|From the Mayor|
To the Citizens of Smithfield:
I am pleased to report to you my 2nd “State of the City” Address”. As Mayor, I have the privilege of working closely with my colleagues on the Town Council, the City Manager, and many of the Town’s staff in doing all we can to honor our heritage and help bring prosperity and health to all of us. In addition, this past few months, I have been privileged and energized to help form and lead the new North Carolina Eastern Mayors Association in mounting collective efforts to engage and champion the 32 cities and towns comprising the North Carolina Eastern Power Agency with regard to unacceptably high retail electric rates. These efforts continue on a regular basis and will involve close interaction with such organizations as the Power Agency itself, ElectriCities, the State Legislature, the Public Utilities Commission, other regulatory agencies and others in this common purpose.
Communicating as often as I can regarding our Town and our collective future is always a work in progress. While I believe Smithfield is indeed the “best place” in North Carolina to live, we have many challenges and opportunities ahead of us. All of us are well aware of the difficult times facing our Country and our State in areas from the loss of jobs, to education and many other areas of our lives.
One additional feature I have added in this year’s Address is to provide (at various locations) either a web address that will further inform or, in some cases, a reference to “click here” that will help the reader connect via internet hyperlink to additional information that should be of interest.
This “State of the City Address”, along with neighborhood meetings, our regular Council meetings (which are now televised), our new PEG Channel (18 on Time Warner Cable), improving our website (www.smithfield-nc.com) and other efforts to both inform and engage, are important to our Town and to each of you. Various forms of “social media” (like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flicker and the like) make it all the more challenging to engage the public in the future of the “place” we call home. To fully realize the growth in “social media”, and how it is affecting our changing world (in Smithfield and beyond), click here.
The Place We Call Home
As many know, Smithfield was officially formed (chartered) by the State in 1777. Our history is varied, proud and of great importance to us all. For any of you that may not have yet taken the opportunity, please visit the Johnston County Heritage Center, at the corner of Third and Market Streets. It offers the most comprehensive historical view of both Johnston County and Smithfield (click here).
As the County Seat of Johnston County, we are blessed to have so many assets and any list would be incomplete. However, just a few include:
Highlighting Our Uniqueness
An “incomplete” list includes:
The above assets are always changing and, in every case… growing, expanding and adjusting to meet new challenges and otherwise helping to improve the quality of life that we enjoy in Smithfield.
Some of our Challenges
Let there be no doubt, our challenges are significant and will not be easily overcome. My efforts, as Mayor in these challenging times, can take many forms. However, one that I take the most seriously is captured in the following:
“You can judge a leader by the size of the problem he tackles…Other people can cope with the waves. It’s his job to watch the tide.”
Source: Management and Machiavelli: An Inquiry into the Politics of Corporate Life, Anthony Jay, 1967
Some of both these “waves” and the “tide” as well, include:
This list is neither all inclusive or in any particular order. The message; however, is that for Smithfield to continue to remain a viable place to live, work, raise a family, seek an education, enjoy life and all the rest…we must understand it is a new day. A favorite quote of mine that also “captures” this reality is:
“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
Source: Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968). Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community, 1967.
Current Priorities and Initiatives
As with every list I have described, the one below is incomplete. In each case, activities, actions, and things still yet to do define all of them. Having said this, the Town of Smithfield is working hard on the following:
The Stage is Set
Despite these troubling and profoundly difficult economic times for our Country (which we are not immune from, of course), I believe, over time, we will re-emerge and move forward to a much brighter future. Obviously, this path will be challenging. However, in viewing these challenges, I am always struck by the following:
“Wake set to eclipse Mecklenburg as No 1. County
■ Wake County will pass Mecklenburg as the state’s most populous in the next few years, if current growth trends continue, according to estimates released by the US Census Bureau on Tuesday.
■ Wake County’s population was estimated at 897,214 compared to 913.639 in Mecklenburg County. Wake’s population has grown 43% since the 2000 census, and at that rate Wake will exceed Mecklenburg in about 2012.
■ Among counties with 10,000 or more residents, North Carolina had six of the fastest growing 100 counties in the country since 2000. They are Union (14), Brunswick (38), Wake (45), Johnston (66), Hoke (95) and Currituck (98).
■ The estimated population of the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan statistical area, which includes Wake, Johnston and Franklin counties was 1,125,827, up 41 percent since 2000.”
Source: Raleigh N&O, March 24, 2010
As your Mayor, I am dedicated, along with my colleagues on the Council and all of the Town’s staff, to work hard, to serve you to the best of our abilities and to always keep our eye on the ball for what is best for all of Smithfield.
Wilbert Daniel Evans, Jr.
March 1, 2011