New council sworn in

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Wake County District Judge Vince Rozier administered the oath of office to Raleigh’s mayor and city council members Monday night. The 2009-2011 term has seven returning faces, including John Odom representing District B who took a couple years off. This is the first time on the council for Bonner Gaylor, District E, who replaces longtime councilor Philip Isley. Isley decided not to run this year.

Both Odom and District C Councilor James West will serve their sixth terms.

A judge swears in the Raleigh mayor and city council.
Judge Vince Rozier swears in Raleigh’s mayor and city council.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, returning for his fifth term, commended the outgoing council for their successes “between the worst drought in a long time and the worst economic downturn in a long time.” Meeker pointed to the comprehensive plan and the redesign of Hillsborough Street as examples of what they accomplished.

Looking forward, Meeker laid out four goals for the next two year. First, he said, he wants to move forward with capital improvements like road widening projects and new buildings.

Meeker said the council should not let the national economy effect how the city moves forward. “Our goal is to be a stronger city when this recession ends,” he said.

Speaking specifically about the planned Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center, Meeker said the council could save tens of millions of dollars “if council has the courage” to approve moving forward. On Tuesday, the day after the swearing in, the council has a vote to approve an additional $2.8 million to move forward with the project.

Meeker said that he hopes to turn the Dorothea Dix property into a city park. He said the city would have a meeting with the governor’s office soon about Dix.

Meeker also said he hopes to make Raleigh more bicycle and pedestrian friendly and form a passenger rail task force to help promote new rail service in the city and the region.

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