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City council passes budget

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Friday, June 14, 2019

The Greenville City Council approved a rezoning request that expanded the outdoor storage area of a building supply business — despite objections of a nearby resident — at Thursday’s meeting.

Home Builders and Supply Company requested the city rezone 0.28 acres located south of the intersection of Line Avenue and Wilson Street from residential to heavy commercial. The company wants to use the parcel for the outdoor storage of stackable lumber.

Greenville Chief Planner Chantae Gooby said the small parcel is the last piece of property in the block that does not have commercial zoning.

Home Builder Chief Financial Officer Darsen Sowers said the business is directing its truck traffic away from the Higgs neighborhood area.

“We had employees taking shortcuts and we addressed those,” Sowers said.

Line Avenue resident Rosemary Anderson said she once had to deal with a log truck parking on Line Avenue across from her home.

“To have a logging truck sitting across the street, no driver in it, it’s sickening,” Anderson said.

Anderson said Home Builders already has starting stacking materials on the lot. The sounds of heavy equipment and loaded pallets dropping to the ground is disturbing, she said.

Sowers said delivery drivers not employed by Home Builders may use Line Avenue, which is predominately residential, to access the new 10th Street Connector, formerly Farmville Boulevard, because there is a traffic signal at that intersection that makes it easier to turn left.

Sowers said Home Builders will tell its suppliers to direct tractor-trailer drivers away from Line Avenue.

City Councilwoman Rose Glover said if the drivers do not follow Home Builders guidance, maybe the police should become involved. Officials with Home Builders assured her they would not have big trucks traveling through the neighborhood.

As the council prepared to vote on the motion, Glover asked City Manager Ann Wall and Police Chief Mark Holtzman to meet with Anderson and Home Builders to discuss Anderson’s concerns.

The council unanimously approved the rezoning request. Councilman Rick Smiley was absent.

The council also unanimously approved the request of Ocean Reef Investments to rezone from medical-office to general commercial four acres located at the southeastern corner of the intersection of MacGregor Downs Road and B’s BBQ Road. No one spoke in opposition.

The Council also unanimously approved the city’s $136.4 million fiscal year 2019-20 budget.

The city’s tax rate of 52 cents per $100 valuation remains unchanged.

The budget appropriates $300,000 for commercial and industrial site development and up to $200,000 in job creation grants. The budget also allots $500,000 for a sustained membership in a new public-private economic development partnership which is being called the Greenville-ENC Alliance.

“We are proud of this budget and it directly reflects the council’s priorities and addresses some of our most pressing needs in a fiscally responsible way,” Mayor P.J. Connelly said. “We are continuing our positive momentum to grow the tax base and expand our arts and entertainment options while also making the necessary investments in infrastructure and safety. These are vital for a growing community.”

The budget includes $2.5 million for street improvements and $250,000 for streetlight and camera installation. It contains $7.8 million in financing for the second phase of the 2015 general obligation transportation improvements bond for Arlington Boulevard street improvements, the West Fifth Street streetscape, sidewalk additions and the South Tar Greenway that will extend from the Town Common to Memorial Drive.

Additionally, the 2019-20 budget:

Invests $86 out of every $100 of all general fund revenues into core public services areas.

Provides $20,000 to fund Small Business Competition Grants.

Allots $25,000 in funding for skills training through the Pitt Community College jobs initiative program.

Provides $25,000 for small business support.

Increases the employer share of the retirement contribution by 15.5 percent to meet North Carolina local government requirements.

Includes $100,000 to fund the projects to clean and beautify major thoroughfares including the 10th Street Connector from Memorial Drive to Evans Street and Stantonsburg Road from the U.S. 264 Bypass to Arlington Boulevard.

Provides $50,000 to maintain parks and greenways.

Invests $1.2 million into facilities improvements.

Begins preventative maintenance of the city’s stormwater system and starts the process of hiring 16 additional employees for the city stormwater program.

Provides $120,000 in new funding for a beach volleyball complex.

Includes $165,000 in local partnerships to enhance the city’s entertainment scene and to support the arts community.

Along with hiring new employees for the city’s stormwater system program, the budget funds three new Fire-Rescue positions in preparation for the Southside Fire Station, scheduled to open by 2021. It also funds a Recreation and Parks outreach coordinator who will work with south and west Greenville special populations, youth outreach and other community-based initiatives.

The approved budget also includes $260.8 million for Greenville Utilities Commission, $2.55 million for Sheppard Memorial Library and nearly $1.6 million for the Convention & Visitors Authority.

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