02/04/14 — Council approves bond items; will wait on park plan

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Council approves bond items; will wait on park plan

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on February 4, 2014 1:46 PM

The Goldsboro City Council approved two resolutions to allow the city to seek an $18.9 million parks and recreation bond referendum in May, but chose not to accept a proposed master plan for Herman Park along with the resolutions.

The Council's actions came during its meeting Monday night.

The two resolutions approved the bond itself as well as the special bond vote set for May 6. If the bonds are approved by city voters, the money from the sales would go to fund a new W.A. Foster Center, a multi-sports complex, renovations to Herman Park and Herman Park Center and the paving of greenways throughout the city.

The city property tax would have to increase by 2.4 cents to almost 68 cents per $100 worth of property to help finance the bond.

Each cent of the tax brings in about $200,000 in revenue for the city, meaning the increase would bring in about $600,000 more a year.

The resolutions and public hearing were the last public policy items needed to hold the bond vote in May, City Finance Director Kaye Scott said.

"After this, I won't be bringing anything before council again before the vote," she said. "There will be plenty going on behind the scenes, but after the public hearing and these resolutions, we'll be done with that part."

After hearing the presentation on the Herman Park plan by Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard and some discussion, Councilman Chuck Allen made a motion that the acceptance of the plan be removed from the agenda.

The motion was seconded and approved.

Allen asked that a hard copy be given to the council for review before its next meeting.

"I think we need to take some time and look at what is in this before accepting it," Allen said.

During the public hearing, two Goldsboro residents spoke for the bond and three spoke against it.

Mary Rowe spoke against the bond because she wants to see the new center stay at its present location, not moved to Mina Weil Park, as is planned.

"You are trying to sneak something in with W.A. Foster being in that park," she said.

Berky Perkins spoke against the bond as well, saying that he was not opposed to the planned facilities but how the Council wants to pay for them.

"It seems this bond will be paid for on the backs of the people of Goldsboro," he said.

Perkins suggested going after grant funding and having the county chip in for the projects.

Rick Sessions and his wife, Carol, both spoke in favor of the referendum, specifically the nearly $1 million planned for greenway development in the city.

"These projects will bring recreation to the area," Mrs. Sessions said. "Goldsboro is perfectly situated to connect to the East Coast greenways and as a dietitian for 30 years I know that diabetes and other conditions are growing rampant and these projects will help that."

The City Council unanimously approved the resolutions following the public hearing.

The City Council also approved deeding the land making up the northern section of Hogan's Alley in between Virginia and Carolina streets to the adjacent property owners, as the area has fallen into disuse.

Councilman Michael Headen owns property on the alley and recused himself from the discussion.

The resolution was part of the consent agenda but was later moved to an individual action item to allow Headen to vote on the consent agenda.

Also moved off of the consent agenda to individual action items were the requested site plan modifications to allow changes at the North Plaza Shopping Center on Spence Avenue and at Edgewood Community Development School off Jefferson Street.

The shopping center, which houses Ollie's Bargain Outlet, made a request to construct a sign for the center off of Spence Avenue. The center currently utilizes a sign owned by Bojangles which advertises to U.S. 70.

The Council decided that the center could put up the second 100-square-foot sign, but it would have to take down the other sign first.

"I say a sign for a sign," Allen said. "It's not fair for them to have two signs up, so if they want a new one, take the old one down."

Wayne County Public Schools made a request that a modular school unit be installed at Edgewood but it was was denied based on the aesthetic appeal of the unit.

"That isn't in keeping with the neighborhood out there," Allen said.

"I want them to know that we aren't against expansion but the Board of Education needs to realize that there are people with property values out there," Councilman Gene Aycock said.