City Council to appoint advisory committee for Fibrant’s future

Published 12:10 am Monday, April 3, 2017

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — Fibrant’s future will be decided by a group of local residents.

As the Salisbury City Council continues discussions about selling, leasing or bringing in a group to manage its fiber optic network, it will appoint a group of residents to sift through details of interested companies. During its 5 p.m. meeting on Tuesday, council is scheduled to pick people for the advisory board.

The meeting will be at City Hall — 217 S. Main St.

It’s not yet clear who the Salisbury City Council will appoint to the advisory board. No names were listed in the agenda documents.

During a planning retreat on March 23, the council narrowed the list of Fibrant suitors from six to three. The council announced that an advisory board of residents, with council members’ advice, will narrow the list of businesses to one.

That advisory board would meet and discuss interested businesses in closed session, said City Manager Lane Bailey.

After the planning retreat, Bailey cited economic development protections in state law as a reason not to provide specifics about the proposals, including names and locations of interested businesses.

In January, the council announced its intent to seeks proposals to purchase, lease or manage Fibrant.

In other business on Tuesday’s agenda:

• Council will receive an update from Police Chief Jerry Stokes.

For the past several meetings, Stokes has provided updates about officer recruiting efforts, gun violence and other matters.

• Council will consider adopting a resolution to clarify rules for public comment.

After ample opposition, the council in March canned consideration of changes to its public comment period. The most significant part of proposed changes focused around the time when citizens would be allowed to speak during council meetings. Currently, the council allows resident to speak at the end of meetings or at 6 p.m., whichever comes first.

Tuesday’s agenda includes a resolution that makes minor changes to the comment period.

If changes pass on Tuesday, speakers will be required to fill out a sign-in sheet before 6 p.m. in order to speak during the public comment period. A person would be able to yield his or her time if the person signed up for public comment before 6 p.m. Currently, there’s no such requirement.

Another change would eliminate a requirement that speakers state their name and address at the start of remarks.

• Council is scheduled to approve a budget ordinance for $200,000 in grant funds that will go toward Morgan Ridge Brewery and Railwalk Cafe.

• Council is scheduled to approve a temporary road closure for South Main Street, between Innes and Bank streets, on June 3 for the Gallery Gallop Festival.

The closure will last from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Council will honor former Department of Transportation Board member Jake Alexander, who served on the board for four years.

Alexander’s term ended shortly after Gov. Roy Cooper took office.

• The council will receive a presentation about a job fair to be held on April 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

• The council will consider approving the 2017-2018 budget for Community Development Block Grant and HOME funds.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.