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Salisbury City Council talks police chief, approves parking restrictions

By Amanda Raymond

amanda.raymond@salisburypost.com

The city manager gave the Salisbury City Council an update on the search for a permanent police chief and the council approved parking restrictions on two city streets during the council’s meeting on Tuesday at City Hall.

City Manager Lane Bailey said he had received around 50 applications, maybe more, from all over the country.

Some were chosen for further questioning, and from those answers Bailey said the field was narrowed down to “about a dozen.”

Bailey said the city is scheduling Skype interviews, even for those in the local area.

“We would like for everyone to go through the same process,” he said.

The interviews will start in the next couple of weeks and follow-up interviews will happen in May.

Councilman Kenny Hardin asked if there was an interview team or board involved.

Bailey said he and Assistant City Manager Zack Kyle are conducting the interviews. An ISS employee, many of whom used to work for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, is also helping with background checks.

“We have outside help, and that’s great,” Mayor Karen Alexander said.

Miller said it was important to note that the city is actively looking for a chief.

“We’re moving forward with our future plans with the police department and, again, the chief is very much central to that,” he said.

“And that’s important because then that chief will be very involved in building his or her team,” Alexander said.

Towards the beginning of the meeting, the council approved the adoption of an ordinance amending city code to limit parking on two city streets.

John Calvin Presbyterian Church requested to limit parking on a portion of Overman Avenue between West Innes Street and Brenner Avenue to two hours between 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Another citizen requested restricting parking at all times along the east side of Walker Street starting at Overman Avenue and ending 180 feet north of Overman Avenue.

A petition for the parking restriction on Overman Avenue showed that 62 percent of property owners were in favor of the change, and a petition for the restrictions on Walker Street showed that 100 percent of property owners were in favor.

According to the petitioners, people who park on the streets all day are causing safety issues for the area. Mailboxes are being blocked, the situation could create difficulties for emergency vehicles and there is limited visibility for parking lots and driveways.

The Engineering Department estimated that the costs of the man-hours and signage materials needed to complete the changes would be about $150.

Regarding the parking restriction request for Overman Avenue, Councilman Hardin asked why only 62 percent of property owners were in favor.

Vickie Eddleman, traffic engineering coordinator, said the applicants are responsible for getting signatures for the petition, so she did not know why the percentage of property owners in favor of the change was not higher.

Mayor Pro-tem Maggie Blackwell said for rental properties, sometimes it is difficult to get in contact with landlords.

“Oftentimes it’s difficult to get support from landlords, particularly if they’re out of town,” she said. “I don’t know if that was the case, but oftentimes, and I’m seeing nods in the audience, oftentimes that is the case.”

Eddleman said strong support is “anything over 50 percent.”

Hardin went on to say that he did not want to take police resources away from other issues to deal with parking violations.

“I want our officers to be able to patrol and take care of higher, pressing things,” he said. “I don’t want to continue to see us making parking patrols.”

After a motion from Blackwell, the council approved the parking changes with a 4-1 vote, with Hardin voting against the motion.

In other business, the council:

  • Presented a badge and shotgun to retiring Master Police Officer Alan Waller.
  • Approved the consent agenda, which included:
    • A Resolution of Support for the placement of a piano at the southwest corner of Innes Street and Main Street for the “Come Tickle our Ivories” Project from May 6 through September 30.
    • A budget ordinance amendment to the fiscal year 2014-2015 budget to appropriate revenue for the Public Art Committee in the amount of $63,925.
    • A budget ordinance amendment to the fiscal year 2015-2016 budget to appropriate funds received from Police Department Asset Forfeiture in the amount of $2,750.
    • An ordinance that will temporarily close Jake Alexander Boulevard starting at Lincolnton Road and ending on Statesville Boulevard at Brenner Avenue for the Buck Hurley Triathlon.
    • An ordinance that will temporarily close Old Concord Road between Monroe Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue for the Fur Fun 5K Run/Walk for the PAWS.
    • An ordinance that will temporarily close Main Street between Thomas and Fisher Streets for the George Washington Parade.
    • A concurring ordinance with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to amend the code for Jake Alexander Boulevard.
    • Offering the NC 457 Plan for part-time city employees.
  • Heard a presentation from the Community Job Fair Committee concerning the Community Job Fair on April 26. Dee Dee Wright said the fair will include more than 50 employers and the employers will be interviewing potential employees and offering positions during the fair.
  • Issued a permit for a pool hall called Break N Run Bar and Billiards at 612 S. Main St.
  • Approved a request for a projection over a public alley adjacent to 115-117 East Innes St., pending a hold harmless letter.
  • Made appointments to various boards and commissions.
  • Adopted the fiscal year 2016-2017 goals and objectives.
  • Heard a financial report for the third quarter of the current fiscal year.
  • During comments from the council, Hardin expressed concerns over the violence in the community. Instead of complaining, he urged citizens to get involved in fostering solutions.
    Blackwell and Councilman David Post talked about their experience at the Broadband Communities 2016 Summit in Texas. Blackwell said she learned that building a strong economic infrastructure to bring businesses into the area to use Fibrant is something the city needs to start doing.
    Post said he learned that building infrastructure and private-public partnerships is essential for the city to keep up with other cities that have their own broadband systems.

No one spoke during the public comment session.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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