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Council to consider $2.3 million in budget amendments at meeting Tuesday

The Whiteville City Council is expected to adopt several budget amendments totaling $2.3 million relating to hurricane recovery and storm water management projects Tuesday as well as consider one request for voluntary annexation and another request for a property from residential to business. The meeting gets underway at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers at 24 Hill Plaza.

Under one budget proposal, a fund will be established using funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the State of North Carolina and insurance proceeds to establish a $1.595 million project fund for Hurricane Florence. No local city taxpayer monies would be involved. $815,000 would come from FEMA, while $270,000 is expected from the state and $510,000 is anticipated from insurance proceeds.

Another budget amendment would transfer $449,900 from the city’s fund balance, or rainy day savings, and $160,000 from street allocations, or a total of $609,900, to provide funding for additional storm water projects in the city. That is in addition to another $100,000 that will be transferred from the fund balance to the general fund and then to the storm water fund, for a total of $709,000 in storm water-related amendments.

Arturo and Victor Llamos, owners of San Juan Mexican Restaurant at 1202 S. J.K. Powell Blvd., are asking that their 5.69-acre property be annexed into the city. A change in the zoning classification, Highway Service Business, is not requested.

Since opening, San Juan has operated under the assumption that it is in the city limits. It is not, the city recently discovered. San Juan currently has ABC permits, which are permitted only in municipalities, thus the request for annexation.

Council also will hold a public hearing and then consider a request from Autry Dawsey of Premier Enterprises to rezone from residential to commercial a 0.02-acre vacant lot at 606 N. J.K. Powell Blvd. beside the Sonic Restaurant. The planning board and city staff have recommended that council approve the change.

Council also is expected to approve a budget amendment to transfer $25,000 from the fund balance to the fire department for vehicle maintenance and repairs.

A representative of the Small Business Administration (SBA) will speak to council regarding federal disaster assistance available for homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profit organizations after Hurricane Florence. The SBA offers low-interest, long-term loans for those affected by natural disasters, loans that fill in gaps left by grants and insurance proceeds, plus provide additional funding necessary to make properties whole again.

A technical amendment to the city’s panhandling ordinance is also scheduled to correct an error in chapter and text numbers assigned when the ordinance was adopted in August. No other changes to the ordinance are included.

Council will also go into closed session at the end of its open meeting to discuss the potential for the city to the purchase of  “certain tract(s)” of unspecified land for city use.

Stuart Rogers