The Greensboro City Council convened Tuesday, January 17, to discuss minor budgetary matters and contract approvals, as well as more major changes to city policy on permits for assembly and street solicitation.
As the meeting opened, a resolution was presented to honor the passing of Marquis Street, a Greensboro native, on November 27 of 2016.
During his life, Street had been a pillar of the Greensboro community as the Chairman of the Board of Management for the Hayes-Taylor YMCA, focusing on community outreach and ensuring equal access to their services for everyone, regardless of skin color or situation. He received multiple awards for his efforts, including a citation from the North Carolina Human Relations Commission and the Brothers Organized to Serve Others Lifetime Service Award for Service to Youth.
The resolution to officially recognize and thank him for his lifetime of service was passed unanimously, with Councilwoman Sharon Hightower expressing thanks for his service to Sallie Melendez, widow of the deceased.
“I just want [you] to know how proud we were to have Mr. Street among our community and we will remember him,” Hightower said.
Also recognized was the James B. Dudley High School Panthers Football Team for their win on December 17, 2016, of the NCHSAA Class-AA High School Football Championship game, beating Cape Fear 54-0, this being the senior class’s second championship win, their first having been in 2013.
Some changes to city policy were approved, including modifying the Code of Ordinances to alter the background check requirements for panhandling, solicitors, and street performing licences to be more strict. Violent crimes were now a blanket denial, policy previously having had leeway in allowing one before automatic dential. Sexual offences either against a minor or of a violent nature within ten years prior to the application were also added to the list of reasons for a denial.
The policy on public meeting and assembly on city sidewalks was also changed, removing the need for a pre-approved permit to assemble. The language of the policy was also changed to be more gender inclusive. The clauses to ensure the assembly remained peaceful and non-disruptive to other traffic remaining unchanged, enabling easier practice of First Amendment rights without interfering unduly with others.
Other minor matters were also discussed, including budgetary paperwork approval, rezoning an area on New Garden Road, and city contract renewals.
One such contract was for the upcoming 2017 Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Disparity survey, which was granted to Griffin & Strong, P.C. – a firm with a large amount of prior experience in such surveys – which analyze the city contracts to ensure the city government is dealing fairly with all businesses in regards to contracts, and not discriminating based on their management or other related factors.
No major concerns were brought up about the matter, the survey a matter of ensuring up to date information rather than addressing a pressing need.
The next City Council will be held on Tuesday, February 7 at 5:30 p.m., and will be open to the public.