Greensboro

Greensboro city council discusses policing, zoning, and fundings

Zachary Weaver
    News Editor

The Greensboro City Council met on May 17, 2017 to discuss transit costs, citizen concerns and requests, and zoning ordinances. Mayor Nancy Vaughan commenced the meeting, beginning with speakers from the floor on non-agenda items. Lindy Garnette spoke on two recent Greensboro Police shootings in the past two years, both involving disabled people.

Garnette raised concerns that, according to a News & Record article, Greensboro Police receive 25 weeks of training, out of which 8 hours focus on mental health.

“We can’t go back and undo what’s already happened,” said Garnette, “…that we look training dealing with people with mental health issues. How do we assure the public these situations aren’t going to occur again and again?”

Garnette’s second concern is that Vo family case treatment. She stated that legality was not in question, but the lack of respect and compassion in addressing the family. She also noted a press conference in which GPD Chief Scott mentioning a ‘tragic day’ for the police and the Vo family. Garnette said this reflected a focus on ‘police first, citizens second.’

Vaughan responded by stating that Greensboro Police exceed the training hour requirement for dealing with mental disabilities by 46 hours, including instruction in de-escalation, interaction with mentally ill, and practical exercise scenarios.

“They recognize that there needs to be greater understanding and training,” Vaughan said.

Sally Hayes Williams spoke on her concerns over ‘cultural policing,’ and the deliberations of the Community City Working Group on the matter. The Group will present five items on policing on June 12 at 3PM in Providence Baptist Church’s enrichment center.

Williams also stated her dismay that few citizens attended meetings. At a recent city budget meeting she and Falls were the only citizens present.

In response, Council Member Mike Barber suggested fewer meetings to concentrate resources and attendance.

“It’s less burden on staff, less cost to the community,” Barber stated.

Chris Bristo, of Bristo Development Company, INC., brought his concerns over lack of payment from a completed city-sponsored project.

His company had been hired to do grading at an aquarium, a project which had been complete for 2 years. The general contractor was slow to pay, so a lien on the 2013 bill was filed.

“When there’s a lien filed against the city of Greensboro,” Bristo said, “…is there anyone that goes back and says ‘wait a minute, there’s a problem here? Why was a lien filed in the first place?’”

Vaughan asked City Attorney Tom Corruthers to assist Bristo in the matter.

The meeting moved on to the consent agenda portion, consisting of various resolutions. Patton Avenue roofing services, storm water improvements, bicycle/pedestrian trail and greenways biped plan updates and the 2016-17 budget were among the discussed items.

David Hampston spoke on behalf of Bicycling in Greensboro, in support of a resolution to adopt the 2015 Bicycle, Pedestrian, Trails and Greenways Plan Update. He hoped to reduce cut-through traffic, and said that the city should aim for more neighborhood bikeways. He also stated that the city should encourage biking in these neighborhoods, and reduce the cut-through speed of traffic.

Wilson Lester spoke in support of the Greensboro Development Fund, stating that it creates opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses.

Helen Webb stated that she did not want SCAT bus fares to rise, and wished license tax money to be fully funded to transportation.

Councilor Sharon Hightower assured that fares would not rise.

Tracey King requested that the city manager restore the monthly paratransit pass to a $45 flat rate, stating that this would increase money towards transportation.

Larcina Johnson, on behalf of SCAT riders, stated her opposition to increases in GTA fare to balance the budget.

Johnson requested that the city find a way to fully fund transportation. She also requested that the city manager give part of the license tax to transportation, and to split the cost between street improvements.

An ordinance on zoning for right of way of Chariot Drive followed in the agenda. The Council stated that the zoning was consistent with the city’s goal of sustainable land use, and the goal of providing services and infrastructure in cost-effective ways.

Pleasant Ridge Drive will be annexed into Greensboro, with the aim of developing a single family subdivision.

Next was a resolution on awarding HOME Program funds for affordable housing development. The development hoped to construct residences for low-income persons.

The council noted that city bus service for the future residence cannot be guaranteed at the time of meeting, but the matter will be worked on. The project has a project start date of July 1, with a one-year completion goal.

Randleman Road Corridor is currently an area of low-quality properties, which a resolution aims to address. The area will be newly developed, removing old signs from vacated businesses. A nature walk was among ideas proposed for the area.

Francis Beard stated that there was a lack of room for job creators and young creatives under Downtown Greensboro, INC (DGI)

Eric Rowbare, Central Business District property owner, raised concerns over the DGI revising the Request for Proposal (RFP) five days past deadline.

David Parrish, Assistant City Manager, stated that only the RFP budget was amended, which had no bearing on scores. The item was continued to the June meeting. Staff would examine the issue and return with an evaluation and recommendation.

The meeting then moved to the General Business portion of the agenda.

Next an award of contract to East Coast Protective Services, INC for security services at Greensboro Library and Parks & Recreation Department.

Councilor Tony Wilkins stated that debundling this contract created four contract, and resulted in taxpayer savings of over $1.7 million over 3 years. He also stated that further debundling could result in more savings.

The next resolution regarded a Transdev, INC for transit services for additional paratransit passenger trips. The trips have become numerous, and the council noted the need for an extension, as they have exceeded the stated 10% of contract. The city plans to hire more drivers and adjust schedules to ease the issue.

The meeting concluded with discussion of upcoming city-sponsored events and items for future discussion, adjourning at 7:41 PM.

The next City Council meeting will be held on June 7, 2016 at 3PM Council Chamber in the Melvin Municipal Office Building, 300 W. Washington St., Greensboro.

 

 

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