01/09/12 — 2012's list: general comments

View Archive

2012's list: general comments

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on January 9, 2012 1:46 PM

Revenues are actually projected to be up in the city this fiscal year compared to the last few years, thanks to property revaluation in the city that increased the value of the city's taxable property and the Goldsboro City Council's decision to keep the tax rate at the same level as before the revaluation.

The actual general fund tax revenue total in 2009-10 was $13,932,458 and $13,564,165.03 during the 2010-11 fiscal year.

In March 2007, the city appropriated $10,000 from the city's general fund for a survey of the property between Spruce and Elm streets at the south end of Center Street where a recreation center was proposed to be built.

In June of 2008, a spokesperson for R.N. Rouse said the $12.3 million project would be completed in February 2010, but by January 2009, the project was put on hold to see if the city would be eligible for a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant or if it would receive any funding from then-President-elect Barack Obama's federal stimulus package.

"Fifteen years from now, it won't matter if we waited a few months," Allen said at that meeting, asking that the project be revisited every three months to see where building costs and grant funding options were.

Two years later, at a January 2011 meeting, the project still had not been finalized and the council was still fishing around for grants.

Allen once more asked about a three-month extension, but this time he was shut out by his fellow council members.

"We've been dancing with this thing forever," Headen said.

Other council members concurred with Headen.

"We don't have any real view on how we're going to pay for this thing. Even if we got $2 or $3 million, it's still not going to be enough," Chatman said, with Waller noting that a tax increase to pay for the project was out of the question.

After $1.2 million of spending on construction preparations, the project was "dead" in the words of King.

"I don't see it coming up again anytime soon unless someone steps forward and says, 'Hey. We'll build it for you,'" King said at the meeting.

Warrick, Chatman, Waller and Headen all cited the lackluster economy as the reason for their vote against the project's progress.

Of the Police Department's 65 vehicles, 25 have more than 100,000 miles on them. Those vehicles will cost an estimated annual average of $3,908 per vehicle to maintain, a total of nearly $100,000.

In December 2008, then-City Manager Joe Huffman explained that the city had earlier vowed to purchase 10 police cars a year to maintain its aging fleet of patrol cars, but the city had only managed to ever purchase two in a single year, with many years going by without any new purchases.

This year the council, again, scratched the department's request for 10 new vehicles -- a request that would have cost $215,870.

This summer, the city purchased the building at 2406 E. Ash St. for $500,000 to possibly house an Air Force museum to honor the city's relationship with Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. A committee has been formed to determine what to do with the building as far as its feasibility as a museum.

The Center Street Streetscape project was the city's submission for the second round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grants this year. If the project, estimated to cost $11 million to renovate the whole of Center Street from Ash to Elm streets, was approved, the city would be on the hook for a 20 percent match, or $2.2 million.