Transcript from the 2016 Town of Lexington “State of the Town Address”
Good evening, I’m Mayor Steve MacDougall. Welcome to the State of the Town Address, an overview of our Town’s accomplishments in 2015 and a look into 2016. I want to take time to recap the progress we made last year and address projects and issues Council and I will focus on this year and beyond.
First, I want to say it is a privilege and honor to be your Mayor and I look forward to continuing to serve you and leading the Town of Lexington.
At this time I would like to acknowledge my fellow Council members – Mayor Pro-Tem Hazel Livingston, Councilwoman Kathy Maness, Councilman Todd Shevchik, Councilman Ted Stambolitis, Councilman Todd Carnes and Councilman Ron Williams; along with our staff for their continued service to the Town. These fine men and women have helped mold the town into an outstanding community. I look forward to seeing what we accomplish together in 2016.
I would like to take a moment to recognize and thank our entire staff – Administration, Finance, Parks and Sanitation, Planning, Building and Technology, Police, Transportation and Utilities Departments who worked 1,500 plus hours in the immediate days during/after the historic floods to ensure safety for our citizens. Through these efforts, the Town of Lexington did not sustain any human casualties. Mother Nature dealt us a handful but with our outpouring of support from our community, we were able to provide for all the needs we had during this most difficult time. I think it is a unanimous feeling that we are ready to welcome 2016 and focus on our continued recovery efforts.
As we prepare to spring forward, let’s take a step back and highlight a few of the top achievements from the past year:
2015 was another unprecedented year of success for the Town of Lexington.
First and foremost, in December 2015, the Town of Lexington officially transitioned to our new Adaptive Computerized Signalization System through video detection on FIVE intersections in the downtown area. In January, we officially unveiled these five signals as they went “live” and were converted over to “real time” control in place of “analog rotation” control.
The affected signals include:
- Main Street @ Church Street & Lake Drive
- W. Main Street @ Park Rd & Old Chapin Rd
- Columbia Avenue @ Butler Street
Work continues for Phase I of 19 total signals as the contractor is installing fiber communications between each signal. The project will ultimately include 35 signals and we anticipate Phase I being complete by the end of this year and Phase II at the end of 2017.
This high tech traffic management system will help alleviate traffic congestion by monitoring and synchronizing traffic signals to balance traffic flow in “real time” conditions and “link” all lights within the town limits. The town was again fortunate to receive funding, this time through the Central Midlands Council of Government with Columbia Area Transportation Study (COATS) Share Funding and from the County of Lexington, for a total $5.1 million.
This system will help place Lexington at the forefront of traffic management through the latest, innovative computer technology. We would be the first municipality in the state to implement this new technology at all traffic signal intersections in town. This is just another way we are being proactive and preparing for the anticipated growth we project for the future.
The Police Department continually works hard to ensure safety in our community. In 2015, they were named “Fitting Station of the Year” at the Safe Kids of South Carolina Child Passenger Safety Summit. The award was given performing over 100 child seat checks in 2015 and over 500 being conducted since 2009. Also recognized was Officer Steffonie Cockerill, being named “Law Enforcement Child Passenger Safety Technician of the Year.”
In addition to these awards, the Police Department recognized several of their own for heroic duties performed this past July which lead to saving a citizen’s life. Cpl. Paul Walker received his third “Life Saving Award” while Patrol Officers Jonathan Taylor and Todd Zeigler received the “Chief’s Letter of Commendation”.
Finally, the Police Department has lowered overall property crime by five percent, seeing a 19% decrease in burglary and 7% decrease in motor vehicle theft.
A big thank you to our Police Department and all our officers for their dedicated service to the Town of Lexington and ensuring our safety on a daily basis – we are honored to have you on the team.
Safe communities translate in to economic growth, and Lexington is no exception. The Town prides itself on being the place where citizens want to live, work, play and learn. That is evident with record construction hitting the town. Since July 2015 (FY 16), $70 million in new construction has been permitted. This value is 35 percent higher than the construction value that was recorded for the previous fiscal year. With five months left, we expect to see those figures continue climb. Also, we are projected to permit the building of 160 new homes inside of town limits, exceeding the previous year which saw 112 new homes.
The Town’s key to success is fiscal responsibility which has led to national recognition. The Finance Department recently received – for the 17th consecutive year – the Governmental Finance Officers Association Comprehensive Annual Finance Report Award and now for the sixth straight year, the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. Through our dedicated staff in our Finance Department, the Town remains rock-solid and financially sound. In fact, this past November, Moody’s Investors Service announced in an upgraded credit rating for the Town of Lexington Combined Waterworks and Sewer System Revenue Bonds from A1 (strong) to Aa3 (very strong) and confirmed its MIG-1 short term rating (highest) for the Town’s short- term water and sewer revenue obligations.
We expect our strengthened credit rating to help to assure that its cost of funds for improvements needed to provide high-quality water and sewer services to residents of Lexington and its water and wastewater service areas will be among the lowest for state and municipal borrowers.
The Town of Lexington is staying ever so mindful of how we spend, or invest, your tax dollars.
In addition to fiscal health, the Town is taking continued steps to improve water quality for our citizens, and the entire Midlands Region, by decommissioning the Coventry Woods Wastewater Plant. This is the fourth satellite facility we have closed as part of the regional plan to process and treat wastewater at the City of Cayce Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, which opened in fall 2012.
The closing of these smaller facilities, in our service area, eliminates discharge to the Lower Saluda River and provides cleaner outflow by being treated at a state-of-the art regional processing facility. This technology provides upgraded service accommodating the Town of Lexington, the fourth-fastest growing municipality in South Carolina. (83% since 2000) As of September 2015, all 1 million gallons/per day of flow has transferred from the Coventry Woods Wastewater Plant to the
CCRWTF. The Town of Lexington is currently flowing 3.1 million gallons/per day to the joint facility, which is less than a quarter of the Town’s available capacity, ensuring we are prepared for future growth.
Additionally, we have performed a sewer line rehab on 6,000 plus feet of lines with 37 manholes on Main St. and South Lake Dr. This line was originally installed in 1925. This rehab saved hundreds of thousands of dollar but utilizing the newest technology that prevented us from digging up the streets for replacement of this line.
The Utilities Department also had one of their own named Water Collection Operator of the Year from the Water Environmental Association of South Carolina. Robert Campbell has been employed with the Town since 2007 and leads the Capacity, Management, Operation and Maintenance (CMOM) program, so we stay in federal EPA compliance by assuring
Lastly, we broke ground on Project Icehouse. In addition to a 900-seat amphitheater, which will be used for town events, including the farmers market and slated to open this summer, the Town sold the Shirey’s building on Main St., which will be part of the transformation in making the land into a destination plaza with boutique retail and eateries.
These projects speak volumes of how our proactive, progressive forward-looking vision and planning is continuing to create a wonderful, vibrant livable community, not only for today, but for future generations… our children and our grandchildren.
As you can see, we’ve had some amazing accomplishments this past year and that was just the tip of the iceberg, but there’s always more work that can and will be done. Here are a few of the challenging issues we will focus in on into 2016 and beyond:
sewage system is properly managed,
operated and maintained at all times; has adequate capacity to convey peak flows; and all feasible steps are taken to eliminate excessive
infiltration and inflow from the system.
Council and I will continue to develop the Vision Plan and find measures to relieve traffic congestion. We are truly amazed of how many projects that have come to fruition since we implemented the plan less than three years ago.
The most anticipated project of 2016 is our continued improvements to help alleviate traffic congestion. Downtown Improvements, which includes the transition to one-way pairs along Lake Dr. and Church St., will be complete by the end of the year.
Additional traffic projects include Crossroad Improvements @ Lake Dr. & Sunset Blvd. and Corley Mill @ Sunset
Along with tackling traffic, the town will continue to continue to focus on our utility infrastructure through Capital Improvement Projects. The initial phase of the Barr Rd Regional Pump Station and Sewer Line Upgrade Project will include improvements to the Prescott Glen pump station to increase its capacity. Additionally, approximately 2.5 Miles of 12″ and 18″ sewer force main and 1/2 mile of 20″ gravity lines will be installed from Prescott Glen running along Barr Rd to Hendrix Street and then turning onto Chariot and ultimately crossing U.S. 1 and Highway 378 from Chariot. The initial phase of the project is projected to cost approximately $4 Million. The final phase will include a regional pump station to be constructed in the 2020’s with a currently estimated additional cost of over $5 Million.
Church St. corridors, the capacity of this direction is doubled. The additional capacity allows significant increase in the amount of green signal time that is allotted to the Main Street signals direction. Furthermore, the left turn signal phase would be eliminated from South Lake Drive onto East Main St. further increasing the green time available. Finally, the left turn prohibitions in the downtown area would
By pairing the Lake Dr. and
Additionally, the town will take steps to help direct citizens and guests via new wayfinding signage. The new directional signs will address the needs of finding landmarks throughout the town, creating a consistent brand while providing familiarity and comfort within Lexington.
Finally, we will continue our beautification efforts with corridor improvements. These facelifts will be in tune with our Vision Plan and focus on our “front porches”, which will help define the town. Our goal is to be aesthetically appealing and preserve our small town charm, while making enhancements that will continue to attract visitors and new economic development.
To showcase our wonderful community we provide an array of events and activities throughout the year. The town along with the Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission will host several events including Movies in the Park, the reading of haunted tales in Virginia Hylton Park and the Snowball Festival.
Other community events include Kid’s Day of Lexington, Wine Walk on Main, the Farmers Market and the ongoing Historic Downtown Cell Phone Walking Tour. In addition to these signature events, the Town is proud to support grassroots efforts, such as the Lexington Community Band, providing entertainment for the entire family. We hope to see you around town for these wonderful events!
It is our job as the Town to actively engage the public through various communication efforts. Stay informed with Town news and upcoming events through our website, our social media pages of Facebook, Twitter and our community access station on Time Warner Cable, which is airing this State of the Town Address and Council Meeting live.
I hope you have become more informed about our great community through the State of the Town Address. My remarks in this message reflect the great work that is being done and how we can continue to move this town forward effectively and efficiently. Each employee at the
town has made contributions to the achievements we have seen tonight and I want to thank them all in making Lexington a place you want to live, work and learn. Lexington is my hometown and I am still in awe to see how we’ve grown throughout the years.
In closing, the Town has changed its elections to even years, thus having an election this November, coinciding with the General Election. I encourage everyone to utilize their civic right by registering to vote and letting voice be heard.
I wish that all of you have a continued healthy, happy and prosperous 2016. God bless you, your family, our town, the State of South Carolina and our great nation, the United States of America.
Thank You and Good Night.