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City Council voted Tuesday night to amend the city budget to utilize $5.4 million in bond proceeds for various projects, including nearly $2.2 million for Danville Public Schools capital projects.
The list of school projects does not include as originally planned the $1.6 million to renovate a building and purchase equipment for a precision machining program at George Washington High School. That project will be financed instead through another source of bonds — Qualified Zone Academy Bonds — that will be secured and appropriated within the next several weeks.
In addition to capital needs for schools, the bond proceeds approved last night will be used to pay for various City capital projects:
All of the projects are part of the City’s capital improvement plan that City Council adopted in June as part of the budget for the current fiscal year, which began July 1 of last year and ends June 30 of this year.
In other matters last night, City Council voted to:
In addition to these votes, City Council held a first reading on two matters:
A first reading is an introductory step required by City code before certain matters can be voted upon by City Council. This step serves to provide public notice of pending action. Council could not vote on the budget amendment Tuesday. The earliest vote that can take place will be the Jan. 17 City Council meeting.
Mayor John Gilstrap presented a certificate of recognition to the Rev. R.J. Barber Jr., known affectionately as “Brother Bob” to most citizens. On Monday, Barber marked the 55th anniversary of his daily radio broadcast “Tabernacle time.” The program is the oldest daily religious broadcast in the nation and is heard twice daily on local radio. Barber also served as pastor of the Baptist Tabernacle for more than 20 years.
During the open communications segment of City Council’s business session, two residents of the Old West End neighborhood expressed concerns over the homicide rate in the city during 2016.
The mayor and other members of Council reiterated steps being taken. At retreat in October, Council made reducing crime rate top priority. Last month, City outlined strategies for reducing the number of violent crimes.
The issue will be addressed further on Saturday when City Council will be meeting with the School Board for a daylong retreat to discuss ways to improve education.
Vice-mayor Alonzo Jones said everyone in the city has to participate in this effort to reduce violent crime, from the police department to schools and parents.
“How do [parents] not know their child has a gun; not know what they’re doing,” he asked, noting other high-priority goals, such as improving education and helping the city grow, will not happen if the violent crime rate is not “attacked.”
Council's meeting included a business session followed by a work session. In work sessions, Council reviews non-routine matters that will be voted upon in future business meetings.
In Tuesday’s work session, City Council reviewed the Danville Science Center’s master plan for the center’s future. Council also scheduled a vote at its Jan. 17 business session on a resolution authorizing a second phase of the Pine Street storm drainage project. The project will improve the existing inadequate system, which is causing flooding behind and under the houses on the south side of the street. Danville Redevelopment Housing Authority owns the majority of the homes on Pine Street that are affected. The second phase will use federal money to safeguard the investment and rehabilitation of the homes on this street and the quality of life for its current and future residents.
The work session concluded with a closed meeting as allowed by state law to discuss a prospective business or industry and to discuss acquisition of real property or disposition of publicly held real property.
River City TV airs live all Council business sessions. The first rebroadcast will be at 8 p.m. Thursday. Watch it on cable (Comcast channel 10 and Gamewood channel 122). The taped broadcast is available now on River City TV’s Facebook page.
River City TV does not air work sessions, but they are open to the public.