1. What has 2007 been like for the city of Aiken?
It has been a very good year. We continued to put highest priority on public safety and the city's fiscal status, while providing the best of services to our citizens at a reasonable cost. Again, for the 19th straight year, we have not increased the city's property tax millage rate. In addition, the city annexed Whiskey Road, approved a downtown parking management ordinance, improved the traffic management ordinance, and moved forward with plans for traffic improvements on Dougherty Road and Silver Bluff Road. These are just a few of the accomplishments in 2007.
2. What are some of the city's plans for 2008?
We will continue those high priorities mentioned above and positive projects we have been working on from previous years, such as the North Side Revitalization Initiative (assisting in renovating and building homes). Also, we're working with the county on numerous projects such as the Anderson Pond connector between Whiskey Road and Silver Bluff Road, and a strategy for funding and construction of a connector between Whiskey Road and Powder House Road. We plan to update the South Side Comprehensive Plan and implement a Rental Property Registration policy. In addition, we will continue working with the Hitchcock Foundation relative to a stormwater management plan.
3. What is the biggest change for the positive you've seen happen in Aiken?
There have been several, but I think the most positive is the good working relationship between the city and the county. There are many issues that affect our quality of life that are not totally city or county, therefore we need the best working relationship possible for the benefit of our citizens and the improvement of our community.
4. What is the biggest change you've seen happen in Aiken that hasn't been as positive?
I don't have any particular one. We are seeing a lot of changes in Aiken and I think most of the changes are for the better; I get many more positive comments than negative. As changes do come we must make the right decisions to keep -- and even improve -- the character and charm of our dear city.
5. What is it about Aiken that makes it a special place to live?
Many things work together. I'll list a few: Its history; kind, caring and talented people; vibrant downtown; great trees and landscaping; location between coast and mountains, and several larger cities; climate; sporting facilities; equestrian activities; Hitchcock Woods; (being) near the Interstate 20; and our (private) airport.