Michael Page, chairman of the Durham Board of County Commissioners, summarized the past year’s accomplishments in his State of the County address Monday night. In his 30-minute speech, Page focused on the progress the county has made on new buildings and other capital projects, such as the opening of the Holton Career and Resource Center and the construction of the county’s Human Services Complex downtown, which will include a new courthouse.
Page also lauded several county departments for winning recognition from professional organizations, and pointed to the county’s new efforts to improve information and communication to the public, including the use of social media platforms Twitter and Facebook.
Page mentioned only briefly some challenges the county has faced in the past year due reduced tax revenue and budget cuts, but pointed out that the county didn’t have to raise taxes or cut any jobs. He also touched on the budget gap the county will face when it begins considering the 2011-12 budget in the coming weeks.
“Until a full recovery is evident, we will do everything in our power to continue to deliver the services most critical to our residents,” Page said. “Know that we will tighten our belts, we will roll up our sleeves and we will work to provide the best service level possible for our citizens. … At the end of the day, I remain confident that we will stay true to the mission and to the values that keep Durham County a wonderful place to work and a wonderful place to live and a wonderful place to do business.”
Among the highlights Page touched on in his address:
- despite economic challenges, Durham County has retained its Triple A bond rating
- the county offered economic incentives to two companies, EMC Corporation and Innovative Emergency Management and each company could establish as many as 400 jobs
- Durham has received roughly $21 million in federal stimulus funds this year, which have increased the availability of services including food stamps and childcare subsidies, and contributed $2 million to Lincoln Community Health Center for expansion
- construction on the new South Regional Library will be complete by summer, and the expansion of the Southwest Regional Library and renovations at the Durham County Stadium are underway
- the county’s historic deeds and related documents dating back to 1881 are now available online thanks to a project last year to digitize this information