GREENVILLE, NC - New business, along with the expansion of existing businesses, and population growth are just some of the points touched on by City of Greenville Mayor P.J. Connelly during the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce's Power Luncheon on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at the Hilton Greenville.
Mayor Connelly informed the nearly 100 attendees that times are good right now in Greenville as city staff continues its efforts on solidifying Greenville as the economic, medical, educational, and cultural hub of eastern North Carolina. "We have a strong economy, a great workforce, a sound infrastructure, and a safe community," said Connelly. "Greenville will continue to be a vibrant and great place to live."
Connelly noted that the city is on the verge of passing its city operating budget for the next fiscal year and the budget invests significantly in the priorities of the city council and ensures that Greenville is a high-performing city. He outlined some of the highlights of the operating budget, which includes $2.5 million for street improvements; a 400-percent increase in such funding since 2014. Connelly stated that, within the last year, the city resurfaced over 27 miles of streets and filled over 1,000 pot holes. "We must continue to make these kinds of investments in our infrastructure," Connelly said. The city is also spending an additional $250 thousand dollars on public safety, including additional street lighting, street cameras, and other pedestrian enhancements. "Public safety is and always will be the number one priority with our city," said Connelly.
The operating budget also includes additional staff and equipment for the city's stormwater utility fund, which will allow for an enhanced preventative maintenance program and will be the first step in the implementation of the watershed master plan. The budget also focuses heavily on economic development by investing additional money in commercial and industrial site development, job creation grants, small business competition grants, workforce training, and the new public-private economic development alliance. Connelly noted that the budget is poised for another successful year in Greenville will be carried out while maintaining the city's current tax rate. "You will not see taxes go up in the City of Greenville," Connelly said.
Connelly also recognized the partnerships throughout the community that make Greenville thrive. The city hopes to continue to grow these partnerships as it recognizes that more can be achieved by working together. One example Mayor Connelly highlighted, in regard to partnerships, included the Greenville Eastern North Carolina Regional Alliance, a public-private economic development organization that will serve the Greenville-Pitt County area. The City of Greenville, Greenville Utilities Commission, and other towns and businesses throughout Pitt County have joined in the city's efforts in forming this alliance, which will boost economic development by marketing the region, supporting new and existing businesses, developing community assets, maximizing investment opportunities, and enhancing the private and public sectors in collaborative economic development programs. This approach allows more coordination and communication among partners and the ability to leverage all resources to ensure the entire region is appropriately served.
To ensure that Greenville has a skilled workforce that is ready for jobs that relocate to the area, the city wants to continue to invest in its people. The city is maintaining its partnership with Pitt Community College (PCC) and its school of continuing education during the next fiscal year. The city's annual contribution to PCC helps provide financial assistance to participants in PCC's workforce development program. Additional partnerships that Mayor Connelly highlighted during the luncheon included the Greenville Area Pitch Competition and Grow Local campaign.
The Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce's monthly Power Luncheon Series is presented by Ward and Smith, P.A. Gold Sponsors include: ECS Southeast, LLP, Hill, Chesson & Woody (A Gallagher Company), Igoe Creative, MHAworks, and Raymond James. Silver Sponsors include: Executive Personnel Group, The Daily Reflector and Vidant Medical Center.