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Public hearing on city's proposed budget for 2009-2010 is Tuesday

By Mark Wineka
mwineka@salisburypost.com
Salisbury citizens will have a chance to comment Tuesday afternoon on the city’s proposed budget for 2009-2010.
Salisbury City Council will hold a public hearing on the budget proposal, which recommends reducing the property tax rate from 59 cents to 58 cents per $100 valuation.
But City Manager David Treme also wants to make garbage collection in Salisbury a separate, self-sustaining operation, and he has proposed charging residents $3 a month for the service.
After Tuesday’s public hearing, council has scheduled budget work sessions for 12:30 p.m. Thursday and, if needed, 10 a.m. Friday.
The proposed city budget, including all funds, is $62.3 million.
The budget proposal also includes a water-sewer rate increase, reduced funding for street resurfacing and cuts in city funding to various community groups.
Water-sewer rates would go up 4.57 percent, meaning the average monthly residential water and sewer utility bills would increase from $65.93 to $68.94, effective July 1.
Treme also has recommended a 7.5 percent decrease in funding for numerous community groups which annually receive an allocation from the city.
The budget proposal includes nothing for annual merit salary increases for city employees.
But it would use $180,000 in savings from the city’s wellness plan to give pay increases to employees in the bottom third of the salary schedule.
For now, the proposed budget also is depending on federal stimulus funds of $350,000 through the Community Oriented Policing Services grant program to pay for seven police officers.
Council meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 217 S. Main St.
In other agenda items Tuesday, council will:
– Hear a report from Livingstone College on activities associated with its Gang Prevention Grant.
– Hear a report from the Gang Prevention Core Group meeting held May 18.
– Hear a report regarding a Youth Protection Ordinance and set a public hearing for June 16.
– Hold a public hearing and consider an application from Steven R. Poole and Ashley Honeycutt to have pool tables at Attractions, 612 S. Main St.
– Hold a public hearing on Ken Harmer’s rezoning request at 718 Faith Road.
– Consider the proposed activities and budget for an extra $82,747 the city is eligible for in Community Development Block Grant funds. The money is coming from the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act.- Consider awarding a $733,343 contract to Triangle Grading and Paving Inc. and a $307,009 contract to RAM Development of Mooresville for the installation of sewer improvements in the 2007 annexation area of Majolica and Harrison roads.
– Consider awarding a $119,821 contract to Otis Elevator Co. to update the elevator at the City Office building at 132 N. Main St.
– Consider an ordinance reducing the speed limit in the Kings Forest subdivision.
– Receive an update on transit service to the Catawba College area.
– Hear a report from Treme on a new street festival policy.
– Receive an application from Daryl Dees and Brian Fox for a permit to have pool tables at 2168 Statesville Blvd. and set a public hearing for June 16 on the request.
– Receive an application from Julio Nunez for a permit to have pool tables at 425 E. Lafayette St. and set a public hearing for June 16.
– Recognize Engineer Bobby Burleyson as Veteran Firefighter of the Year; Fire Control Specialist Chet Hedrick, Rookie Firefighter of the Year; Master Police Officer Wiley Lamm, Veteran Officer of the Year; Police Officer Rebecca Sexton, Rookie Officer of the Year; and Police Dispatcher Dianna Gonzalez, Employee of the Year.
– Recognize Deputy Police Chief Steve Whitley, recipient of the Paul G. Wilson Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award, and Lamm, recipient of the Salisbury Police Officer of the Year Award from the Salisbury Optimist Club.
– Recognize the Salisbury High School boys track team as N.C. 2A state champions.
Council meetings are streamed live at www.salisburync.gov/council/webcast.html and shown later on Time Warner Cable’s Access 16.

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