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Northwest Ward Newsletter
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Greetings,

Welcome to the 7th issue of the Northwest Ward newsletter. As usual I will highlight some recent and upcoming events as well as bring to light some information you may not be aware of. Last month we had problems with several of the links on the left hand side of the page but they should be working now. Please let me know if you have any problems with them. These are meant to be useful so please let me know if would like to see other quick links
 
I appreciate your suggestions for future articles in the newsletter. Please keep 'em coming!

Jeff MacIntosh 

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Winston-Salem: What You Need to Know
2016-2017 City Budget 

At our June 20 Council meeting we finalized and approved the 2016-2017 budget for the city of Winston Salem on a 6-2 vote. In this balanced budget, total expenditures will equal 441.7 million dollars. I was one of the two "no" votes. There were many things in the budget that I was in favor of but in a budget where we were catching up on many years of under paying our employees (I'll talk about Fire and Police in a minute) and spending a lot of money to catch up on capital needs (trucks, backhoes, police cars etc) we also hired 30 additional staff. On top of that, two proposed staff positions that I was highly in favor of were eliminated. They were both analyst positions and I contend that we need to be much better at analyzing the data that we are increasingly gathering. One position was slated for the police department and the other was proposed to work on employee and HR issues. Above all else I believe we could have kept our tax rate even if we had squeezed a little harder in some areas, additional personnel being the biggest but I believe we can stretch our taxpayers money by purchasing more refurbished technology equipment and rolling stock. 


Police and Fire received the largest pay increases. We were losing folks that we had trained very well (our programs are highly regarded) to other municipalities who were poaching them by offering slightly higher pay. I believe that the pay increases we approved and our very good retirement programs that are in place will produce a much higher retention rate.

Public Safety
 
Winston-Salem recently made a significant organizational improvement within the Fire department. Chief Mayo has aligned our commercial inspection schedule with the protocol used in remainder of the state of North Carolina. We were using firefighters to drive their big rigs to inspect all businesses every year. If there was a fire call while they were inspecting the back storage room of a business they had to drop what they were doing and respond to the call. In a field where "flashover" now can occur in minutes, every second of response time counts. Dedicated inspectors will now inspect "average" business locations once every three years and more often where fire risks are higher, i.e. where flammable chemicals are used. Statistical evidence from the insurance industry shows that there is zero impact on public safety by conforming to the state standard

The city is now operating our own forensics unit which allows us to sidestep the delays in the state system we previously used. Forsyth County Sheriff's department will be sharing the facility and costs with us. This may seem like a minor detail but it will improve our ability to solve crimes tremendously.

The subject of who gets to release body camera footage is still being debated in the state legislature. The biggest question is: who makes the call about what and when footage can be released to the public and the media. We are now employing body cameras on all patrol officers.

Keeping Neighborhoods Informed
Economic Development

You may have notice the cranes working downtown and the fencing in front of several projects. Just to name a few:

Benton Convention Center Renovations.
 keep us squarely in the convention business.
Nearly $18 million dollars worth of expansion and modernizing to keep us squarely in the convention business.
   
Texas Pete Headquarters renovation on Fourth St:
TW Garner Food Co is moving their corporate HQ from Indiana Ave to 4th street above the former Separk Music store. They will be occupying the entire upstairs of the building and are building an addition that looks suspiciously like a public facing kitchen.

The Twin City Loft transitions from demolition to construction. Lots of progress being made. The developers say that occupancy is slated for October.

751 W Fourth St   Apartments  just about full and word is that the next phase will follow soon.

The Mill 800 at Chatham is accepting tenants. This Historic tax credit 160+ apartment  project is incredible! The developers did a great job of keeping the factory loft feel while bringing in modern amenities.

Summer Music on Liberty

Summer Music on Liberty kicked off June 18th with Suitcase, a local powerhouse pop band in the vein of local heroes The Db's. The series ends September 3rd and you can find a list of the local participants here.

The series is in a new location this year, one short block east of its location from last year. There was discussion about this move lessening the amount of shoppers would be on Trade St. on concert nights. The reality was that past events were so successful and crowded that people couldn't walk around to get to the shops anyway. The first show went really well with plenty of elbow room and even dancing room. Liberty St. is much wider than Trade St.

Come on down!  
Alarming rise in homicides in the city

At this time last year we had 5 homicides within the city limits of Winston Salem. This year to date we have had 14. City Council, Police Chief Rountree, Mayor Joines and staff are all struggling to find an effective solution. As of yet no clear patterns have emerged. Guns were used in many of these crimes but there have also been a number of stabbings and one case of a car intentionally running over a victim. Some are clearly drug related while others not. This level of anger and violence signals that something has changed in the community. These are not random assaults. They are almost exclusively between two or more people that know each other. We are hiring one additional analyst to help us detect patterns and we are encouraging the community to speak up, as there is no better intel than from people in the community. Call 336-773-7700 if you see something in your neighborhood that "just doesn't look right". 

One homicide is too many and an increase of this magnitude is truly horrendous. We have given the WSPD more pay, a new forensics lab and the ability to offer hiring bonuses to new hires. We take this extremely seriously. Please help us keeping an eye out and reporting anything suspicious.

Senior Services: Beyond Quality Care

Senior Services, a private nonprofit agency, operating in Forsyth County for more than fifty years, has long been dedicated to providing programs and services that preserve dignity and independence, encourage connectedness, and promote purposeful living for seniors in our community.

Just ask Dorothy Nord (pictured left), a 100 year-old woman who relies on Senior Services for critical assistance with meals and personal care to remain at home. Dorothy has always had a love for baseball and longed to attend a Winston-Salem Dash game. Learning of this desire, Senior Services teamed up with the Dash to check this item off her bucket list. Nord attended the game surrounded by family, friends, and Senior Services staff. She even threw out the first pitch, calling the entire day "a dream come true!"

While every day in aging services may not be a walk in the (ball) park, Dorothy's story illustrates Senior Services' commitment to exploring opportunities to go beyond providing quality care to help enrich and infuse meaning in the lives of people they touch.
With a mission to help the elderly remain at home, living with dignity, it's no surprise that most of Senior Services' impactful work happens in the homes of seniors. 

However, there are two community locations - the main office on Shorefair Drive and the Williams Adult Day Center on Melrose Street - where you can see the organization's efforts in action.

 Placing particular emphasis on the most frail and vulnerable elders, Senior Services relies on the continued community support of volunteers and donors to help carry out its mission each day. In fact, programs such as Meals-on-Wheels and Senior Lunch, Home Care, and community support services like Help Line and the Williams Adult Day Care Center depend on it.

As we face an unprecedented aging boom - with more than ten thousand people turning 65 every day nationally and the population of older adults in Forsyth County set to double over the next decade - Senior Services remains committed to exploring innovative ways to meet the growing and changing needs of this community.

Senior Services is proud to be a trusted provider of information, resources, and services to elders, their families, and the community at large. We encourage you to stay in touch with what's going on at Senior Services by visiting the website: www.seniorservicesinc.org, signing up for the Aging Matters e-newsletter, or calling the main office at 336-725-0907.

| 336-768-8444|  Jeffm@cityofws.org  | 101 N. Main Street 
Winston-Salem, NC 27101