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Kannapolis council delays budget approval

By Susan Shinn

For The Salisbury Post

KANNAPOLIS — A delay in finalizing the agreement for the purchase of Downtown Kannapolis by the City of Kannapolis resulted in a delay to approve the 2015-16 budget.

Both issues should be resolved next Monday evening, according to City Manager Mike Legg, at which time last night’s City Council meeting will be continued.

The budget and the downtown purchase are intricately linked. For example, next year’s budget, set at some $59,539,383, includes the establishment of a Downtown Fund to facilitate the acquisition and revitalization of the 49-acre downtown. That fund has been set at $1,987,825.

Meanwhile, council held a brief public hearing last night on establishing a Municipal Service District, then voted unanimously to establish the district. Several members of the audience did not understand what such a district was, they told council.

A Municipal Service District (MSD), according to Finance Director Eric Davis, is a defined geographic area within which downtown revitalization projects can be funded by special obligation bonds. Only projects within the MSD can be completed with these bonds.

The MSD has no effects on any property owners who live nearby, Legg said. “A Municipal Service District can be used as a revenue source, which we are not doing, or it can be created to purchase bonds to buy the downtown from David Murdock. We have to establish a district to borrow the money and use funds in this district — and only in this district.”

Councilman Roger Haas reiterated this point, and also verified that any future wayfinding and entranceways had to be included in the district. Additionally, there are no additional restrictions on the use of the property, and no additional taxes in this district.

“Can we expand or contract the boundaries once the district is set?” he asked City Attorney Wally Safrit.

“You can, but you’ll have to go through the same thing you are tonight,” Safrit said.

Councilman Tom Kincaid verified that all zoning within the MSD remains the same.

Because negotiations for the purchase of Downtown Kannapolis were not complete, Hinnant opened the public hearing regarding the intent of council to purchase tracts of property downtown, but then council immediately voted to continue the hearing to 6 p.m. Monday, June 29, at the Train Station, 201 S. Main St.

At next Monday’s meeting, Legg said that the City Council would receive some alternatives to funding additional personnel for the Police Department, as was discussed extensively at the June 8 meeting. However, as Legg said at that meeting, funding would have to come from other parts of the budget.

In other business, council voted unanimously on the following:

• Funding recommendations totaling $326,534 in CDBG funds. Grants awarded included: $15,000 to the Cannon YMCA for a Share the Harvest Program, with produce to benefit Cooperative Christian Ministries and Meals on Wheels; $15,000 to Vision for Life for a summer feeding program and afterschool tutoring for EOG readiness for students in grades 2-8. Receiving grants of $3,000 each: Academic Learning Center, Cooperative Christian Ministry, Cabarrus Meals on Wheels, Community Free Clinic, Junior Charity League and Operation Homeless, Inc.

• The appointment of Katherine Fitzgerald and the reappointment of Amos McClorey to the Community Development Commission.

• The appointments of Nancy Rutledge, Jeff Ashbaugh and Richard Chaney and the reappointment of Cindy Griggs to the Parks and Recreation Commission.

• The reappointments of David Baucom and Allan Overcash to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

• The reappointments of Jeff Parker, James Palmer and Colby Meadows to the Board of Adjustment Commission.

• The reappointment of Boyd Hardin as extraterritorial jurisdiction representative on the Rowan County Board of Adjustment.

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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