District 2 residents voice unrest in budget meeting

Greensboro officials convened at the Eastern Division Police Department on Maple Street this evening to present the framework of its budget plans for the next fiscal year and to hear suggestions from residents of District 2, the city's eastern side.

 It was the first of five district budget meetings scheduled to take place over the next three weeks. City council and the city manager's office will then spend the next two months balancing and finalizing the 2013-14 budget before its June adoption.

The meeting’s host, city councilman Jim Kee, opened by recapping some of the city’s successful investments over the past three years, as well as mentioning future projects relevant to District 2, such as the Procter & Gamble expansion and the Greensboro Renaissance Center on Bessemer Avenue. He said construction on the multifaceted shopping center would begin in roughly 30 to 60 days.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Kee said.

Kee's fellow council members Marikay Abuzuaiter and Tony Wilkins were also present at the meeting, engaging in conversation with community members.

Kee described East Market Street as "an area that needs more attention." He expressed hope for it to emulate Tate Street and Chapel Hill's Franklin Street, two college-area streets rich in culture and commerce .
City Manager Denise Turner Roth then presented a slideshow detailing the current '13-'14 plan, notably its $7.1 million budget gap and the efforts being made to fill it. She pointed out the challenge of cutting costs while making sustainable improvements to the city, as well as maintaining entities that don't generate revenue.

Roth then opened the floor for public comment, noting how suggestions influence the budget proposal.

“We need and want your input,” she said.

Numerous spirited community members made sure to fulfill the city manager’s request.

The economic redevelopment of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive was the subject of several different comments, dominating much of the meeting. Frustrated speakers referenced the the road's abundance of crime, disintegrating buildings and drug-dealing youths.

Roth acknowledged the city's intentions to improve the area in compliance with the budget.

Nostalgia was another recurring theme of the public discussion, as multiple residents reflected on the past beauty of certain neighborhoods in contrast to their current deterioration.

Kee closed the meeting by referring citizens to the budget section of the city's website to make further suggestions and for more information on future meetings.

"We want to invest your money wisely," Kee said.

1 comment:

Billy Jones said...

And with the City of Greensboro giving money to downtown developers like Roy Carroll to subdize downtown gambling operations the unrest is only going to get much worse.