On March 12, the New Bern Post called for local governments to take leadership in the face of the spreading and deadly COVID-19. They said they are going enough, denied anyone local was being tested, and said they were waiting for the state for guidance. Within two days, Craven County had one COVID-19 case and, under a governor executive order, went to distance learning for K-12 and banned mass gatherings of 100 or more. Meanwhile, other cities, counties, and school districts in the state WERE taking local initiative. Waiting for cases to appear is too late. The key is prevention. According to Dr. John Campbell,Read More →

It is imperative that the City of New Bern lead in setting an example of social distancing and doing our part in reducing the risk to our citizenry and minimizing the impact on our local health care providers. With cases growing in number throughout the state, the City is taking proactive measures to assist with “flattening the curve” to help protect the health and well-being of our citizens. All staff will report Monday morning for duties and work will be performed as required to continue providing our citizens with expected high levels of service. However, changes to our normal way of providing such services mustRead More →

Mayor Outlaw and Aldermen, I wanted to give each of you an update as to preparations that are taking place internally and externally for the City of New Bern.  As you know, the City does not play the lead role in this type of pandemic outbreak.  This responsibility is with the Federal, State, and County governments.  Locally, much of the decisions and lead are provided at the County level with the Craven County Health Department.  However, the City will play a vital role in maintaining its operations and continuing to provide services to our citizens, as well as, support the County as requested when asked. Read More →

Mayor Outlaw and Aldermen, I know many of you are getting questions regarding the coronavirus and possibly heard of rumors circulating around town regarding several topics. This email will hopefully clear up some of that and provide some information you may need to assist your constituents with accurate up-to-date information. First, let me address some of the rumor mill information that is going around in our area so we can get that out of the way. Then I will discuss some of the operations and staff actions that we are taking to ensure our preparedness for Covid-19. Rumor Mill 1. City facilities closing This isRead More →

Residents in the Ghent neighborhood are begging for help from City Hall to do something about cars using residential streets as cut-throughs, raising the question, why wouldn’t City Hall help? Could it be that City Hall doesn’t want to be seen as responsive when residents ask for help? That’s actually been an argument (“We don’t want to help you because then we’d have to help everyone”). Could it be that City Hall thinks that throttling back on Ghent cut-through traffic will only push the problem elsewhere? (That actually happened recently when through-traffic was blocked and cars — temporarily — used nearby streets as a detourRead More →

Ever since Jeffrey Odham, then a candidate for Ward 6 alderman, ran on a campaign of running city hall like a business, I was apprehensive. Once he took office, I started to see exactly what he meant. He wasn’t talking about a business that puts customer satisfaction first. He was talking about the American concept of business efficiency — low cost, high profit, declining customer service, cut-throat competitiveness, and poor responsiveness to customer needs and wants. There are numerous examples that bear this out. There’s the example of City Hall pushing the Firemen’s Museum out of its old location on Middle Street into the oldRead More →

New Bern aldermen will start discussion on Tuesday over whether to change the method used to elect aldermen and the mayor from the nonpartisan election and runoff method it has been using, to the nonpartisan plurality method. Under the present system, a candidate avoids a runoff if he/she wins 50 percent of the vote plus one extra vote. The proposed system proclaims whomever wins the most votes as the winner. If the city used this proposed method in the 2009 municipal election, then-Mayor Tom Bayliss would have won reelection, since he was the top vote getter in a three-way election. Lee Bettis came in second,Read More →

N.C. DOT work on U.S. Highway 70 and the Pembroke Road offramp on Monday caused the worst traffic jam in Downtown New Bern in decades on Monday. The roadwork included closing down the Pembroke offramp. The repaving and repair work being done on U.S. 70 has caused backed up traffic, but the offramp closure compounded the problem by an order of magnitude. Some motorists had a great idea. Instead of slogging through backed up traffic on 70, they opted to take surface streets and go through the downtown. “Some” being defined as thousands. The ensuing traffic all converged on the two-lane Cunningham Bridge, creating aRead More →

CITY OF NEW BERN BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING FEBRUARY 26, 2019 – 6:00P.M. CITY HALL COURTROOM 300 POLLOCK STREET   1. Meeting opened by Mayor Dana E. Outlaw. Prayer Coordinated by Mayor Outlaw. Pledge of Allegiance. 2. Roll Call   Consent Agenda 3. Consider adopting a Resolution Calling for a Public Hearing to Rezone 4526 US Highway 17 South. John Thomas of Thomas Engineering has requested 2.40+/- acres located at 4526 US Highway 17 South be rezoned from R-20 Residential District to C-3 Commercial District. The property is further identified as Tax Parcel 8-206-079, which is located in the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. It is requested aRead More →

Request will be made at Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting New Bern community members and non-local activists will urge the New Bern Board of Aldermen to “Ban the Box” for hiring city employees at its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 12. “Ban the Box” is a hiring practice that encourages employers to identify potential hires with the best skills and experience and delay asking applicants about their criminal records until after a conditional offer is made. Durham and Carrboro are among cities in North Carolina that have already adopted this “fair chance” hiring practice. Ban the Box is a movement started in the early 2000s byRead More →