CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A day shy of marking her first year in office, Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin used her State of the City address on Monday to share an optimistic retrospective of 2019 and hope for the city’s future.
Goodwin, the city’s first female mayor, said through the work of city leaders and her administration, they have created “a positive momentum of change” over the past 364 days.
“Most important, we’re making progress because of the renewed spirit and passion of our communities,” she said.
Goodwin, speaking in front of a packed city council chamber, touched on the issues her administration has addressed as well as matters she wishes to confront in 2020.
“Make no mistake: We made some hard decisions. We made some cuts. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses during the year,” Goodwin told MetroNews after the address. “What this city needs us to do is put our best foot forward. They need us to keep our heads down and continue to do our work.”
The Goodwin administration faced a financial obstacle shortly after taking office; the city passed a $99 million budget that addressed a $3 million deficit by cutting spending and employees. The administration doubled the city’s paving budget to $3 million through the budget, and the city council approved creating an agency on drug use prevention and outreach.
During the year, city leaders led the creation of the Land Reuse Agency and the Vacant Structure Registry, giving officials an increased ability to address structures in poor condition and encourage rehabilitation of dilapidated buildings.
Goodwin said private developers have contacted the city about developing and renovating “hundreds of housing units” in light of the change.
Goodwin also touched on the importance of communication between the city and constituents, including listening tours and door-to-door visits.
“Actually, the very act of me giving this address is intended to reflect this administration’s commitment to accountability, transparency and engagement. You should expect this every year from us: To report out to you and our promises,” she said.
Goodwin announced the Charleston Walks program, in which city council members, starting in February, will tour their wards and take constituent comments. The mayor also touched on the launch of the city’s Office of Constituent Services; council members approved $80,000 in November for the office, which will track constituent calls and direct people to the correct office.
“Not only will it there be more accountability to the public, (but) we will actually be better equipped to do the job in which we were elected to do.”
Other goals for 2020 Goodwin mentioned include the creation of a Business Economic Impact Fund for providing businesses with project funding, purchasing body cameras and other equipment for the Charleston Police Department, and allocating remaining monies to the city’s Rainy Day Fund.