As I frequently drive the neighborhoods of Hertford, I see much to be proud of. Things are quiet in our beautiful town.
The streets are mostly clean and citizens are safe.
Yes, we have some blighted houses and potholes, unemployment, the pandemic, curfews, embarrassing Council meetings and negative press, but we are not unique. These are issues prevalent across the country.
Because of these unsettling events I believe it’s time for Hertford to receive some good news and provide an update that focuses on the positive and shares some of the initiatives that support the progression of Hertford.
Over the past 14 months there were many initiatives relative to infrastructure, housing, beautification, citizen safety, community outreach, the COVID-19 pandemic, communications, policies and personnel, waterfront development, Community planning and economic development. Provided is an update of what was accomplished. This is the first of a series of GOOD NEWS – Unity in the Hertford Community updates:
Infrastructure, Housing and Beautification:
• Approved Forgiveness Policy that provides a fair and equitable process when forgiveness of town debt is requested. We reduced Nuisance Fees to make it easier to purchase and sell homes. These initiatives also support economic development.
• Forwarded lien accounts to ZLS, a law firm that specializes in foreclosures, nuisance fees and liens to increase revenue. This effort will also help beautify the town by claiming property for improvement or claiming plots for affordable housing and other venues that will benefit all citizens.
• Our Hertford Police Department (HPD) has begun to perform Code Enforcement to clean up debris and ensure citizens are following town ordinances in the appearance of their homes, e.g., West Railroad is looking much better. This is a beautification effort.
• We paved two dirt roads in Meads Trailer Park, as well as paved and installed speed bumps on King Street. This was most importantly for the safety of our citizens, but also to beautify our town.
• Acquired a VAC truck for Public Works to make their jobs easier, sweep and clean our streets. This is an ongoing beautification project.
• Contacted the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) several times to pave the Church Street gateway off of Route 17. This is our curb appeal, our first impression entering Hertford. We want this correction, now, not to wait until the completion of the new S-Bridge, target date in 2022.
• When there were multiple shootings in Hertford that imposed a curfew for the safety of children, seniors and all Hertford citizens. We conducted a very successful citizens’ town hall with the HPD to address concerns and solicit citizens’ input to improve services.
• Surplus old HPD guns and replaced with new, approved a new HPD Corporal position and acquired bullet proof vests for our Police officers all to ensure the safety of our officers and improve service to our citizens.
• Paid 911 FY2018 bill. Collaborated with the County and thankful for the excellent service provided by the PQ County Management Service (EMS) especially for COVID-19 communications for the two gas leaks. The HPD and the Hertford Fire Department were also very instrumental during the two gas leaks. As a result of everyone’s support our residents were kept safe, we did not lose service and waterways were not affected.
Community Outreach and the COVID-19 Pandemic:
• Appointed a Hertford Housing Authority (HHA) resident to the Board to ensure their voices are heard and their concerns are addressed in the decision making process.
• Identified and assisted Hertford citizens to apply for the Albemarle Commission Essential Single-Family Rehab Loan Pool Program (ESFRLP) for home rehabilitation. The first Hertford home repair will begin, March 2021.
• Entered into a relationship with the Elizabeth City Youth Build Program to provide GED training and teach occupational trades to our citizens, to include free transportation.
• Fed approx. 1500 Hertford citizens at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic in support of our citizens.
• Approved the distribution of CARES funds among Hertford small businesses to help maintain their businesses. These were awarded to small businesses who applied for the grants.
• We celebrated Christmas with a drive by parade, Church Street was beautifully lit, Historic Hertford, Inc. (HHI) with the help of our Public Works Department decorated our downtown and our residents again installed lighted Christmas trees along our Perquimans River. Our children still celebrated Halloween, practicing social distancing and participated in a Pumpkin Painting contest. And, we also had a Fourth of July parade and Martin Luther King parade.
Hertford belongs to EVERY resident living within its nine miles radius. Hertford is the municipality within Perquimans County. Ongoing collaboration is underway to enhance services.
Yes, there is still much to be done, but with everyone’s persistence, collaboration, resilience, hard work and faith we can reach our fullest potential.
My prayer for Hertford’s future is aimed at all the love we can stand and to achieve.
UNITY IN THE HERTFORD COMMUNITY.