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City Council changes procedural rules after months of deliberation

SALISBURY — After months of discussion, the Salisbury City Council members approved a new set of rules of procedure that addresses remote participation in meetings, when agenda packets should be shared and what items should be in the packet.

The council on Tuesday concluded its talks about the suggested rules with City Attorney Graham Corriher, City Manager Lane Bailey and City Clerk Diane Gilmore at a special meeting on Oct. 3.

“I just want to thank you, Mr. Corriher,” Councilman Brian Miller said. “Your role in this process helped us move forward considerably, and I think we said it at the special meeting but I want to say it again, how much I appreciate your involvement. I think we have a document here that will work for future councils in a very good manner. It allows them to have their own perspective on how certain things should work but also lives and breathes in a manner that I think is going to live a long time.”

“I’m happy to help,” Corriher responded. “I think this is going to go a long way to move the meetings along and address those issues.”

After approval of the procedural rules, Mayor Al Heggins expressed gratitude to the council and the committee that worked on them.

“I appreciate the council entertaining me when I brought this forward in January,” Heggins said.

The council agreed to discuss a public-comment resolution at its Nov. 20 meeting.

At the Oct. 3 meeting, members said having public comment at 6 p.m. during meetings is awkward since it cuts into the middle of the meeting. But they were unsure of a solution.

The council received a first-quarter financial report from Finance Manager Wade Furches, who said the city is right where it should be. Council members questioned how the sale of Fibrant will affect the fiscal year and the budget to allow for more money to groups.

Bailey said the city may have a tighter fiscal year.

“You had a couple of expenses to come up throughout the year that weren’t budgeted,” Bailey said.

Council members approved three budget ordinance amendments, including one for the Police Department to pay for hiring, training and vehicles.

Miller asked if the city needs to raise taxes to keep up with the hiring of six new employees in the Police Department. Chief Jerry Stokes said there are some startup costs, like adding vehicles. Bailey said it would be too early to tell, especially with the financial picture of Fibrant changing by January.

The council appointed Hugo Correa to the Community Appearance Commission.

No residents spoke during the public-comment period.

The City Council will next meet at 5 p.m. Nov. 6.

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