Raleigh City Council supports African-American festival, changes to trash pickup program

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The Raleigh City Council voted to support the African-American cultural festival with the full $75,000 it pledged last year. The city and Wake County were supposed to match funds for the festival, but a split 3-3 vote by the county commissioners earlier this week denied giving the additional funding to the festival.

Both the city and the county already gave more than $25,000 for the festival, which is planned for the 2010 Labor Day weekend. Wake Commissioner Lindy Brown told the council that she hoped the funding for he festival would go back to the commissioners for a second vote.

In a presentation to council, festival organizers said they anticipate the event will cost about $462,000. Organizers told the council that they expect about a quarter of the funds to come from corporate sponsors. The festival’s proposed budget says the organizers expect almost 30 percent to come from vendor fees and other revenue. The rest of the funding will come from other organizations and individual contributions.

Several councilors, including Russ Stephenson (at-large) and James West (District C), said that the funds had already been budgeted for this year, but next year it would be hard to give the same level of support. Councilors are getting ready for an even tighter city budget next near.

Presenting their budget to council, the organizers said the city’s contribution was to help get the festival started. But they said they expect the festival to be self-sufficient.

Read the festival organizers’ report to council below.

Isley, Koopman leaving council

Philip Isley (District E), pictured right, and Roger Koopman (District B) attended their last meeting as councilors this week. Isley decided not to run for the seat again and Koopman lost to John Odom in the October election.

Odom and new District E Councilor Bonner Gaylor sat behind council this week. They will be sworn in on November 30.

At the end of Tuesday’s council meeting, Isley told the council that his 2905 days serving on the council had given him “some great party stories.” But he left them with some words of advice. Isley, who has been the sole conservative voice on the city council for several years, said he hoped the incoming council would “have a rediscovery of common sense.” He warned against “over technalizing” issues and not to get political. “The infill fights drive me crazy,” Isley said in his goodbye comments.

Trash pickup assistance program

Council approved changes to the Solid Waste Services Department’s Need Assistance Program, which is set up to help disabled people who can’t bring their trash bins to the curb.

The changes will require new people enrolling in the program to have a doctor fill out a form certifying their disabled status and that no one else in the house can bring the bin to the curb. People will no longer be able to automatically register when they turn 65.

The changes will also ask existing customers to fill out a questionnaire certifying that they need the service. No one currently enrolled will be disqualified, but will be asked to take themselves out of the program if they don’t need it.

Solid Waste Services Director Frederick Battle told the Public Works Committee last week that changes to the program could save the city more than $100,000.

See previous coverage here.

Krispy Kreme Challenge

The Raleigh Public Record reported earlier that At-large Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin had received complaints about the route of the annual Krispy Kreme Challenge along Peace Street.

Two weeks ago she asked the organizers to come back with a new route for the race where participants run from the Bell Tower at N.C. State University to Krispy Kreme, eat a dozen donuts and then run back.

This week Baldwin told the council that she talked with the organizers and they agreed to advertise the race route more this year and she dropped her objections.


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