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Council to hear financial update, report on The Abbey

By Amanda Raymond

amanda.raymond@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The Salisbury City Council will hear a report from the city manager on the financials of the second quarter of the fiscal year and a report from a council committee for The Abbey during its meeting on Tuesday at 217 S. Main St. at 5 p.m.

City Manager Lane Bailey went over the figures from the first quarter of the fiscal year with the council in November. For the first quarter, revenues for the general fund, which is budgeted at about $42.1 million, were at 34 percent. Expenditures were at 23 percent.

There were two sets of figures presented for the fund for Fibrant, the city’s fiber optic network. One set of figures included the refinancing of Fibrant’s debt and showed revenues at about $31 million and expenses at about $33.9 million. Without the refinancing, revenues were about $2 million and expenses were about $1.8 million.

The water and sewer fund for the first quarter showed revenues at 31 percent and expenditures at 20 percent. The fund is budgeted at about $23.1 million.

The transit fund fare revenue was budgeted at $80,140 and 30 percent had been received in the first quarter. The expenses for the fund were budgeted at about $1.7 million and 16 percent had been expended.

The storm water fund was budgeted at $1.4 million and showed revenues at 25 percent and expenses at 15 percent.

A council committee will also give a report on a land development ordinance and district map amendment to The Abbey, a wedding venue that will eventually be at 128 N. Fulton St.

The owners of the property, Lori and Michael Dienfenbach, asked for an amendment to the wedding venue’s conditional district overlay to allow religious institutions to operate anywhere on the property and exempt those institutions from the hours of operation restrictions for The Abbey.

The hours for a future support services building were limited to 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday.

But The Refuge, a church that had been holding services on the property before the Diefenbachs bought it, continued to hold youth activities on Wednesday nights from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The children play basketball and other social activities in the parking lot for the first 30 minutes. They then hold small group discussions in the future support services building.

There have been complaints about noise and that the Diefenbachs have not held to the property’s hours of operation. Lori Dienfenbach has said they never meant religious institutions to be restricted by the venue’s hours of operation.

Preston Mitchell, Planning and Development Services manager, has said weddings by The Refuge would be considered separate from the weddings performed by The Abbey. If The Refuge began to hold weddings for The Abbey to avoid the hours of operation, Mitchell said code enforcement would handle the matter.

The council decided to send the item to a special committee, led by council members David Post and Brian Miller. They will present their recommendation to the council at the meeting on Tuesday.

In other business, the council will:

  • Consider making appointments to boards and commissions. There are currently two vacancies on the Tree Board and a vacancy for a city alternate and ETJ area resident alternate on the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
  • Hear public comment.
  • Hear other comments from the city manager.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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