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City talks about grants, water usage

In other business
Salisbury City Council also dealt with:
• Considered the way the city spent $519,413 in federal Community Development Block Grant and HOME funds last year. No one spoke at the public hearing.
Rehabilitation of vacant or foreclosed homes for resale was a funding priority in four revitalization areas: West End, Jersey City, East End and Park Avenue. Improvements included rehabilitating more than a dozen homes, adding 40 parking spaces at Hall’s Gym and purchasing new playground equipment for Jersey City Park.
The city also loaned $150,000 to Westridge Village Phase II, a $7 million, 48-unit apartment complex for low-income people. Funds went to community groups like Rowan Helping Ministries and the Family Crisis Council, as well as a homebuyers’ education program through the Salisbury Housing Authority and a foreclosure prevention program through the Community Development Corporation.
• Named the flag concourse in City Park “Patriots Flag Concourse and Memorial.”
• Received public comment:
Rodney Queen said he will recommend to the Salisbury Planning Board that the city eliminate bonds for developers and institute a better way to guarantee construction of sidewalks in new neighborhoods.
Queen was the original developer of Olde Salisbury, a subdivision off Old Concord Road, which he sold. The subsequent developer failed to put in sidewalks, street trees and lights in part of the subdivision.
The city had to complete the work after collecting on a $16,348 guarantee.
“This is a problem all over, and not just in our city,” Queen said.
Darlene Blount handed out copies of the U.S. Constitution in honor of Constitution Week.
Clyde complained that he was charged $11 one month and $17.42 another month for water and sewer and other fees for a house he owns but doesn’t occupy.
Interim City Manager Doug Paris said he would meet with Clyde to discuss the bill.
Salisbury-Rowan Utilities Director Jim Behmer said minimum usage fees for water and sewer total $8.30 per month and cover the cost of someone reading the meter and help pay debt service on the city’s utilities.
• Heard from city engineer Jeff Jones, who said while other communities like Kannapolis and Statesville have imposed voluntary water use restrictions, Salisbury has an ample water supply.
The Yakin River Watershed, located north of Rowan County, neared the point a few weeks ago where the city would send an alert asking people to consider conserving water due to lower-than-normal supply. But the watershed hasn’t approached the level where the city would institute voluntary restrictions.
Take note of rainfall in places like Winston-Salem and Wilkesboro, Jones said.
“When it rains in Salisbury and Rowan County, that affects our water demands and what customers are using,” he said. “But when it rains north of us, it affect our water supply.”
Watershed and rainfall information will be posted on the city’s website soon, he said.
• Met in closed session for a personnel matter but took no action.

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