Durham mayor presents state of city address

January 22, 2008 8:49:04 PM PST
Drought, neighborhood revitalization and public safety are the main areas the city of Durham needs to work on, according to Mayor Bill Bell.

In his state of city address Tuesday night, the Bell laid out recommendations to improve all three.

The mayor began by saying Durham is an "upswing," then he focused on the city's challenges, the biggest one being the drought.

"I don't have to tell you great things are happening in Durham," Bell said.

The address focused on Durham's challenges and what to do about them.

"2007 was the year that forever changed the way we think about one of our most precious resources, water," Bell added.

That is why Bell says in 2008, things will be different, where drinking water is concerned.

The city is already examining additional sources of water, so it can increase daily allotments by millions of gallons.

Also, repairing the city's 100-year-old water pipes has been made a priority.

At one point, Durham was down to just 36 days of premium drinking water; which is now up to 125 days.

Still, residents remain under stage four restrictions and by July 1, the mayor plans another water conservation plan.

"I have requested that the city administration begin to move rapidly and responsibly toward a tiered rate structure, that charges heavy water users higher rates," Bell said.

"It does have to be carefully structured so that you're not harming those who cannot afford to pay," Vicki Westbrook with the department of water management added.

Bell also pointed out that while overall crime was down; the murder rate was up last year.


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