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City Council to hear budget request from EDC

SALISBURY — RowanWorks Economic Development Commission will request a small budget increase from Salisbury when City Council meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The EDC will request $73,164 from the city, an increase of $5,308 from the current year’s budget.
After reducing its funding request two years ago, the EDC is asking each of its funding partners to return, over five years, to the funding formula adopted in 2004, Executive Director Robert Van Geons wrote to the city.
The EDC’s overall 2013-14 budget represents a $30,303 reduction from last year, Van Geons said. About 85 percent of cuts are in personnel and projected expenses, including the elimination of a part-time position.
In response to Salisbury’s request last year for a retail recruiter, the EDC created a new marketing position and hired Laura Jollay to promote Salisbury and Rowan County, and to promote and recruit retail, service and hospitality businesses.
The EDC operates with the smallest total budget — $474,7809 — and second lowest per capita funding average — $3.43 —when compared to peers like Cabarrus, Union, Catawba, Iredell and Lincoln counties, Van Geons said.
City Council will meet in City Hall at 217 S. Main St. The agenda also includes:
• Award a $32,800 contract to Martin Starnes and Associates CPAs for auditing services for 2013.
• Consider tougher landscape regulations to protect the tree canopy, including new rules regarding tree removal and replacement, as well as the protection of trees during construction. The amendment includes more trees required for new development and parking lot construction.
The Salisbury Planning Board voted 6-1 in March to recommend approval of the changes, with Randy Reamer dissenting.
City Council will hold a public hearing.
• Open public comment and receive 2013-14 budget requests from community groups.
• Consider beefing up regulation on boarded-up houses.
This was tabled at the March 19 council meeting, but there was a general consensus in support of the amendment from council members present. Seven citizens spoke in favor and one citizen opposed the amendment.
Council members will consider allowing the six-month deadline on boarded up houses to be extended if certain criteria are met.
• Hold a second reading and consider the former Salvation Army Thrift Store property, now Salisbury Power Equipment, from downtown mixed-use to corridor mixed-use.
Owner Wallace Properties is requesting the rezoning, which would save the sign in front of the business, but the building would still be non-conforming.
Salisbury Planning Board voted in February 10-1 to recommend approval, with Will Hasselmann dissenting.
City Council held a public hearing and considered this petition March 19 and voted 3-0 to approve the rezoning, which requires a second reading because two council members were absent.
• Hold a second reading and consider removing the parking restriction on the east side of Lake Drive between Annandale Avenue and Confederate Avenue.
• Hear a presentation on the proposed city dog park and upcoming fundraising kickoff event May 4.
• Consider approving demolition of the old GX Fitness building at 313 and 319 S. Main St.
The city owns the property, which it plans to sell to Integro Technologies for a new $4 million headquarters.
Because this property is surrounded by city-owned properties and the city is the applicant for the demolition, a hearing is not required. However, because the building is located in the Downtown Local Historic District, the permit can only be issued by City Council, not by the Code Services Division manager.
Once the permit is issued by City Council, Code Services Division will gather bids for demolition. The city will pay the cost of removing the building.
• Consider a request from Summit Developers to place a construction Dumpster on West Bank Street until June 30 for work at 300 S. Main St., Kress Plaza.
• Consider buying property adjacent to the city’s water intake at the confluence of the Yadkin and South Yadkin Rivers for $40,000.
City Council in 2010 authorized up to $100,000 in matching funds to participate in property acquisition near the water intake.
The LandTrust for Central North Carolina, in partnership with the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and other private contributors, has successfully negotiated the purchase of 10.12 acres, commonly referred to as the Point or the Springer property.
Salisbury-Rowan Utilities has sufficient funds in this year’s operating budget to purchase this property. Water-sewer rates will not change.
• Consider adopting declarations of official intent to reimburse expenditures regarding telecommunications equipment and infrastructure, as well as reimburse expenditures regarding property purchases and infrastructure improvements in the 300 block of South Main Street.
• Discuss City Council meeting times.
• Make appointments to various boards and commissions.
• Hear City Manager Doug Paris’s comments on outcomes and goals.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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