Council approves FY 2020 budget – Rocky Mount NC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 26, 2019
Council approves FY 2020 budget
Rocky Mount, N.C.

The Rocky Mount City Council approved the FY 2020 budget during the June 24, 2019 council meeting. The new budget is balanced without a tax rate increase or increases to the city’s utility rates.

The city of Rocky Mount’s total operating budget for FY 2020 is $220.1 million, a 6.2 percent increase over the adopted budget for FY 2019. The budget includes initiatives that address council priorities, such as access to safe, quality and affordable housing; opportunities for economic development in the downtown area; enhancements to city parks, recreation facilities and to City Hall; and programs benefitting neighborhood associations.

For the new fiscal year, an additional $350,000 has been added for new housing development, raising the total housing investment to $1 million. The funds will address specific needs of the city’s 14 identified economically distressed neighborhoods.

Economic development in the downtown area has been prompted by the completion of the Rocky Mount Event Center. The budget funds $5.53 million for the full-year operating and debt service costs for the center. In the downtown area, $1.78 million will be appropriated to fund underground electric utilities and for the first phase of a multi-year plan to rehabilitate downtown storm drainage.
In an effort to improve businesses downtown, the council also approved an additional $130,000 for existing and new grant programs such as the existing Downtown Business Assistance Program and the recently established Façade Improvement Grant, as well as a new roof grant.

Necessary renovations to parks and recreation facilities has also been a priority for council, resulting in $720,000 added to the budget for improvements to Marigold and Lancaster parks, repairs to Denton Street Pool and recreation facilities in the Battleboro Community, along with the development of a master plan for Battle Park.

The Frederick E. Turnage Municipal Building (City Hall) will also receive much needed repairs thanks to council’s approval of $1.64 million in appropriations. The rehabilitation of elevators, elimination of moisture intrusion in the stairwells and the renovation of the first and second floors for the opening of the new One Stop Shop, are among the list of items that need attention. The One Stop Shop will house permitting, inspections and planning in one location with the necessary advanced technology to make it easier for the establishment of businesses in the community.

The FY 2020 budget is also comprised of extra funding for programs implemented by the city’s neighborhood associations. Additional funding of $50,000 will be utilized for grants of up to $2,500 for landscaping and gateway signage. The expansion of neighborhood events is also a reason for the added dollars.

For the complete FY 2020 budget, visit www.rockymountnc.gov. The budget is included on the homepage under news and on the Budget Office webpage.

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Rocky Mount was incorporated as a town in 1867. However, the city had its beginning in the early part of the 19th century. It centered around the first post office which was established at the Falls of the Tar River on March 22, 1816.

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Rocky Mount City Council June Meeting “Don’t Blame Me!” Part 2 Councilman Reuben Blackwell

This Video Is A Must See The Public Comments And Then Councilman Reuben Blackwell Put The Gang Conversation In Perspective

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This Guy Right Here Though, Damn He Was Good!

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”Don’t Blame Me!” Part 2

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”Don’t Blame Me!” Part 1
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City works to improve morale – Rocky Mount Telegram

Rocky Mount’s top administrator is meeting with the city’s middle management to address low morale.

In a review summary presented last month, the law firm Nexsen Pruet found no wrongdoing on behalf of City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney. The independent auditors did find low morale among the city’s mid-level employees.

“Mid-level managers have stated they feel excluded and uninformed,” according to a flyer emailed to employees Wednesday afternoon and shared with the Telegram by an employee who asked to remain anonymous.

Attendees will be able to discuss their concerns, priorities and more, according to the flyer.

“Managers are encouraged to have an open and honest conversation with the city manager only,” the flyer states. “Assistant city managers and department heads will not be in attendance.” (Read more)

Longtime city department head resigns – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: I remember Rich Worsinger from the early 2000’s when the North Eastern NC Committee on the Affairs of Black People were hosting meetings in Rocky Mount after the 1999 Flood of the Century. We were helping folk with the flood recovery and having meetings about the high utilities. It was a meeting we held at Truth Tabernacle and that is when we learned from Rich and some others from the city about the ElectriCities deal that was made with Rocky Mount. Andre Knight was a member of the NENCCABP along with Lewis Turner, Carol Batchelor, Amanda Taylor, myself and some others.

Rocky Mount’s longest currently serving department head is leaving.

Rich Worsinger, employed with the city for 18 years, tendered his resignation as director of energy resources on Tuesday effective July 1.

Worsinger told the Telegram that he’s going to work for the city of Wilson.

“I haven’t thought about it much today,” Worsinger said. “I’m busy working.”

When Worsinger came to the city in January 2001, Rocky Mount had an undistinguished municipal utility struggling financially with noncompetitive electric rates, aging electric and gas infrastructure and a poor safety record.

Now Rocky Mount is recognized as an industry leader in both the public natural gas and public power arenas. Both utilities are strong financially — the electric and natural gas rates are competitive, the infrastructure is modern, safe and reliable and the safety record is excellent.

Rocky Mount City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney said Worsinger has been an asset to the city.

“His years of service, knowledge of electric and gas and commitment to staying on top of industry trends by being involved in various organizations are appreciated,” Small-Toney said. (Read more)

Parks & Recreation to hold second annual camping event

Rocky Mount, N.C. – The city of Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation Department will host a Family Campout from 5 p.m. on Friday, June 7 until 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 8 at the Rocky Mount Athletic Stadium.

The campout will include games and other activities, a campfire and a glow walk. The event will also consist of the popular camping snack, smores, and a dinner on Friday with breakfast Saturday morning.

“This campout is a way for families to spend time together,” said Chris Koufopoulos, recreation program coordinator for Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation. “Camping is also a way for children to learn valuable lessons while enjoying nature, and for families to create lasting memories.”

Participants must bring their own tents and camping gear.

Pre-registration is required by Monday, June 3.

To register, visit the Parks and Recreation Department located on the third floor of City Hall. Registration is also available at the South Rocky Mount Community Center, located at 719 Recreation Dr., or at the Booker T. Washington Community Center at 727 Pennsylvania Ave. in Rocky Mount.

Online registration is available through the city’s website at www.rockymountnc.gov

The cost to attend the Family Campout is $20 per family campsite or per tent.

For more information, call 252-972-1135, or visit www.rockymountnc.gov.

The Rocky Mount Athletic Stadium is located at 600 Independence Dr.

Residents sound off to council – Rocky Mount Telegram

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff WRiter

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

After an uproarious couple of weeks at City Hall, Tuesday’s Rocky Mount City Council meeting remained calm and civilized.

Apologies were the order of the day with city residents Sam Battle and Troy Davis expressing regret for words said during the last meeting and last week at City Hall.

Battle told the council he’s sorry for heated comments made at the May 13 council meeting.

Davis was arrested May 22 at City Hall and charged with trespassing. He’s accused of violating new security protocols.

While both men were contrite, they remained resolute in their positions.

“I apologize for my language; I’m not apologizing for my outrage,” Davis said.

Davis said he was angry over poor police response times in his neighborhood. He said he is insulted that police claim the responded to a brawl on Beverly Street in eight minutes.

“It was at least 20 minutes,” Davis said, adding that security measures could be put in place overnight at City Hall, but police couldn’t respond in a timely manner.

Davis encouraged people to report crime and expect a reasonable response time.

Battle asked for the same amenities for Edgecombe County kids that Nash County kids get easily. He said the gym at the Booker T. Washington Community Center on Pennsylvania Avenue needs air conditioning.

“If it’s 90 degrees outside, it’s 130 degrees in the gym and they’re shutting it down,” Battle said.

Battle said Warren Daughtridge and Love Rocky Mount has done more for impoverished communities in the past few weeks than anyone else has done in years.

Me: So what have they done? It appears to me that some Special Cs are pimping the black community as we are approaching the upcoming city council election. There is a word for it, Poverty Pimps. The motive makes all the difference.

Battle and Daughtridge stood side-by-side when Daughtridge said their group is about the Golden Rule, open arms and helping hands.

Nehemiah Smith said beach trips, bagged lunches, used furniture and toys don’t remedy poverty. He said neither does lifting up agenda-backed heroes.

The real problem that needs to be solved in Rocky Mount’s impoverished neighborhoods is the deficit of opportunities, Smith said.

Moe Deloach offered to help bring the community together.

Sue Perry Cole voiced support for affordable workforce housing.

Curmilus Dancy said he’s been active in politics since the 1980s and was attending City Council meetings before any current member of the council. He said he wasn’t following the lead of the council members but rather applauding them when they do right and calling them out when they do wrong.

As of late, the council and staff deserve a thank you, Dancy said — especially City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney who lost both her parents in the middle of enduring intense scrutiny with no sympathy.

Source: Residents sound off to council – Rocky Mount Telegram

Bid process tilts project to developer – Rocky Mount Telegram

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The Political Agitator’s response: Some folk act like this is new news. The presentation about the motel/parking deck was made during the February meeting. See presentation in this video.

The stringent requirements and short response period set this week by the Rocky Mount City Council for a downtown hotel and parking garage make it highly likely the only developer able to apply for the job is the one already working hand-in-hand with City Hall on the project.

“This is for the gentleman, or, uh, a developer,” Mayor David Combs said during his introduction of the requirements at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Involved in the project from the very beginning, first with a feasibility study then as builder, is Tennessee developer David Hunt. He said in introducing the project in mid-February that he has been working closely with city management, visiting Rocky Mount nine times since July.

The city’s guidelines for submittal call for a site plan, a construction timeline, the brand of the hotel the developer will build and more — all due within a seven-day time frame, which ends at noon Tuesday.

No developer could meet all those requirements in a week unless they’ve already been working on it, according to a local developer familiar with the matter.

The city released a Request for Qualifications to provide guidelines to allow for the most qualified vendor to submit a proposal in a competitive bid process.

The project includes: (Read more)