The Greensboro city council met on Tuesday, June 11 at 5:30 PM to discuss water and sewage lines, homelessness prevention activities, and property annexation, among other topics.
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan commenced the meeting, with the Council immediately entering closed session to discuss expansion of industries and businesses that may be offered in negotiation.
After returning, the Council held a moment of silence for Pulse Orlando, Christina Grimmie, and Lane Graves.
Sharon Williams, Greensboro Mayor’s Committee Chair, presented The Greensboro Mayor’s Committee Persons with Disabilities Scholarship, which is awarded to a Guilford County student with disabilities planning to further their education. The scholarship was awarded to Travis Watts and Joseph Howard.
A public hearing Sponsored by A Grand Alliance to Save the Public Postal Service will be held at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum on June 29, 2016 at 6 PM. Sharon Hightower spoke in support of the meeting,
The meeting then moved into the Public Comments section, with most speakers focusing on the postal service event. Several individuals spoke in support of the Greensboro Postal Service, noting its benefits and resilience even in the internet age.
“We don’t want the postal service to shut down,” said Linda Harper, US Postal worker and veteran, “We as soldiers need this and we depend on this.”
A separate speaker, Brian Watkins, claimed that he was being targeted and harassed by an ex-Greensboro Police officer, who he alleged posted his address online and encouraging people to go there. The council dismissed him from discussion, stating that his case was a civil matter, and that the council meeting was not a hearing.
At this point the meeting continued to the Consent Agenda portion.
Resolutions 36-38 dealt with annexation of several pieces of property, all of which were declared to be consistent with goals of sustainable land usage and promotion of a healthy economy, and the latter two with the goal of sustainable housing.
“It will allow more opportunities for economic development to come over to the east side of Greensboro,” stated Hightower in reference to the Resolution 36 annexation of 4751-YY McConnell Center Drive.
Resolution 41 closed a 120-foot Portion of Hardie Farm Road, which will be discontinued as a public street.
Assistant City Manager David Parrish stated that the closed road segment would not cut off access.
New members were appointed to boards and commissions as a part of Resolution 43, including Judy Sinowitz to the Human Relations Commission, Joyce Jasper Morant and Deborah Goddard to the Commission on the Status of Women, and Richard Bryson to the Greensboro Transit Authority. Peter Isikov and Brenda Ray White will be appointed to the Housing Commission and District 4 Commission on the Status of Women respectively in August.
Resolution 44 consisted of an increase of sewer and water fees for infrastructure maintenance. The resolution previously failed to achieve a majority and did not pass.
Maintenance entails a $1.83 per month increase in fees, which still leaves Greensboro with the second-lowest rate in the state.
Vaughan stated that the pipes were in similar condition to the roads after deferring maintenance, which was needed, badly in some cases.
“We have the health of our system and the health of our citizens at the number one priority,” said Parrish.
Marikay Abuzuaiter pointed out that insurance rates could rise if the water and sewage systems declined.
The resolution passed 7-1.
Resolution 46 accepted the donation of Center City Park by CFREMF Real Estate Holdings I, LLC and Downtown Greensboro Renaissance, LLC. The space, which consists of 1.9 acres in two parcels, was donated on the condition that the city will share maintenance costs.
The park is expected to build on the strengths of local cultural landmarks, such as the Children’s and Historical Museums, as well as providing a space for people to gather and commune.
“I think people are going to say ‘I wish we had a park like downtown Greensboro has,” commented Vaughan.
Resolution 47 dealt with a funding contract with Partners Ending Homelessness and the Interactive Resource Center for homelessness prevention activities. It would also allow the IRC to help with day shelters and winter emergency shelters.
“People need to know that there is progress being made,” Hightower stated, regarding homelessness in the community, “and we need to hear it, make it simplified.”
Resolution 53 dealt with animal control services and the construction of a shelter under an agreement between Greensboro, High Point and Guilford County.
There was debate over the termination and renegotiation aspect of the agreement. The resolution is in effect for one year, with termination able to be served on July 1, 2017 with hopes of renegotiating a new term.
The item passed unanimously.
Hightower spoke briefly on the recent success of city-sponsored events, like cookouts and park activities, stating that turnout was encouragingly good.
“We might not be that hidden jewel we were talking about,” Hightower commented.
The next Greensboro City Council meeting will be held on July 19 in the Council Chamber in the Melvin Municipal Office Building, 300 W. Washington St. at 5:30 PM, and is open to all who wish to attend.