Fountain Inn Mayor GP McLeer
Earlier this month, the Fountain Inn City Council held our annual retreat. It offers a chance for us to talk about our goals, re-focus our efforts, and helps set the tone for the year – I look forward to our retreat each year for these very reasons. This year’s retreat was particularly successful in my opinion. By the end of our meeting, we emerged, I think, with a stronger and more unified vision of what Council’s priorities are for the year. Our community should know that this Council does not have a fragmented vision, unnecessary schisms, or ulterior motives – this Council is working, together. I’m blessed to work with our six Council members and all 135+ members of our staff.
We started our retreat though by reflecting on the year behind us – 2020. COVID-19 of course threw a wrench into every single person’s year in some way or another. Most tragically, members of our community got sick, and some passed away from this terrible virus. We also saw intense political divisiveness around the important issues of race, policing, and elections. Our community, like every community, has had to wrestle with all of this.
But in a year dominated by negative headlines, tragic events, and divisive politics, we began our Council Retreat noting just how resilient our Fountain Inn community is – that even among all of the bad, there were many things that happened in our city that we should lift up.
We Cut Ribbons On Eight New Small Businesses In 2020:
- Tacos & Bla Bla Bla
- Village Play
- Cheeky Tees
- Cakes to Dye For
- Howard’s Pharmacy
- Latitude Sticker Co.
- Steam Coffee & Cream (New Owners)
The Industrial Community Near Our City Grew By Over 100 Jobs And Over $19 Million In Investment.
- Meiden American Switchgear ($8 million, 41 jobs)
- Setterstix ($11.7 million, 95 jobs)
- The first Class A Business Park in Greenville County in almost 20 years is under construction – Fox Hill Business Park, located right in Fountain Inn.
- This doesn’t include the recent announcement by ZF of their $200 million investment, and the creation of 500 jobs.
We Made Needed Improvements To Existing City Facilities.
- Emanuel Sullivan Sports Complex was completed and opened in the summer.
- Parking and landscaping improvements wrapped up at our Municipal Court building.
- New roofs and/or roof repairs were made on both of our Police and Fire Stations.
- Renovations inside our Activities Center were completed.
- New wayfinding signage was installed throughout the City.
- The Capital Project Sales Tax that was passed by Laurens County residents in November will result in upgrades to Sanctified Hill Park and our I-385 Exit 22 interchange.
Upgraded Equipment For Our Departments.
- Two new Public Works vehicles – one for yard debris, one for trash pick up.
- 800mhz radios for our public safety crews were purchased and put into service, allowing our crews to coordinate with public safety officials across the county.
- Our Police patrol vehicle lease program is nearly complete, giving our officers updated equipment on a reliable cycle.
Better Working Environment For Employees.
- A 3% raise for all employees was approved in June of 2020.
- We committed to the State Health Care Plan (PEBA) for all employees, saving many of our employees hundreds of dollars every month.
- We hired a new HR Director and stopped outsourcing all HR functions to an external firm.
Greater Transparency For Our Government.
Our new City website was designed in 2020 and will be released within a month – it will be much easier to use and allow the public to access information quickly and efficiently.
This last year wasn’t without its challenges, but it’s important for our community to know that the City of Fountain Inn remains focused on doing good work, and ensuring Fountain Inn continues to be the best small town in America.■