Westover mayor discusses issues facing town

WESTOVER – Westover Mayor Larry Riggins talked about new homes and old homes in the town during a Coffee with the Mayor event on Thursday, Sept. 14.

The event was hosted by the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce at the ServPro Training Center off U.S. 280.

After participants enjoyed breakfast, Riggins discussed several issues facing the town, including the need to address abandoned, dilapidated properties.

“I would like for people to say as they drive through, that even though it’s small, that’s a nice city,” Riggins said.

The mayor said the number of building permits granted in 2016 increased from the previous year and that Westover is almost out of developed lots.

Pine Mountain Preserve would likely be a transformational development in the town, but after the 6,000-acre planned unit development was approved several years ago, progress has been slower than expected.

Construction has taken place on some of the development’s amenities, such as boathouses, Riggins said.

The availability of fast, reliable internet service continues to be a problem for residents, Riggins said and added that progress has been made, as most residents now have at least two options for providers.

“We have got to have 21st century internet, and we’ve got to have it all over the city limits,” Riggins said.

Westover officials have also worked to ensure high-speed internet can be provided to businesses interested in locating in the town.

“We can provide, one way or another, businesses that want to come into Westover with high-speed internet,” Riggins said.

The 2020 Census will be important for Westover, as officials did not think the most recent population numbers for the town were correct.

“We’re going to try to make sure we have every resident who lives in Westover accounted for,” Riggins said. “It takes a lot of work.”

The Census numbers are important for tax and grant purposes, Riggins said.

Several Westover officials attended the event.

Riggins thanked the city employees and officials for their “sense of pride and cooperation.”

“They’ve had an eagerness to help with anything I ask to do,” Riggins said.

Riggins also pointed to the Westover Town Council approving an “aggressive” budget that includes increased funding for fire department personnel.

“We saw the need of the volunteer fire department,” Riggins said. “We saw the need of providing emergency services.”

The Chelsea-Westover Homemakers provided food.