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Other City Council business

SALISBURY — City Council passed 10 rules on Tuesday for people speaking during public comment.

The city offers public comment during the second meeting of the month at 4 p.m. on the second Tuesday. Most of the rules were already common practice. City spokeswoman Elaney Hasselmann and Deputy City Clerk Kelly Baker said the city will publicize the rules on the city’s website, share them on social media, issue a press release and make copies available at meetings.

Speakers still have three minutes each, but people now can give their time to another speaker. No more than two speakers may combine time, and the same person may speak only once per public comment period.

Groups should elect a spokesperson to speak on their behalf. The mayor can extend someone’s time at his or her discretion.

Other rules include:

• Any materials the speaker wishes to distribute should be provided to the city clerk.

• Speakers will address council from the table using the microphone provided and begin remarks by stating their name and address.

• Public comment is not intended to require the council to answer impromptu questions. Council will not take action on an item presented during public comment. Council may refer inquiries to the city manager for follow-up.

• Speakers will discuss matters within the jurisdiction of Salisbury City Council.

• Speakers will not discuss matters regarding the candidacy of any person seeking public office.

• Speakers will be courteous in their language and presentation. Personal attacks will not be tolerated.

• Signs no larger than two square feet are permitted but cannot block the view of anyone.

• No one should approach the dais unless invited by the mayor or a City Council member.

In other business at Tuesday’s City Council meeting:

• Craig Hartley, executive director for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, recognized the Salisbury Police Department for receiving accreditation eight consecutive times for a total of 24 years. He presented a certificate to Chief Rory Collins.

Collins said the designation is important not only for the department and staff morale but also for the community. He said earning accreditation repeatedly takes a team effort and thanked his staff for their dedication.

• Salisbury High School’s Team Good Life discussed efforts to counter violence and bullying in schools. Members use artistic expression of all kinds including song, dance, drama and comedy to spread their message and are creating a 20-minute film for release later this spring.

Councilman Brian Miller thanked them for making a difference at the school his children attend.

“It takes a lot of courage to stand up to your peers,” Miller said.

Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell noted the group’s organization, including job titles for all members and division of duties. She said they are the leaders of the future.

Councilman Pete Kennedy invited the students to the dais to shake hands with elected officials, predicting “you may be up this way sometime in the future.”

• The city recognized Soldiers Memorial AME Zion Church in honor of its 150th Anniversary. The Rev. Dr. Grant Harrison said the church observed the anniversary all year with celebrations, an original hymn and more.

• William Peoples warned city officials that they will be to blame if someone is hurt while walking on Old Concord Road under the interstate overpass. Peoples said the city needs to “twist their arms” at N.C. Department of Transportation and Duke Energy to get lights and sidewalks on Old Concord Road.

“This is a life and death situation,” he said. “Don’t drag your feet.”

Blackwell said she and Woodson met with someone last week about the problem, which will cost $45,000 to fix.

“We are working behind the scenes to make this happen,” Blackwell said.

• City Council set a public hearing for June 3 for the Justice Assistance Grant, which would provide about $20,900 to Salisbury Police and about $13,300 to Rowan County Sheriff’s Office for equipment including cameras, portable alarm systems, binoculars and bulletproof vest panels.

• City Council canceled the July 1 meeting and will hold one meeting that month, July 15.

• Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell congratulated the Salisbury Youth Council on a successful year of tutoring and other service projects.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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