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Salisbury City Council to look at adopting 2018-19 budget

By Andie Foley
andie.foley@salisburypost.com

The Salisbury City Council on Tuesday will consider adopting a budget for the fiscal year 2018-19.

The proposed budget includes a recommended one-cent tax increase, which city manager Lane Bailey said would “maintain existing services at current levels.”

This one-cent increase would lead to a tax increase of $13.55 annually for owners of $135,000 homes, the median home price in the city.

The budget also calls for a 2.15 percent increase in water and sewer rates, an average increase of $1.45 per month for residential water and sewer customers using 5,000 gallons.

Tuesday’s meeting follows a nearly six-hour work session held last Wednesday, wherein the council and city staff made two final adjustments to the proposed budget.

These adjustments included an extra $26,200 allotment for a new STEM teacher leadership program and an extra $20,000 to the Human Relations Council Budget.

In other business from Tuesday’s agenda:

  • The council will consider awarding a contract to Downtown Salisbury, Inc. to manage and administer the Main Street program within the Downtown Municipal Service District.

Downtown Salisbury, Inc. has managed the Municipal Service District funds and programs for more than 30 years and is an accredited Main Street program.

Since 1980, the organization has brought $128 million in private investment and a net 1,100 jobs to the area. It has also developed and sustained more than 343 net businesses in the Municipal Service District.

The proposed contract award amount would total $135,000 or an amount equivalent to the Municipal Service District taxes to be received in the 2019 fiscal year.

  • The council will be presented a Fair Housing Testing report.

The city contracted with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Fair Housing Project to conduct the tests, seeking to follow up on the 2014 analysis of impediments to fair housing. The 2014 analysis recommended Fair Housing Testing to gauge the prevalence of housing discrimination occurring in the city.

The Fair Housing Project determined sites to be tested, proceeding with multi-family rental housing communities. In total, six matched-pair rental tests were administered to gauge race discrimination, and four matched-pair rental tests were administered to gauge national origin discrimination.

Confirmation of discrimination would indicate a need for more robust education and awareness as well as intervention by state agencies in identified cases.

  • The council could vote to rezone one tract along the west margin of Earnhardt Road from urban residential to general residential.

The rezoning would permit a 150-lot subdivision expansion of  Drummond Village. The down-zoning reduces the allowed density of homes in the area but grants more suburban design elements over restrictive urban design elements.

Council could vote to approve a voluntary annexation for the same project.

  • Council members will hear a report on the Cheerwine Festival.
  • Council will consider the boarding of four vacant and abandoned structures, as the Salisbury Police Department and Code Enforcement have received several calls regarding open doors and trespassing.
  • The council could appoint seven people to five local boards and commissions.

These include the Alternate Methods of Design Commission, the Community Appearance Commission, the Human Relations Council, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Planning Board.

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