WOODBINE — Mayor William Pikolycky has a few words for the president of the United States, and on Wednesday, the mayor and about 75 other municipal officials from around the country will have the chance to share their thoughts with Donald Trump.
While Pikolycky said he received the invitation to the White House last week, the government shutdown initially threatened the meeting. It wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon that Pikolycky received confirmation of the Wednesday meeting.
According to the invitation, there will be an initial discussion with Trump, followed by a reception with federal agency representatives to give the mayors the opportunity to discuss issues in their municipalities.
The meeting may give the Woodbine mayor a chance to speak with the president, and Pikolycky said if given the chance, he will address both local and national issues.
“If I can talk to him directly, I’ll ask him about our own particular request for $5 million for our sewer upgrade in Woodbine,” Pikolycky said. “I’d also ask him to keep Small Cities funding available for municipalities.”
Pikolycky has sought and received grants over the years for several sewer upgrades from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The sewer project isn’t yet finished, Pikolycky said, and future grants are important to the borough’s residents.
“And funding for a municipality such as Woodbine from Small Cities is important to benefit the local taxpayer, because it means that we don’t have to lean on them to make improvements,” Pikolycky said.
Small Cities Community Development Block Grants are federal funds administered by state, and are meant to be used for economic development, housing rehabilitation, community revitalization and public facilities for people of low and moderate income. The grants also address the issue of slums and local needs that lack other funding sources.
Pikolycky said those grants are important to municipalities, because they can mean a lower tax rate at the local level.
“Also, our airport also requires FAA funding from year to year,” Pikolycky said. “I would make a suggestion to him that he keep that funding for the borough,” he said of meeting with Trump.
Most importantly, Pikolycky said, is federal funding for infrastructure, not just in Woodbine, but across the nation. Roads, bridges and streets are in need of repair, he said. Federal funds are critical in their multimillion-dollar upkeep.
With thousands of mayors across the country vying for the chance to be included in the Wednesday sit-down with Trump, Pikolycky said it was his own interaction with the federal government that netted him an invitation to “Mayors’ Day at the White House: a Conversation with Pres. Trump.”
“I’ve been dealing with the White House for the last six months about Woodbine issues,” Pikolycky said. “The advisor there felt that it was important that I be one of the 75 mayors sitting around the table with the president.”
Pikolycky said it wasn’t the first time that he has had the chance to speak with a president of the U.S.
“The last time it was a telephone conference with President Obama,” he said.
There were nearly 200 mayors on the call with Obama, but Pikolycky said he was still able to get his point across to the nation’s 44th president.
“Out of that telephone meeting, I was able to get nearly $1 million in stimulus money for our homes in Woodbine,” Pikolycky said. “Who knows what I can get with a face-to-face meeting with the president?”