In New Bern Tuesday night, Dana Outlaw was sworn in as the next mayor, replacing Lee Bettis. Outlaw finished ahead of Alderman Sabrina Bengel in the runoff election, after the two faced off against 4 other candidates in the initial municipal election.
Along with Outlaw, there are three new faces to the board of Aldermen: Dallas Blackiston, Jeffrey Odham, and Patricia Schaible. Outlaw spoke with us about the new team which he says is ready to lead the city.
"We've all talked. We all want the best for New Bern. We love New Bern, but we might love it in different ways, but I think this is going to be a very good team," said Mayor Outlaw.
Outlaw says his first order of business is to try and transform the 5 Points gateway community. He says the goal is to develop its businesses and atmosphere to be similar to downtown New Bern.
We spoke with outgoing mayor Lee Bettis about his time in office. Bettis says as he hands over the reigns of the city to Outlaw he feels he's leaving New Bern in pretty good shape, but he says it wasn't easy. He says there was a lot of fighting and people getting mad, but he didn't care. He says things needed to get done and his priority was helping the citizens of New Bern, not whether he hurt someone's feelings.
"Accomplished absolutely everything I wanted to accomplish. When we started out, this city was near bankruptcy. We had a 6% general fund... Reserve. Our finances were where the state of North Carolina was about ready to take over our finances. We had no accounting. We were bloated. We got in, we set a goal of raising the general fund to 25%," said Bettis.
Bettis still has some legal issues to deal with. He was arrested and later indicted on DWI, reckless driving to endanger, and child abuse charges.
Dan Yesenosky spoke with Dana Outlaw Tuesday night and has his comments on WITN News at 11.