STATE OF THE TOWN MESSAGE
You’ve heard me speak before about how Selma is moving forward….and we are continuing to do that. It is not just a forward movement in one direction. In North, South, East, and West Selma, progress is being made on many fronts.
Since the last State of the Town Message, Selma has welcomed a wide variety of new businesses. Examples include Campers Inn RV Sales and Service, BC Special Wire at our Oak Tree Business Park, Pelican’s, Starling’s Heating and Air, Mitchener University, Mozelle’s Soul Food, The Florentine Cafe and Badcock & More. We are blessed with existing businesses like DeWayne’s, Sysco, Bailey’s Feed Mill, and companies at our Oil Terminal that continue to expand. I am encouraged by the number of residences being upgraded and historic properties restored. This bodes well for our future.
Selma, like other parts of Johnston County, is participating in the long-forecasted west to east growth in North Carolina. Capital investments in our town have more than doubled in the past four years. In 2018,
over $23M was invested in Selma. With other projects on the drawing board, such as Eastfield being planned by Adventure Development, our investment trend will increase substantially.
At our January 2019 Town Council Meeting, our auditors from Mauldin and Jenkins issued the Town a clean opinion. The audit noted that our total net position increased by $1.2M over the previous year’s restated position. Our sales tax revenues increased approximately $39K due to economic growth in the town. Improvements were made in our internal financial controls and financial statements. It also noted that “The Town has made a concerted effort to control costs and manage expenditures to make the best use of resources for its citizens.” Our citizens and businesses can expect that due diligence to continue into the coming years.
As we began creating our 2018-19 Town of Selma Budget, I recommended that we make this the “year of the visual.” I wanted Council, staff, and myself to be able to visibly show our taxpayers where their tax dollars are at work. I greatly appreciate our Councilmembers and Staff’s support in promoting the visual which is also a part of our vision: To be a destination of choice for those who desire a great place to live, work, and play. It is also important to thank citizens such as Roger Diegele, who initiated the Mary E. Diegele Arbor Program, and James Lassiter, who championed Blessing Boxes in Selma. Both projects visually illustrate that Selma is a caring community. Our Civic Center Committee has efficiently managed interior and exterior renovations associated with our Civic Center. Many other citizens have improved the appearance of their homes or businesses. To everyone who has done so, we offer a sincere “Thank You”.
We are seeing an increased number of housing sales. New houses are on the horizon which will allow Selma to offer a variety of housing options.
In addition to housing options, our citizens will have more “things to do, places to go, people to see” options with the opening of our Civic Center and our Selma Pool later this year.
We are fortunate to have an enthusiastic and experienced Town Staff to lead work efforts within our town and to work effectively with surrounding towns. Examples of noteworthy collaborations with other towns and organizations include:
Benson, Selma, Smithfield, Clayton, Electricities, and JCC collaborated to create a Line Worker pre-apprentice program. Like us, electric utilities across our nation are facing a shortage of workers. We hope that this will help address that shortage and at the same time provide great employment opportunities for our citizens.
Johnston County Mayors have agreed to pursue multi-jurisdictional road maintenance contracts to stretch our dollars further and to encourage faster response from bidders.
Selma, Smithfield, and Clayton Fire Departments have taken the lead in collaborating with Smithfield-Selma High School and Johnston County Public Schools to create a Fire Cadet Program for our high schools. This is an area that should be of interest to many of our students and ultimately assist in staffing our Fire Departments.
We have every reason to enter 2019 with an optimistic spirit. Positive changes are being made in all parts of our town. I truly believe that 2019 will not be just a year of incremental changes but will be a transformational year for Selma. Want to play an active part in it? I invite you to attend our 2/12 Town Council Meeting which will provide the first of many opportunities for you to provide input to our 2019-20 Budget. Following that meeting, there will be a series of meetings that are focused on individual departments. Members of our departments will be presenting their requests. You can interact with them with questions or suggestions. The dates of these meetings will be on our website and posted in Town Hall. I encourage you to attend. Selma is not just my town, our Councilmember’s town, or Staff’s town. It is OUR town.
Mayor Cheryl L. Oliver