02/17/06 — City eyes funding priorities

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City eyes funding priorities

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on February 17, 2006 1:59 PM

NEW BERN -- Members of the Goldsboro City Council discussed the city's future Thursday at their annual retreat at the Sheraton hotel.

All city departments were represented at the meeting, with department managers presenting plans for the next 10 years. After listening to the managers describe the problems they expect to encounter and their departments' anticipated needs, council members were expected today to discuss how to proceed with setting goals for the city over the next decade.

Some of the requests made were typical. Others, if approved, would involve bigger financial investments from the city.

Some of the more notable requests included plans for Stoney Creek Park and the Paramount Theater.

Recreation and Parks Director Neil Bartlett requested that the city finance both the $2 million Stoney Creek Park project and $12 million Paramount Theater over a period of years.

According to the plan, beginning in the 2006-07 fiscal year, the city would pay its first of two $1 million payments on the Stoney Creek Park project. The Paramount Theater would be financed over a much longer time period -- 15 years -- and payments of roughly $1.2 million would begin in the 2007-08 fiscal year.

The Recreation and Parks Department also introduced a plan to construct a $7 million Community Center, a project that would also be financed over a 15-year period.

Other departments made their requests, as well.

Fire Chief Bobby Greenfield requested more than $375,000 for the 2006-07 fiscal year, for the renovation of Fire Station No. 3, a two-phase project that would require an additional $310,000 in funding during 2007-08.

Greenfield said he also would like to replace the department's 1979 fire truck with a newer model next year. The new truck, which would cost an estimated $580,000, would ensure a better insurance rating during the next re-evaluation.

General Services Director Joe Sawyer requested money for sidewalk and street repair projects, software upgrades and new equipment. He also requested $27,500 for a salt brine maker, which he said officials could use to treat bridges and hills in the event of winter weather, as a preventative measure against frozen roadways.

And the sanitation department could use a few things as well, he said. Their list includes rear vision cameras and air conditioning units for some of city's trucks.

Councilmen were to continue discussions today and hope to have some ideas and preliminary decisions on the plan.