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Police department lays out uses for grant funding

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Police Department will formally ask that nearly $30,000 in federal grants be allocated for crime prevention and armory supplies at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Tuesday’s virtual meeting begins at 6 p.m. and can be streamed live via salisburync.gov/webcast, on Spectrum channel 16 or Hotwire channel 394 as well as on-demand at salisburync.gov/videos.

One grant amounts to $25,736 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, called the 2018 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant. In the agenda item request, Police Chief Jerry Stokes stated the department plans to use it to purchase data analytics software, ammunition training ads and evidence supplies for the new evidence vehicle.

The grant has been received, but must be appropriated by the city. In Stokes’ agenda item request, it states $21,236 would be used in the general fund line item “Crime Prevention” and $4,500 used for “armory supplies.”

The second budget ordinance includes appropriating $3,000 from the U.S. Secret Service to joint operations funds. The grant can be used to purchase equipment and training for the Criminal Investigations Unit. The grant would add an additional $3,000 to crime prevention in the department’s budget.

If approved, both budget ordinances would increase the 2020-21 fiscal year budget for the Salisbury Police Department. Funding to the police department amounted to $10.2 million for the current fiscal year, which is up from last year’s allocation of $9.8 million. That’s an increase of $374,781, or 3.82%, according to the 2020-21 fiscal year budget.

But at an Aug. 4 city council meeting, city manager Lane Bailey said while no raises were given this fiscal year, mid-year raises from the 2019-2020 budget year accounted for the larger amount in the 2020-21 budget, citing there was “essentially no difference” in the amount of funding.

Items on the consent agenda do not require discussion and are generally approved as a whole before moving to the regular agenda. However, items can be removed from the consent agenda and moved to the regular agenda for further discussion.

Also at the meeting, a public hearing will be held regarding first-class mail notification for public or evidentiary hearings, found in Chapter 15 of the Land Development Ordinance Text Amendment TA-01-2020.

Prior to 2018, all mailed notifications for public hearings were sent within a 100-foot radius from the subject parcel. It was then expanded to a 500-foot radius, which has “proven to be problematic for neighbors, for applicants and for staff,” according to Catherine Garner, the city’s senior planner.

Garner said in the memo that applicants are often frustrated that the required reimbursement fee is so high, which is based on the total number of envelopes sent. She added that city staff is struggling to keep up with processing the volume of notices, particularly for the Historic Preservation Commission meetings, which often have four or more cases per meeting.

The suggestion for council members to consider is reverting back to a 100-foot radius. At a Planning Board meeting on July 28, the board unanimously agreed to recommend the text amendment as proposed, Garner said.

Other items on the agenda:

  • Mayor Karen Alexander will proclaim the observance of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment ratification for Aug. 18, Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26, as well as Library Card Sign-Up Month throughout September.
  • Council members will consider authorizing city manager Lane Bailey to execute a contract with Hanes Construction Company for the Utility Cut Payment Repairs contract for no more than $120,000.
  • Council members will consider approving the purchase of a cellular data service for water meters from Badger Meter Inc. in the amount of $213,170, which is an annual budgeted amount.
  • Council members will consider adopting an interlocal agreement with the county for management of Coronavirus Relief Fund money in the amount of $449,868. The county is recommending the funds be used to meet payroll expenses for public safety employees. The city intends to submit its plan to the county prior to the due date of Sept. 1.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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