01/18/08 — System will help control signals

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System will help control signals

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on January 18, 2008 2:17 PM

The Goldsboro City Council approved a $1.6 million budget amendment Thursday night to design and build a city-wide computerized traffic signal system.

The entire project is estimated to cost $4.5 million, but only $3.5 million will be available through bond funds. Therefore, the $1 million difference and $635,000 for design and plan preparation must be appropriated from the city's operating budget.

Council members also approved ARCADIS of Raleigh to prepare a utilities master plan for the city, which will address future water and sewer needs. After reviewing proposals from several companies, ARCADIS was selected as the best qualified firm.

The company will analyze projected growth patterns, water supply alternatives, the city's water treatment and distribution system, wastewater treatment and discharge and development of capital improvements plan. The cost of developing the overall plan is estimated at $329,000.

Also on Thursday, the council heard a proposal from the Wayne County Schools for using the city's local television channel, Channel 18, for educational programming.

Ken Derksen, the public information officer for the Wayne County Public Schools, presented the proposal. He said some programming would be available in Spanish, to help Hispanic students and adults better assimilate into the local community.

Derksen said the schools hope Wayne Community College and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base will also use the channel.

"This is not just a regular channel. We want to use this channel to see how we can benefit students," he said. "There are definitely some exciting opportunities that this channel can be used for."

Derksen said the channel would operate much like UNC-TV. At the beginning, the channel would have mostly pre-produced programming, but after students from the county's high schools get involved producing material, the programming would be locally produced.

He added that the schools would work with Time Warner Cable to make the channel available to everyone in the county.

But council members hesitated to give up all their rights to the programming, which the city currently does not use.

And Derksen and the Time Warner representative at the meeting didn't agree on which channel the educational programming should be on.

Derksen said the school system would like to see it on channel 18, since it is a local channel. Time Warner would like to see it on a digital channel, since all channels will become digital in the next year.

Mayor Al King said that the council was "all for the idea," but he felt that all parties involved needed to meet and talk about the programming's home before any decision is made.

The council held two public hearings. The firs addressed a request by Dustin Pennington for a conditional use permit to operate a used car lot for property on the west side of North William Street between Patetown Road and North U.S. 117 Bypass. No one spoke for or against the issue.

The second hearing was on a request from Dr. George Silver for a conditional use permit to allow the operation of an animal hospital with enclosed pens and runs on property on the east side of U.S. 117 bypass between Hooks River Road and Patetown Road. The site currently operates as a veterinary clinic. No one spoke at the hearing.

A matter that was scheduled for public hearing regarding a conditional use permit for a "place of entertainment with ABC permits" was withdrawn by council upon the applicant's request. Melodie Samson had wanted to put a bar on property located on the west side of N.C. 111 South between Mt. Airy Road and Sheridan Forest Road, but she submitted a letter on Jan. 8 indicating that she no longer wished to pursue the matter due to limitations placed on maximum occupancy of the proposed establishment.

In other business, council members approved the condemnation of two dilapidated dwellings, at 811 E. Elm St. and 915 Devereaux St., as well as a budget amendment for a Paramount Theater loan interest payment due this month in the amount of $34,300.

An item regarding a lease agreement for maintenance equipment for the municipal golf course was removed from the meeting and will be discussed at the council's Feb. 4 meeting.