council turned to the internet on Monday to keep city wheels rolling during the COVID-19 pandemic and the governor’s stay-at-home order.
“We have been trying very hard to balance the health and safety concerns of this pandemic and the need to keep business of the city moving forward,” Mayor Costi Kutteh explained shortly after calling the council meeting to order. “It may not seem like it but we are pushing the business of the city forward despite the challenges we are currently facing.”
Citizens had the option of emailing or calling in questions or comments for the public comment portion of the meeting with a few choosing to do so.
After approving a short consent agenda, which included the approval of two additional school resource officers for Iredell-Statesville Schools. One of the new officers will work at Statesville High School; the other will split time between N.B. Mills Elementary and East Iredell Elementary.
The council also awarded a work authorization for engineering services for the Safety Enhancements Project at the Statesville Regional Airport, the council moved on to current business.
The council chose to continue two public hearings dealing with annexation and a rezoning request. Those hearings were continued until the May 4 council meeting.
Mayor encourages residents to fill out Census card
Before adjourning the meeting, the mayor asked residents to take this year’s census seriously and asked every citizen to make sure they filled out the self-reporting card.
“Statesville benefits greatly from federal funding that is based on numbers gathered during the census,” Kutteh explained. “We are currently at approximately 48 percent of citizens reporting during this self-reporting period, which is above the 46 percent state average. But we are below the local average, which is 50 percent.”
Each citizen who reports generates an estimated $2,500 in federal funding for the city. An additional 1,000 people would boost the city’s coffers by $2.5 million.
“Please take the time to fill out the card and reach out to your neighbors to encourage them to do the same,” the mayor asked. “It truly does make a difference in what we can do for the city.”
City shuffles some employees to avoid furloughs
Kutteh also explained that city employees you know may be showing up in unexpected places. That’s because of the city’s efforts to relocate employees to avoid furloughing them during the shutdown of some city departments.
“We have been moving employees around to different departments to make sure that departments that are still working and have work to do have staff from other departments that may have had to be furloughed,” he said. “We are doing our best to make sure we are still able to keep all city employees employed during this time.”
The mayor asked the public for suggestions about projects city employees could be working on.
“Let our offices know what you think we can send employees to do that would be a benefit to your neighborhoods. We are interested in hearing what you think needs done that we can still accomplish during this time,” Kutteh said.