City Council appoints members to Fair Housing Commission
SALISBURY — After delays and concerns from residents about the council’s lack of action, the Salisbury City Council on Tuesday appointed three of its seven at-large members to the new Fair Housing Commission.
At a previous council meeting, several people questioned the lack of work done for fair housing in the city and said council members were waiting too long to make appointments. At Tuesday night’s meeting, another resident came forward to voice her frustration.
The council formed the commission at its Dec. 5 meeting to update U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s analysis of impediments regarding fair housing and also respond in citywide issues with affordable housing. The council began accepting applications in January but had not appointed any members until Tuesday’s meeting.
“It’s now March 19 and, to my knowledge, the at-large members are still to be selected,” Mary Walker said. “I don’t understand the delay. Did the city not receive adequate applications, and have these applications been studied?”
The Salisbury-Rowan NAACP also questioned the delay in an email to the city Tuesday, asking, “What is so important that you all have put housing crisis as a last priority on your agenda?”
“The people of Salisbury deserve not only answers but action from the City Council members,” said the letter signed by local NAACP President Gemale Black and housing committee chairwoman LaDonna Rankin.
The City Council approved Dick Palmore, Rocky Cabagnot and Keya Ruston as at-large members of the Fair Housing Commission. They will join four Human Relation Council members, four Housing Advocacy Commission members and one representative of the Salisbury Community Development Corp. in serving on the Fair Housing Commission.
Councilman Brian Miller gave a solution to filling the remaining four at-large vacancies and asked fellow council members to forward their nominations to City Clerk Diane Gilmore.
“What’s difficult about filling these spots is we don’t want to have conversations about this person or that person or why they should or shouldn’t be put on the board,” Miller said. “I would ask that we would push these names to the clerk so we can get a consensus on the remaining seats.”
Councilwoman Tamara Sheffield added that the process is similar to what the council does for other board and commission appointments.
Mayor Pro Tem David Post said some of the applicants have been appointed to other boards or commissions.
In other business:
• The council also approved a joint resolution with the Rowan County Commissioners regarding the alignment of a proposed Airport Parkway project.
City Engineer Wendy Brindle said the resolution would ask the North Carolina Department of Transportation to re-examine alignments on the west side of Mid-Carolina Regional Airport instead of the east. Brindle said the current west alignment would affect residents, businesses and the airport more than the alternative.
The resolution was passed unanimously.
• David Freeze presented a recognition for Salisbury being a Runner-Friendly Community from Road Runners Club of America.
Freeze said Salisbury was the only community in the state and one out of 50 in the country to receive the designation, which expires in 2023. Freeze commended the support of the government.
• Gavin Fleming was recognized by the Parks and Recreation Department for his Eagle Scout project to add a bridge over a creek at Salisbury Community Park. Fleming said the bridge is something he can be proud of for years.
• Several items on the agenda, including a proclamation for Women’s History Month and a presentation on the Salisbury Youth Council, were postponed because Mayor Al Heggins was absent.
• Council members thanked city staff members for their help with last week’s N.C. Main Street Conference.
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