By Natalie Anderson
SALISBURY — City council members on Tuesday received a presentation about the use of federal funds and approved a North Carolina Department of Transportation project to install a u-turn bulb near Morlan Park Road.
City Planner Candace Edwards presented a draft of the fiscal year 2021-22 action plan for use of annual U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants. As a condition of receiving Community Development Block Grants and HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds, the city is tasked with developing an annual plan to spend the funds.
For the 2021-22 fiscal year, from July 1 to June 30, 2022, the city is receiving $456,668. Of that, $310,158 are CDBG funds and the remaining $146,510 comes from the HOME program.
The funds will be used to assist low- and moderate-income residents of Salisbury. The purpose of the funds is to develop and strengthen urban communities by ensuring decent housing and a suitable living environment. Among the top priorities is increasing the supply of decent affordable housing, providing opportunities for home ownership, improving public facilities and infrastructure and affirmatively furthering fair housing.
Of the CBDG funds, city staff are suggesting $157,044 be used for the owner-occupied rehabilitation program, $17,569 be dedicated to a Lash Drive sidewalk project, $42,500 be granted to five local public service agencies, $57,032 be earmarked for city staff to administer the programs and $35,740 be used toward the city’s debt at Park Avenue Center. Additionally, part of the CBDG funds include $25,000 in program income from previous years.
Edwards said the city budgeted $46,394 for the Lash Drive sidewalk project in 2020-21, and the 2021-22 allocation should complete the project.
A total of 15% of CBDG funds can be used to help public service agencies. Following a call for applications, staff are granting $10,000 to Rowan Helping Ministries, $10,000 to Family Crisis Council, $5,000 to Capstone Recovery Center, $7,500 to Meals on Wheels and $10,000 to One Love, Inc.
From the HOME program funds, city staff recommend $108,217 be designated for the owner-occupied rehabilitation program, $30,000 be used for down payment assistance and $8,293 be submitted to the Salisbury Community Development Corporation to administer the programs.
The city will continue to receive public input and citizen feedback on the plan until June, when city council members are expected to vote on a final plan to be submitted to HUD. The plan is available for public viewing at salisburync.gov/housing, at the Rowan County Public Library and at city offices.
City council members also held a public hearing to consider closing an unimproved right-of-way known as Lloyd Street, located in the 300 block of Harrel Street. No public comments were received, but locals have 24 hours following Tuesday’s meeting to submit comments to Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Council members approved a NCDOT project to install a U-turn bulb on Jake Alexander Boulevard near Morlan Park Road. The project was proposed after the a crash pattern emerged among motorists traveling east on Jake Alexander Boulevard and attempting to make a U-turn at Morlan Park Road.
City Engineer Wendy Brindle said the median installed to turn left onto Morlan Park Road is also often used to turn left from Morlan Park Road, and installing a designated U-turn bulb would help mitigate the issue.
Council member Tamara Sheffield, who lives in that area, requested the city also talk with NCDOT about installing another U-turn bulb on the opposite side for those traveling in the opposite direction.
The NCDOT Traffic Safety Unit will submit the project for statewide safety funding, and there will be no cost to the city.
Also at the meeting:
• Council members approved the nomination of Kyle Whisenant and reappointment of Amy Smith and Edward Hirst to the Greenway, Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee; the nomination of Barbara Sorel and Judith Whitehead to the Housing Advocacy Commission; the reappointment of Kathryn Davis and Laura Thompson to the Hurley Park Advisory Board; and the nomination of George Benson to the Transportation Advisory Board. Currently, one seat remains on the Human Relations Council and three remain on the Planning Board.
• The council adopted several appropriations for the 2020-21 city budget, including $11,800 in donations received for the BlockWork program, $400,735 for connection fees and miscellaneous revenues to the water and sewer fund and $137,880 for the sale of online assets in the general fund.
• Council members authorized City Engineer Wendy Brindle to accept agreement extensions with NCDOT about road signs, markings, traffic signals and the traffic signal system. The city had agreements that were executed with NCDOT in March 2019, and NCDOT has requested renewal to continue maintenance and correspond with reimbursement rates to the city. The renewal agreements would be valid until June 30. With all four schedules, the reimbursement is estimated to total $233,000.