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City council to be presented with 2019-20 audit, receive recommendations for grant

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — City Council members will return from the holiday season on Tuesday to a busy agenda that includes recommendations for a federal Community Development Block Grant and a presentation of the audit for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Locals can tune into the meeting at 6 p.m. via the city’s livestream at www.salisburync.gov/webcast or the city’s Twitter account at twitter.com/CitySalisburyNC. The meeting can also be accessed via phone at 312-626-6799 or 646-876-9923 or 346-248-7799, with meeting ID 838 1618 1948 and passcode 900657.

Anyone who wishes to speak during the public comment period must sign-up by 5 p.m. today by contacting Salisbury City Clerk Kelly Baker at kbake@salisburync.gov or 704-638-5233.

One of the items on the agenda, the city of Salisbury is eligible for a second allocation of $200,221 for the Community Development Block Grant program, which is provided via the federal CARES Act. The funding is to be used for preventing, preparing for and responding to the pandemic. Such uses include public service agencies, housing activities, planning, economic development and infrastructure.

To access the funds, council members must approve an amendment to the 2020-21 fiscal year action plan that outlines a budget for the additional funds.

On April 2, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, announced an allocation of $168,950 in CDBG funding to Salisbury. And on June 2, council members adopted an amendment to the city’s 2019-20 action plan, which committed 100% of those funds to public service agencies that assist low-income individuals and families impacted by COVID-19.

After a call for applications, 10 recipients were endorsed by council members. City staff have been working with those agencies to sign appropriate contracts, submit reimbursement requests and appropriately track their activities needed for HUD reporting, according to a memo from Salisbury Planning Director Hannah Jacobson. There is a remaining balance of $34,834 that can still be distributed to public service agencies.

Based on a public hearing held on Dec. 1 and a public comment period that lasted until Dec. 25, city staff recommends $50,055 be used for public services, $75,000 for rent and utility assistance, $10,000 for emergency sewer lateral repair assistance, $40,000 for a homeless prevention strategy and $60,000 for small business assistance.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, copies of the draft budget and action plan amendment will be made available online or via request for public review until Jan. 12. Council members will then be asked to adopt the action plan at its Jan. 19 meeting.

Also at the meeting, city council members will hear from C.J. Palmer of Elliott Davis, PLLC, as well as Salisbury Finance Manager Wade Furches, regarding the audit report for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which ended on June 30.

Other items on the agenda:

• Council members will consider adopting an interlocal agreement with the county for tax collection services.

• Council members will consider adopting a budget ordinance amendment to the 2020-21 fiscal year budget that would allocate $25,000 in donations received for the completion of the tennis and pickleball court resurfacing project.

• Council members will consider a Land Development Ordinance (TA-02-2020) to amend chapter Nos. 1, 2, 4, 9, 14, 15, 17 and 18 for compliance with state law. A public hearing was held for the amendments at the council’s Dec. 1 meeting, but no comments were received at the meeting or within the 24-hour period following December’s meeting. The new state law recodes existing legislation for municipalities and counties. The recodification reconciles discrepancies between two statutes, modernizes the language and clarifies the rules on certain areas of practice, such as conflicts of interest.

• Two public hearings will be held related to rezoning requests. One is to consider land development district map amendment Z-01-2020 to rezone an 8.24-acre parcel located on the south side of South Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue from corridor mixed use and highway business to only highway business. Another is to consider land development district map amendment Z-02-2020 to rezone a 0.56-acre parcel located at 725 South Main Street from Highway Business to Corridor Mixed Use.

• A public hearing will be held to consider closing a portion of an alley in the 800 block of West Cemetery Street. In accordance with state law, closures may not be “contrary to the public interest” and no one should be “deprived of reasonable means of ingress and egress to the property” by the closing. City staff stated in a memo that they believe such conditions have been satisfied. Council member will also consider accepting an offer of dedication for the right-of-way.

• Council members will consider adopting an ordinance that would amend Section 13-329 of the city code to designate a portion of West Henderson Street as a one-way street. The area specified sits between Confederate Avenue and a point 130 feet east of Mocksville Avenue.

• Council members will consider approving the retirement of Police K-9 Arnie and gifting the dog to his handler, Officer James Hampton.

• Council members will adopt the 2021 City Council meeting schedule, which will include only one meeting in July and December, as well as an early start time for Aug. 3 to allow council members the opportunity to participate in National Night Out events.

• Mayor Karen Alexander will proclaim two observances, including Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18 and National Mentoring Month throughout the month of January.

Alexander will also announce that the Winter Drive-Thru Community Resource Fair will be held Jan. 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Civic Center, located at 315 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. The Resource Fair is being held in conjunction with the annual MLK Celebration Weekend to provide information and support for families. One bag per family will be provided while supplies last. Walk-ups are also welcome. For more information, contact Anne Little at anne.little@salisburync.gov or call 704-638-5218.

Additionally, the Human Relations Council will host its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Weekend with the theme “United in Service to Remember the Dream.” A Community Day of Service will be held Jan. 18 with the adoption of Kelsey Scott Park and a COVID-19-compliant clean-up and sign placement as weather permits. A delivery of donated items will be made to Rowan Helping Ministries at 11 a.m. At 2 p.m., a virtual program will air on WSRG-TV and Facebook. For more information, contact Little.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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