Newly-elected Greenville mayor talks about next steps in process


GREENVILLE, Pitt County - Greenville saw a lot of change in leadership after Tuesday's elections.

In addition to three new city council members, there is also a new mayor after city councilman P.J. Connelly was elected. As he spent part of the day Wednesday catching up on work for his real estate business, the work he'll have as the new mayor is just beginning.

"It's a learning curve," Connelly said. "I got on the council in 2015 and it took a good 4-6 months to learn the ropes, so it's gonna be important that they're able to count on us and to help them out through the process and its important for the city so we can get things done."

Kandie Smith reclaimed her position as District 1 council member after filling in as interim mayor since July after Allen Thomas left for a job at the Kinston Regional Jetport. Smith said she's ready to collaborate with the other city leaders again.

"I see Greenville as continuing to move forward like we're doing, I don't see anything coming to a halt," Smith said. "I've been able to meet with everyone, talk to them, share ideas. Doesn't mean that we always agree on every single thing and we don't always think alike, but being able to express ideas openly and respecting each other so we can find that common ground."

That's crucial for Connelly and the newly-elected leaders when it comes to voting on items such as the city's budget. It's one of the first things city council members will work on in 2018. Both Smith and Connelly said the main goal is to accomplish the needs and wants of the citizens. That means members of the community will need to continue to be involved and voice concerns when they have them.

"In January, we're gonna go over the budget process and that's really really important for our city." Connelly said. "It's a two-year budget process and we'll sit down, we're gonna go through the wants and needs for the community.

"I'd like to see us invest more in our infrastructure. I think that we're getting there, we're getting close to where we need to be and we need to continue to allocate funds for that."