The end of a year gives us the opportunity to reflect on the highlights of the past year and to look ahead to the challenges and great opportunities that await us.
    Your city council enjoyed success in 2008 by demonstrating a new commitment to this city, its citizens and its government through Fayetteville Forward. We saw more collaboration between the city and our partners, working with PWC to develop a $200 million sewer extension plan for western Fayetteville; with the military on the annexation of Fort Bragg; and with Cumberland County on a growth management strategy.
    {mosimage}We listened more to citizens, involving them in task forces for recycling, transit, studies of Ramsey Street and Murchison Road, and the Fayetteville Museum of Art location. We started moving city council meetings to the neighborhoods and now aggressively recruit, train and mentor citizens for our boards and commissions.
    We raised the development standards with the approval of ordinances regulating Storm Water, Big Box development, non-conforming junk yards and temporary storage containers.
Improving our neighborhoods was a focus of the council. We continued our commitment to pave soil streets in the city; demolished dozens of dilapidated buildings; restricted panhandling and increased buffers between night clubs, day cares and schools.
    We saw the continued development of downtown Fayetteville with the approval of the Hope VI project; plans for the N.C. State Veterans Park, the Northwest Gateway; and a new Multi Modal Center. 
    We put more sworn officers on the streets and significantly increased the number of citations written and Fayetteville was recently ranked as one of the safest large cities in North Carolina.
    We continued to diversify our economy with more technology-based jobs opportunities. Our per-capita income grew by almost 8 percent last year ranking us number one in North Carolina.
    We showed our commitment to transit through increased funding; upgraded the fleet and improved the routes as the first steps towards an improved transit system.
    We organized to take advantage of the opportunities for growth with BRAC and broke ground for the Military Business Park. And we reached out to support the soldiers and airmen as well as their families while they defend our freedom throughout the world. This council continued its commitment to our environment with the implementation of residential curbside recycling; a requirement for litter receptacles outside businesses and two Fayetteville Beautiful community-wide cleanups. Fayetteville’s future is a bright one. You will continue to see us make progress as we focus on several key areas for next year.
    We have to bring more and better jobs to the community by recruiting military contractors and working with others to further develop our workforce and prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow. We will work to grow smarter.
    We’ll approve the Joint 2030 Growth Vision Plan and its new policies for zoning, sewer extensions, and annexation. We will implement the changes from the comprehensive review of the city’s zoning codes.
    We will get organized to address the recommendations of the BRAC RTF Growth Management Plan report and prepare our community for the upcoming growth opportunities.
    We will strengthen our commitment to reducing our crime rates with more resources and attention in this critical area.
    We will resolve the growing parking problem in downtown Fayetteville and break ground on the N.C. Veterans Park as well as replacing hundreds of homes in the first stages of the Hope VI project.
    We’ll work to expand the existing recycling efforts into multifamily housing and commercial areas. We’ll continue to push for a greener city with more trees and green space and a healthier environment.
    We will work with the parks and recreation board to prioritize and identify funding plans to begin to address the facility needs identified in the master plan.
    We will continue our plans to pave soil streets, raise development and appearance standards and provide additional funding for more sidewalks in high traffic areas. And we will continue our efforts to end homelessness in our city.
We will improve the transit system with a comprehensive redesign of the routes, additional funding and better coordination with the county, Fort Bragg and Pope.
    We are working hard to make Fayetteville a more attractive, clean and peaceful city; one with economic opportunity for all.
    That great city is within our grasp.
    We ask for your continued support and prayers. Pray for our military neighbors. Give us wisdom and guidance as we help lead this city to an even brighter future.  May God bless you and our great city.

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