City to focus on Public Safety, bridges and Northside in 2014

Editor's note: This is the second in a three-part series in which the Aiken Standard asks local elected officials what their goals will be in 2014. Today's article focuses on Aiken City Council.

Aiken City Council members have laid out their goals and what they look forward to discussing in the new year.

Mayor Fred Cavanaugh

“My personal goals for 2014 are support for Public Safety and the safety of our citizens must come first, followed by supporting our employees and volunteers, keeping our tax base as low as possible, managing our finances and other City resources properly, continuing to provide the best possible services to our citizens and also, very important, maintaining the character of our great city.”

Reggie Ebner

“My goals for the next year are to continue to monitor the City budget versus local employment conditions, funding for infrastructure renewal and SCDOT (S.C. Department of Transportation) projects for Silver Bluff, Hitchcock Parkway and the downtown wooden bridges.”

Lessie Price

“Continue to support Public Safety and stabilize our workforce as they work to reduce crime, focus on prevention programs, improving our fire services and provide sufficient support for effective recruitment, retention and training of officers. I also want to encourage the immediate startup of our Northside Neighborhood Revitalization of the Northside Recreation Facility and Seniors and Youth Center.”

Dick Dewar

“My goals for next year are to continue to stay active and involved in City matters. Major concerns are maintenance of our aged infrastructure, returning staff turnover to a much lower number, closely monitoring the two major SCDOT (S.C. Department of Transportation) plans and projects in the City which are the bridges and Hitchcock Parkway widening and continuing to oversee our budgeting process.”

Steve Homoki

“This year should be one of healing and growth. The City of Aiken continues to grow as evidenced by the last Census. As the economy is finally showing improvement, we must build an environment that favors advancement by all our citizens, whatever their chosen endeavor. Everyone should be afforded the opportunities to reach the next rung, and then the next rung and on. My goal for the New Year is to facilitate that. As I have often said, we all share the same goals, so let's work together to bring them to fruition. I hope the current spirit of the season will prevail throughout the whole of 2014.”

Gail Diggs

“Revitalization means to renew, restore and bring activity. The City of Aiken's new approach for Crosland Park – demolishing asbestos filled homes, building town homes in this space, and focusing on one entire street at a time – will hopefully attract potential homeowners to the Northside. I would like to introduce a project called 'Clean up the North.' This project is one that all residents, landlords and homeowners can participate in. It only requires taking a look at our own property and removing all old appliances, furniture, yard debris and junk cars. This will increase our property values and hopefully attract new business and development on the Northside.”

Philip Merry

“Protect Aiken's assets as well as its low cost of living and high standard of living, start a visioning process to set goals and priorities with a 20- to 30-year horizon, undertake a learning initiative to broaden Council's understanding of our challenges, potential solutions/strategies, and to learn from other communities' successes and increase collaboration with the City of North Augusta as well as Aiken County. The success of one contributes to the success of the others.”

Maayan Schechter is the city beat reporter with Aiken Standard. An Atlanta native, she has a mass communications-journalism degree from the University of North Carolina Asheville.

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