Westover mayor talks fire department improvements, economic development

Published 11:27 am Wednesday, September 26, 2018

WESTOVER – Westover Mayor Larry Riggins discussed progress with the town’s fire department and gave updates on items included in his campaign platform for the position at a Coffee with the Mayor event on Thursday, Sept. 20.

Riggins talked to local businesspeople at the White House in Westover during an event sponsored by the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce.

The mayor said the Westover Fire Department has been working to improve its ISO rating of 3 and introduced Fire Chief Brent Penny.

“For a department our size and a city our size, a 3 is pretty good,” Penny said but added that officials are not content with the rating, and recently added a second paramedic and is looking at equipment needs.

Colonial Pipeline donated two four-wheel drive vehicles—a pickup truck and all-terrain vehicle—to Westover Fire Department after such vehicles were determined to be a need and Penny sought local partners who might be willing to help.

After thanking the Kovakas family for providing use of the White House for the event and recognizing several town employees in attendance, Riggins discussed items included in his campaign platform for mayor, including the lack of high-speed internet service in Westover.

“We cannot have economic development in Westover without 21st Century internet,” Riggins said and added that the town is partnering with the Chamber, 58 Inc. and other organizations to address the issue. “We’re making some progress.”

Another campaign focus was dilapidated structures and overgrown lots, some of which have been addressed.

Riggins noted that Westover has seen 18-percent net cash growth year over year, mostly thanks to local businesses such as Dollar General.

“We want Westover to be a customer service city,” he said. “We’re going to manage money in a way that is best for residents and the community’s future.”

Because of the growth, some General Fund money has been moved into cash reserves.

A renovation and expansion of Westover City Hall is in the works, Riggins said, and the town’s planning commission recently approved 120 new home sites.

Other progress in Westover includes the library purchasing many new books and an annexation of about 350 acres in the southern part of town that will be used in part for athletic fields that Riggins called “desperately needed” as youth leagues currently play on fields owned by other municipalities in the area.

In closing, Riggins noted that the Westover Christmas parade will be held Dec. 8.