New council members receives presentations from department heads

Published 1:32 am Thursday, December 21, 2017


Roland Wyman, the newest member of the Washington City Council, went through a crash course in city programs, services and projects with city department heads Tuesday.

It was a way to bring Wyman up to speed on those matters as the council approaches the budget-preparation season for the 2018-2019 city budget, which begins July 1, 2018. That process starts early next month. Wyman acknowledged the information the department heads shared with him would be extremely helpful in preparing him to make informed decisions regarding those programs, projects and services.

“What it looks like to me — I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m going to basically assimilate what I can in these minutes. I can see what’s going to come out of that is probably the need to follow up with a lot of these people at a later time to get a deeper understanding,” Wyman said. As presentations were made, Wyman took notes, asked questions and indicated there are several city facilities, properties and infrastructure areas he would like to visit and inspect.

Matt Rauschenbach, the city’s chief financial officer explained that the city is setting aside about $170,000 a year in its public-safety reserve fund to help pay for a new police station. That fund has about $1.4 million in it. Two cents of the city’s property tax rate of 52 cents per $100 valuation provides the money for that fund, Rauschenbach told Wyman.

Stacey Drakeford, director of police and fire services for the city, reviewed crime statistics, training of public-safety personnel and community policing efforts for Wyman. Drakeford noted that some personnel are cross-trained so they can respond to various emergency situations.

“This is an excellent overview,” Wyman said at the conclusion of Drakeford’s presentation.

Public Works Director Frankie Buck provided Wyman a breakdown of city’s public-works efforts. Buck acknowledged that much of the city’s infrastructure, especially water and sewer lines and facilities, is aging, with most of it put in place between the 1940s and 1970s.

Wyman inquired into the condition of that infrastructure. Buck said it is not it tip-top shape. “I think we are in decent shape compared to other small towns,” Buck said.

John Rodman, director of community and cultural resources, said the city faces a challenge with derelict boats off the waterfront.

“I didn’t know about that,” Wyman replied.

Jeff Clark, director of the city’s electric system, and Lynn Davis, the city’s tourism director, also made presentations concerning their departments.



About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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