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Budget, Grants, Plans and Parking: City Council’s June Decisions

by Lisa Wilbourne

After the Monday June 10 public hearing on the proposed $84 million budget (how many citizens came to voice an opinion? Zero.), city council passed the budget as recommended by staff on Thursday with a 5-1 vote (Kandie Smith, Max Joyner, Rose Glover, Dennis Mitchell, Calvin Mercer supporting; Marion Blackburn opposing). Blackburn said she had an “ongoing concern about pulling out fund money and borrowing $4 million.”

Mercer tried to make two amendments to the budget; both failed. The first was to pull away all but $50,000 from a $200,000 river study to hold onto $50,000 and use the remaining $100,000 for some tangible and noncontroversial upgrades to the Town Common. The second was to invest $3 million in a major street repair project instead of $4 million, using that million toward the Uptown parking deck to reduce the amount borrowed for that project from $4 million to $3 million.

support

This budget brings considerable capital and infrastructure investments without increasing the property tax rate. Though city employees will not see a pay raise this year, the city will contribute more in benefits. Sanitation, stormwater and fees to play golf at Bradford Creek will all rise.

See the full budget here.

Other votes

Council unanimously awarded the first Capital Improvement Grant funds–up to $85,000 per year for seven years to Tom Taft and Jim Ward’s mixed-use student-housing project between Cotanche, 8th, Evans and Reade Circle. Watch the presentation from the June 13 meeting here.

At the June 10 meeting, council passed (4-2, Blackburn and Mercer opposing) the 2013-2014 Redevelopment Commission work plan and budget. Blackburn praised the work that went into the plan, but said she was unable to vote for it because of the language leaving open the possibility of major developments on the Town Common.

Also on June 10, the contract for Uptown parking deck pre-construction services was granted to Barnhill Contracting Company in a 5-1 vote. Blackburn said she has “concerns regarding this project at this time in this location without the sister building site.” [The “sister building site” is 423 Evans Street which the Redevelopment Commission purchased in July 2012.]

Council passed a parking ordinance for the University Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative area–roughly the area between Reade, the river, Elm Street and 5th–in a 5-1 vote (Blackburn opposing). Parking in the UNRI area will be designated residential only Monday-Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., except areas around Woodlawn Park and the Greenway, which will become two-hour parking. The ordinance goes into effect August 1, 2013. See the link above for the ordinance and map.

The plan of action for Bradford Creek Golf Course was unanimously approved on June 10. Council is excited about partnering with First Tee, a national junior golf program that seeks to build character, instill values and promote healthy choices.

An item requested by Mercer to begin the process to make Greenville a Certified Retirement Community, a designation given by the state’s Department of Commerce, was postponed until the January planning session.

See the full agendas from June 10 and June 13.

City council will not meet in July.

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