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Mayor: Wheeling must do more with less

Updated: Wednesday, February 26 2014, 11:12 AM EST

By: Crissy Clutter


Wheeling’s state of the city address was delivered on Tuesday. Mayor Andy McKenzie talked about population loss and inevitable cutbacks.

“Over the past few years we have reduced the size of our workforce by 8 percent through attrition, but unfortunately we have to continue to do more with less,” said McKenzie.

The mayor says he has concerns about the state taking tax dollars by reducing gaming revenue.

“We have employee costs growing because of the Affordable Care Act, pension costs and many other issues,” said McKenzie. “Thetaxpayers just can’t continue to bear the cost.”

Many leaders at Tuesday’s speech say they know they will have to help the city handle the situation.

“There are some things we have to do department-wise to address those things,” said Wheeling Fire Chief Larry Helms.

The mayor also mentioned several road projects—including the pothole problem.

“In addition to the Main and Market Street project, you will also see Interstate 70 paving and bridge work from downtown Wheeling to the Pennsylvania state line,” said McKenzie.

“The Wheeling Suspension Bridge will be closed up to one year once the work begins,” McKenzie added. “Although this will be a major inconvenience, the work needs to be done.”

McKenzie said the city will work with businesses and the state to attempt to make the disruptions as minimal as possible

The mayor talked about several business leaders that have contributed to Wheeling's growth- including Terry Sterling who will retire as Wheeling Chamber president come the end of March.

“I think the things that Andy said were on point-- the city has challenges in the business community, but with the right leadership you can overcome a lot of things,” said Sterling.

Mckenzie spoke about other business leaders who have contributed in the past year.

“Wheeling has seen growth in its retail sales from many of the locally- owned small businesses like Avenue Eats and Cilantro to the larger businesses like Lowes, Kroger’s and the new Peebles in Warwood,” said McKenzie.

He commended Glenn Elliott, a business developer who reopened The Professional Building in downtown.

“I really do think there's a vibe going downtown, I’ve seen sign of investment, but we need to see more and I think the city's on the right page,” said Elliott.

Wheeling's mayor ended his speech on a positive note-- saying although the city must do more with less—the city leaders will make it work.

Mayor: Wheeling must do more with less

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