Council talking stimulus money

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Read the full agenda below and follow the council meeting live on the Raleigh Public Record’s Twitter feed.

The Raleigh City Council has a set of issues related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act before councilors this week. Council could also approve a new consultants to review and rewrite the city’s entire zoning code in order to implement the new comprehensive plan, expected to pass this summer.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources has approved a $465,000 loan to upfit nine fire stations for rain water harvesting. Half of the loan will be forgiven and the rest has a zero-percent interest rate. The city will have to pick up $109,000 of the tab to fully fund the $574,000 project. If council approves the grant, the city’s share of the cost will come from funding mean to upgrade the Newton Road culvert.

Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen wants council’s permission to apply for a $3.8 million energy efficiency grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s stimulus funding. Allen’s grant proposal says the grant would create or retain 117 jobs. See the proposal on the city’s website for full descriptions of the projects, and here’s a summary of selected ideas:

  • Weatherization and energy efficiency loans – The city wants to be able to make revolving loans to residents at or above 200 percent of the poverty level. The city would find a non-profit organization to administer the two loan programs.
  • Climate action plan – The city manager’s proposal says he wants to “develop a detailed comprehensive city-wide strategic energy plan to reduce fossil fuel consumption and emissions and to increase energy efficiency within the City of Raleigh operations.”
  • Electric cars – The city wants $77,000 from the grant to convert seven city vehicles to electric. The request also proposes $15,000 for two electric car recharging stations.

The Raleigh Police Department received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to pay for police overtime and in-car digital cameras.

In order to implement the new comprehensive plan, which is expected to pass this summer, the city’s planning department wants to completely rewrite the zoning code. The city put out a request for proposals for a consultant. Austin-based Code Solutions submitted the low bid and city administration wants council approval to negotiate the contract with the company.

City staff wants council approval to get new funding for $80.3 million in bonds. The report on refunding the five General Obligation Bonds says the city could save $1.7 million by getting a lower interest rate on the bonds.

The city will start work on a new stream restoration project soon. Raleigh-based Fluvial Solutions submitted the low bid to restore part of a small creek near Cameron Village at Small Drive Park and Edna Metz Wells Park. The bid is for $783,000 to do work in both parks.

The issue of requiring deposits from city utility customers is back at council after councilors disagreed over a proposed $100 deposit. Council sent the idea to the Budget and Economic Development Committee two weeks ago. The committee is back with a recommendation to require a $50 deposit.

City Council Agenda5-16

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