Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie said the city’s safety forces have a tougher job than ever.
He said after right-sizing city government last year, their retirement will now be secure.
But he said now the city needs to make their paychecks bigger so they don’t leave for other places.
“City Council, we are challenged to find the resources to pay our officers a living wage to ensure they stay here and continue to serve our community,” he said, addressing council members sitting together at a table.
He praised the latest contract that keeps the Wheeling Nailers at Wesbanco Arena through 2018.
And he praised changes in the tax structure that have allowed a $6.4 million dollar investment in the arena.
“These enhancements will help us keep and attract new shows, conferences and events,” he noted. “Tickets sold to more events mean more people in our restaurants and hotels, spending more money in our city.”
He welcomed the new owners of an old business, Warwood Tool.
“We just feel very fortunate for us to not only have a business like Warwood Tool but to be able to have that in a city that Local and I care so much about,” Phillip Carl, new co-owner of Warwood Tool responded afterward.
And the mayor welcomed new businesses.
“Wheeling Brewing Company,” he listed. “Cookie Pops, Happy Goat Yoga, Stadiums, Vagabond Kitchen and Second Life Arborist.”
“And there’s more momentum and positive energy than ever before,” responded Matt Welsch, owner of Vagabond Kitchen. “So it’s wonderful to be a voice in that chorus.”
More praise went out to the continuing transformation of the historic Capitol Theatre.
And festivals, especially the Upper Ohio Valley Italian Festival, were commended.
The mayor said there’s a new energy, a new enthusiasm in Wheeling.