On behalf of Mayor Patrick McCrory and members of the Charlotte City Council, I am pleased to present the FY 2002 State of the City Report. This document highlights the challenges we faced and the successes we achieved in providing essential services for the safety, health and quality of life of our citizens.
Strong policy leadership from the Mayor and City Council has enabled the City organization to address immediate concerns while still focusing on the long-term viability of this community. This was evident in the aftermath of September 11, which had a profound and lasting impact on each of us. Its effect on the economy was a driving force for a number of changes to the City's budget.
Shortly after learning of the events unfolding in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on September 11th, our emergency response agencies, including Police, Fire and Emergency Management, quickly put plans in place to safeguard the city.
Fortunately, we stand prepared because of planning that began several years ago to prevent and respond to emergency and disaster scenarios of all types. A key result of this planning was the formation of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Advanced Local Emergency Response Team (ALERT), a highly trained group of law enforcement, public safety and area medical personnel. Together with other emergency response and support personnel, ALERT is ready to respond to disastrous incidents - natural or human caused.
The economic downturn coupled with the State of North Carolina's withholding of more than $17 million in local revenues negatively impacted City operations. To offset this action, we cut spending by 5% and reduced the operating reserves by 20%. We maintained the same level of service in spite of reductions in the operating budget. With the possibility of this revenue being withheld again, the City shaped a FY 2003 budget that reflects a 5.3% decrease from FY 2002.
Finally the regional drought entered its fifth year. While voluntary compliance with conservation efforts helped ease unprecedented demands on the water delivery system, the unrelenting drought forced us to take additional steps to protect our water supply. Meanwhile, we continue to work to increase the performance of our 3,000 plus mile water distribution network through the expansion and upgrade of our facilities.
As we look to the future, our City mission of public service, our values of teamwork, customer service, accountability and openness guide each decision we make in meeting the huge responsibility we have to this community. Our continued commitment to addressing emerging concerns and planning for the future will help make Charlotte a community of choice for living, working and leisure activities.
See these Areas of Focus:
Charlotte City Manager
Pamela A. Syfert