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My First 100 Days

by Anthony Foxx

April 9,2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 marked my 100th day since taking the oath of office as Mayor of Charlotte. I took that oath knowing that our local economic challenges, like our nation’s, would require hard work, collaboration and innovation to overcome. I do not have to remind you of the hard facts that the Charlotte region and North Carolina as a state have greater unemployment than the national average. Recovery will only be real when our community gets back to work.

After taking many hours and days to assess our challenges and opportunities, I am even more convinced today that Charlotte will become a model for a recovering nation. In many ways, we already are – just look at what has been accomplished in these 100 days:

     · We have announced 3000 new jobs through re-locations and expansions, including Electrolux, Zenta, Husqvarna, Celgard and Siemens. These companies represent the diverse economy we are working to build: manufacturing, financial services and energy. I can think of no other city in the country with such a series of positive job announcements, a credit to the strong public-private partnerships at the state, county and city levels.

     · The City, working with Mecklenburg County, through our Workforce Development Board, Central Piedmont Community College and JobLink Centers is working to retrain and re-tool our residents for the jobs of the future, including in energy, biotechnology and healthcare.

     · We have opened a third parallel runway at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, saving our carriers an estimated $65 million annually in costs due to delays.

     · Through the work of previous City Councils, our city is opening new arts facilities and drawing visitors to Charlotte. Additionally, in May, we will open the NASCAR Hall of Fame. These facilities, coupled with the existing amenities in our center city, will continue to make Charlotte a destination for visitors and residents of our greater region.

     · An innovative design-build financing model to complete I-485 has been pushed through by Governor Beverly Perdue, which will get the loop closed before construction had previously been set to start.

     · We are seeing 30 year lows in crime, thanks to increased police staffing provided by the Charlotte City Council and amplified by federal COPS grants as well as a police department that is working harder than ever to target crime at the neighborhood level.

     · The City Council has approved a single stream recycling program that will not only increase recycling activity but will also save our taxpayers an estimated $43 million over ten years.

     · Through a provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), $500 million is being invested in high speed rail in North Carolina, more than $120 million of which will be invested in the Charlotte area. By 2017, there will be four daily trains running between Charlotte and Raleigh at just over two hours. Literally and figuratively, we are making good on our promise to improve the connection between Charlotte and Raleigh.

As our nation and city work to heal from a devastating economic downturn, I remain convinced that our hard work, collaborative public-private spirit and capacity to innovate will make Charlotte a national example of recovery. I will continue to work to make our city strong, vibrant, connected and sustainable.

That’s why shortly after taking the oath of office, I have already made good on several promises:

     · I signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Climate Change Agreement, placing Charlotte among the 1000 cities across this nation to stand up for reducing our carbon foot print.

     · Recognizing that the “new normal” state of our national economy, with the support of the Charlotte City Council, I formed an Efficient and Effective Government Task Force led by former City Council member Cyndee Patterson. This group will help us consider long-term structural changes to city government that will reduce cost and improve our effectiveness in delivering city services. They will report by to the City Council next November.

     · Recognizing that small business is such a vital part of the answer to growing jobs, we are working hard to help:

          o With the City Council’s support, I formed a Small Business Opportunity Task Force. This task force is looking at city procurement policies to determine how we can better help area small businesses grow.

          o We have partnered with Mecklenburg County to create a small business strategic plan, an effort to provide broader support to the 27,000 small businesses in our area.

          o Working in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, the City of Charlotte will jointly hold an Access to Capital Conference targeting area small businesses. This conference will take place in June, 2010.

          o The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are also working to improve our permitting systems to reduce the cost of opening a new business. As I pledged to do, we are already piloting electronic permitting, which will greatly speed that process.

          o On March 22, 2010, the city council will consider changes to the Small Business Loan Program. These changes will allow the city to play a role in helping to grow new and existing businesses within sectors that will continue expanding in Charlotte.

     · I talked last year about having one town hall meeting every quarter. Since taking the oath of office, the dramatic challenges facing our community required me to do more than that. So far, we have held four: three with area unemployed residents and one with employers. I want to thank Governor Beverly Perdue, U.S. Representatives Mel Watt and Larry Kissell and many other elected officials for joining us.

On Friday, March 12, Charlotte had an opportunity no other city in the nation has had to my knowledge. At the invitation of the White House, we took our job creation summit to Washington. Our delegation held meetings with high level Treasury officials to discuss the financial services sector, as well as with White House officials to discuss areas of opportunity for Charlotte and our country, including the unique possibility we have to become the energy hub of the United States and the world.

For the next several months, my focus will be continuing to manage these efforts, as well as those that will promote stronger connections to our youth and deal effectively with homelessness, while working through a challenging budget process. At this time, we are projecting an $8.5 million shortfall in the current year budget. Our transit system will see some devastating service cuts and fare increases just to avoid even worse declines in service. As we navigate through these tactical challenges, I ask every resident of Charlotte to keep an eye on our common goal – to pass a strong, vibrant, connected and sustainable community to future generations of Charlotteans.

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