Following a morning swearing in ceremony at his childhood elementary school, the city of Wilmington’s newest mayor, Dennis Williams addressed city council during a formal Inaugural ceremony at the Baby Grand Theater in downtown Wilmington.
A beaming Dennis Williams, who was also celebrating his 60th birthday, addressed supports, friends, family and his newest co-workers, 13 members of Wilmington’s city council.
During his formal inaugural ceremony Williams continued his tough stance on crime, saying it’s the number one issue on his agenda.
“We have a gun problem in this city that is beyond reproach, we have a homicide rate in this city that is beyond reproach, a city with a 9.5 mile geographical area, it is totally, totally ridiculous for it to be the way it is in a city so small,” said Williams.
He said the city has plans to work with those who “want to put their guns down and turn their lives around” by helping them get into GED and work training programs.
“If these folks do not want to comply, we will arrest them, we will go after them, we will get guns off the street because citizens who reside in this city should not be held captive, they should not feel unsafe, they shouldn’t feel that their kids can’t go to the swimming pool,” he said. “They shouldn’t feel that their kids can’t go to the playground. Our senior citizens should be able to sit on steps and read the newspapers; they shouldn’t have to run home from the bus stop. If I don’t clean this up, I don’t need this seat.”
Also on Mayor Williams agenda is figuring out how to manage the city’s $4.5 million budget deficit. He said he plans to cut duplicate contracts and look for way to bring more work “in house.”
“We will look at eliminating contacts where we have out of state doing our booting, which we have people in this city who can do that job,” said Williams.
Williams added that his reputation with state leaders will also help bring funds to the city.
“We (his administration) want to work with city council, we want to work with them side by side to get this city turned around,” he said. “We will work with the general assembly where I still have a lot of friends and a great reputation. Where I can go down and not ask the governor for an appointment. I can go down and get funding for our city because they know it’s going to be spent properly.”
During his address, Williams also talked about his plans for the community’s youth, saying he’s planning for more programs in the parks and recreation department.
“It’s about tutoring children, turning their lives around, putting them in a tutorial program, getting them involved in things in their community, getting them involved in job training and letting them understand that carrying a firearm is nothing but sudden death or going to prison,” said Williams. “These are the things now we’re going to be doing with our youth.”
Williams said the city should plan to see a noticeable difference within six to seven months.