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Council to receive presentation on chemical agent ban, mural update

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — City council members on Tuesday will hear a presentation from Mayor Pro Tem Al Heggins that proposes banning the use of chemical agents by Salisbury Police officers.

The presentation previously was scheduled for the July 21 meeting, but Heggins postponed it to allow city attorney Graham Corriher to gather more information. Corriher said the memo sent to council members for the July 21 meeting included two attorney general opinions on whether the council can pass such an ordinance, and that he’d like to provide a “more thorough analysis.” Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes has also said he would share his comments on the proposal when it’s being considered.

Heggins’ proposal was sparked following a protest in which Salisbury Police used tear gas on June 1 to disperse a crowd of protestors who gathered downtown to protest racial injustice and police brutality following George Floyd’s death. Heggins, an Army veteran, has previously said she is proposing the ban of chemical agents such as tear gas because they are used for war and “we’re not at war with our residents.”

Also at the meeting, Heggins will update council members on the status of a project to paint a diversity mural downtown to “bring people together through a shared vision using the arts,” she said.

The plan is to convene a group of local artists to bring to the council their scope of the project, which would include a design idea, content, proposed location, timeline, costs and suggestions on any other experts needed. While Heggins wants a grassroots effort, council members said the Public Art Committee should be involved with the plans.

Anyone who wishes to speak during public comment must sign-up by 5 p.m. on Tuesday by contacting Kelly Baker at kbake@salisburync.gov or via phone 704-638-5233.

People who wish to watch the meeting can do so by visiting salisburync.gov/webcast.

In other business on Tuesday’s agenda:

  • The council will receive an update on utility billing delinquencies and collections related to Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Orders 124 and 142.
  • Council members will set a public hearing for Sept. 1 for the voluntary annexation of Rowan Woodland Apartments.
  • Council members will consider an application for a 2020 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) in the amount of $32,740.
  • Council members will consider a water billing credit for the town of East Spencer.
  • Council members will consider adopting a budget ordinance amending the fiscal year 2020-21 budget to appropriate the Fund Balance in the amount of $200,000 for Dixonville Cemetery, as well as authorize the city manager to execute an agreement with Unit Paving Inc. in the amount of $257,289.24 for Phase II of the project.
  • Council members will consider a right-of-way use permit for the use of sidewalk along North Main Street for work being performed at the Plaza Building through Nov. 3, as well as grant staff the ability to establish conditions as the project progresses.
  • Council members will consider the encroachment of three gas lights in the right-of-way adjacent to 226 South Jackson Street in accordance with Sections 22-18 and 22-19 of the City Code.
  • The council will consider endorsing the Human Relations Office as a sub-recipient of CARES Act Community Development Block Grant funding in the amount of $4,000 to purchase back-to-school materials and supplies for distribution at the Community Resource Fair.
  • Council members will consider approving UBS Financial Services to serve as an investment broker for the city and authorize Finance Director Shannon Moore and Finance Manager Wade Furches to initiate investment activity on behalf of the city.
  • Mayor’s comments include the annual Community Action Teams Community Resource Fair, which will be held Aug. 15 from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Civic Center located at 315 South Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue. To remain in compliance with COVID-19 precautions, families will drive through the parking lot to collect school supplies and other items from participating agencies. Walk-ups will also be welcome. For more information please contact Human Relations Manager Anne Little at 7040638-5218 or anne.little@salisburync.gov.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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