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Communities seldom stand still; they are continually growing, changing, and evolving. Waxhaw is no different and neither is Town Government. I wanted to take this opportunity to provide a progress update on a few of the major items.
Town Manager -- As most of you have heard by now, Warren Wood resigned as Town Manager effective March 31. A smooth transition to a new Town Manager is important, especially at a time when the Town is involved in complex growth initiatives. The transition process is underway.
We set a date of March 10th for all applications to be submitted. An interim Town Manager has been appointed. He will work with Warren during March to ensure a smooth transition. Beginning April 1, the Interim Manager will operate in full capacity until a permanent Manager is hired. The interview and selection schedule for a permanent Town Manager has been finalized. We expect to have our next manager named by mid-April.
Growth, Budget & Citizen Engagement –
Waxhaw established a vision several years ago to become a full service Town with a healthy residential and commercial mix, urban villages that blend in a variety of high-density residential uses and neighborhood retail across the community. That vision led Waxhaw to grow into a Town of 16,500 people. Our zip code – 28173 – which encompasses Waxhaw, Wesley Chapel, Weddington and Marvin, has a population 3 times the size of the Town limits of Waxhaw. This creates additional challenges on every front. This creates challenges on every front.
To better understand our citizen’s priorities, we are in the process of conducting a citizen survey. We did not anticipate the length of the postal delay and I apologize for the confusion that may have caused. Understanding what the citizens within the Town limits of Waxhaw see as priorities will help guide the Town Board in our immediate and long range planning. I hope you take advantage of the opportunity to participate. All surveys are due March 10!
Budget – Two years ago, we attached specific goals to the budget in order to establish process and accountability for how and where we were spending our money. While the survey will provide input, we also face the realities of addressing the additional financial stress growth places on a Town – from staffing to infrastructure, to park enhancements and transportation, and Main Street improvements. We have begun that process and have taken the steps with Warren and our interim manager to ensure we meet our obligation to produce our budget, share it with the public in May for input and approve the final budget by June.
On the growth front, Waxhaw for years has lacked a Growth Management System. Over the last 15 months the Town has invested over $500,000 to close many of these gaps. Over the next 4 months, we will complete another piece of this work by replacing our development ordinances, some of which date back to 2002. Times and places for the public reviews of these will be shared on our website.
Branding - Waxhaw’s branding work has been the focus of much attention recently. The Waxhaw branding is a comprehensive project. It reinforces our mission, vision, and values that leads the Town’s work in the future. It has determined the look and feel we want to convey on advertisements, event announcements, and event logos. It has beautifully updated our Town Seal, and wayfinding signage that proudly welcomes all to Waxhaw. It has enabled a redesigned responsive website that is viewable on the device of your choice.
And with branding we have determined the indoor and outdoor commercial décor influences and signage designs that we will require of developers to honor our heritage as the inevitable growth occurs.
Use of the term, “The HAW” – has become the focus of comments and questions and a petition was presented to our Town Clerk in February. We also offered the opportunity for all citizens to weigh in and have provided a safe and fair way for that feedback to be submitted and reviewed and continue to encourage citizens to send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org .
I assure you, we are listening and we will be reviewing all input from the community. The information will be analyzed and reviewed with conclusions and actions presented to the Board in early May. Until that time, the newspaper name will remain the same, HAW News.
Stephen Maher, Mayor of Waxhaw