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Concord has new mayor, councilman

By Dwain W. Penn Concord native John P. Strickland was sworn in as mayor on June 9 in the absence of city attorney Ed Trice. A special election previously set for June 16 was cancelled since Strickland qualified unopposed as mayor and Timothy Brown qualified unopposed for council seat Post 1. Strickland took the helm of city government as mayor pro tem eight months ago following legal problems for former mayor Jim Roberts. When it was determined that Roberts would not be returning to his post, Strickland became interim mayor until a special election was set following several days of qualifying. With only one candidate qualified, Strickland became mayor unopposed. One of the first acts as mayor was the setting of ambitious goals for the remaining 18 months of his tenure. Strickland dedicated his comments to his vision for the city. ’Since we were able to accomplish a few goals recently,’ said Strickland, ‘I want to add a few more to work on during my service as mayor.’ He confessed that having goals to achieve allows him to work more efficiently. The first subject Strickland mentioned was finances, stressing the need for the city to be very responsible with its funds and spend them wisely. Improvement to the water system was next. He commended the work of employee Stephanie Richardson and her value to the city. Topping the list for the water department were pressure washing the tank, installing more valves, looping the system and eventually replacing the service line along Highway 18 from Eppinger Bridge Road west. Having more valves in the system will help to isolate leaks with minimal disruption of service and having loops system-wide improves both water quality and pressure. The sewerage system was the next topic Strickland addressed. With work recently completed on the south oxidation pond, attention will be given to the north pond and its need for dredging. Streets and roads came next. Patching potholes and water system trenches has been the rule for a municipality with limited funds. Strickland hopes to find grants for repaving projects and to utilize the LMIG funds efficiently. As Strickland invoked the next topic, the park, he added it was dear to his heart because it has become the centerpiece for the city. He aspires to find a grant to help create a lineal park and to maintain it properly for the enjoyment of future generations. Buildings, especially city hall and a new fire station, were next. The county is amenable to the idea of a new fire station once the city figures out how to finance it. With the aspect of planning for the future, Strickland desires to develop a viable plan for land use and zoning, in particular finding a location in the city for commercial use. He believes the city will see growth and a proper foundation of zoning will be beneficial. Finally, Strickland turned his attention to local residents and his need for their help. He asked for citizens to become more involved with the future of Concord, to assist with special projects, to share their opinions of any and all municipal matters, and to show pride for Concord. ’Cooperation has proved successful for the city in the past and sharing the spirit of helpfulness can only improve life for all in the city of Concord,’ said Strickland. COUNCIL ALSO: ’¢ Witnessed the swearing in of new councilman Tim Brown. ’¢ Approved the Pike County Hazard Mitigation plan for the city. ’¢ Heard the removal of trees on Harris Street is going well. All designated trees are now on the ground and work to clean up limbs is ongoing. Fire wood is available to residents for the asking. Contact city hall to get instructions and obtain access to private property. ’¢ Approved the planning and zoning board recommendation on allowing access to the back portion of the Woods 40 acre property.

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