Residents ask city to crack down on crime, neglected property
By Mark Wineka
The Old North Salisbury Association has asked the city for stricter code enforcement in its North Main Street area of the city.
The neighborhood’s request dovetails with recent Salisbury City Council budget action, which allocated funds toward hiring a code enforcement manager and a code specialist.
City Manager David Treme also will be creating a new Code Enforcement Division, bringing together existing personnel from four departments and putting them in one location.
The division will fall under the Land Management and Development Department.
Sue McCue, current head of the Old North Salisbury Association, brought the neighborhood’s concerns to council during a public comment period Tuesday.
The organization is pressing for tighter code and police enforcement to address neglected housing and appearance, nuisance and criminal issues.
The Neighborhood Leaders Alliance, an offshoot of the Community Appearance Commission, has lobbied council to address the same issues, especially in regard to rundown housing.
In news related to another city neighborhood, Police Chief Mark Wilhelm and Doug Paris, assistant to the city manager, recently met with the regional, district and lost prevention managers for Wilco-Hess to discuss concerns about numerous police calls to the East Innes Street store and its surrounding area.
Paris and Wilhelm said they laid important groundwork with the company representatives to begin making improvements.
“The meeting went exceptionally well,” Paris said.
Treme added, “I think we are off to a good start.”
Councilman William “Pete” Kennedy said he would be looking for some improvement in the area of the store.
In other city news, council has approved an interlocal agreement with Rowan County, China Grove, Landis and Kannapolis to establish a fixed route bus service linking Salisbury with those other municipalities.
If followed through on, the service will be called Rowan Express. The municipalities and Rowan County have been working on the three-year demonstration project, which would have a total cost of $450,000, through the Cabarrus-Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Rowan County would serve as administrator for the service and dedicate two vans from the existing Rowan Transit System fleet.
A federal matching grant, administered through the N.C. Department of Transportation, would pay for 80 percent of the costs, or $360,000 over the three years.
The four municipalities would pick up the remaining $90,000, or $22,500 each ó $7,500 per municipality each year.
Kennedy said any time the community can get cars off the highway, save gasoline and reduce emissions, it’s a plus.
Mayor Pro Tem Paul Woodson said it was “a great thing” to be linking public transportation (in Salisbury and Kannapolis-Concord) together.
In other city business Tuesday, council:
– Approved $7.6 million in revenue bonds for the second phase of improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plants.
– Awarded a $300,000, 90-day contract to Carolina Siteworks for redoing the tennis courts at City Park.
– Learned that city employees had raised $3,374.41 in their March of Dime campaign and came in fourth overall among competing organizations.
– Recognized Capt. Eddie White of the N.C. Highway Patrol for receiving the Paul G. Wilson Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award. He retired in January as Troop E commander, based in Salisbury.
– Recognized Joe Miller as Veteran Officer of the Year for the Salisbury Police Department. Miller started with the Police Department in August 1998 as a dispatcher, before becoming a sworn officer in December 2000. He is assigned to the traffic safety unit.
– Recognized Robert Gaither as Rookie Officer of the Year. He joined the Police Department June 25, 2007.
– Recognized dispatcher Crystal Trexler as Employee of the Year for the Police Department. The South Rowan High graduate has been with the Police Department since Sept. 19, 2005.