Raleigh City Councilors are urging the Wake County Board of Commissioners to approve putting a half-cent sales tax increase referendum on the November ballot. The increase would be used to fund transit improvement projects such as increased bus service and a commuter rail line from Johnson County to Durham.
The resolution outlining the city’s support for the increase was approved 7 to 1, with Councilor John Odom voting in opposition.
Wake County Commissioners have yet to decide whether to include the referendum for voter approval on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Last November, Durham residents approved its own half-cent sales tax increase by 60 percent.
The Raleigh Times Bar to Get City Loan
Using funding from the city’s Downtown Loan Pool Program, the Raleigh Times Bar will be increasing its seating capacity by about 90 seats. The $50,000 loan will be used to cover kitchen equipment and furniture.
Councilor John Odom was the only opposing vote and questioned how often the city approves these types of loans.
The Downtown Loan Pool Program was created in 2004 to stimulate economic development and revitalization in the downtown area, particularly on Fayetteville Street. Recently, the program was expanded to include other major streets such as Wilmington and Hargett.
The Raleigh Times Bar is the fifth business to take advantage of the program.
Affordable Housing Community Approved
City councilors also approved funding for an affordable housing community in Northeast Raleigh. The city will provide $1.3 million in financing for the project through federal HOME funding at 2 percent interest.
The rental community will be located at 3100 Forestville Road, which is considered a Priority One area according to the city’s Scatter Site Policy. Priority One areas generally lack affordable housing developments.
Brighton Pointe Place will consist of 80 rental units, made up of 56 two-bedroom apartments and 24 three-bedroom apartments. The apartments will target families who are at 30, 50 and 60 percent of the area median income.
City Purchases Land for New Park
The city will be purchasing about 25 acres for a neighborhood park located near Interstate 540 and U.S. 401 in Northeast Raleigh.
The city will purchase the land for $84,900 per acre for a total of about $2.1 million. Funding will come from the city’s Capital Improvement Program budget. Site plans for the park have not been created, but there is a greenway under construction that will run through the park area. The site will go through the park master plan process.
Lake Wheeler Road Improvements Approved
City councilors approved going forward with road improvements for a stretch of Lake Wheeler Road. Each driving lane will soon be 13 feet wide to accommodate future bike lanes, left turn lanes at Lineberry Road and Sierra Drive and sidewalks.
At the previous council meeting, residents suggested including a light at the intersection of Lineberry Road to deter drivers from using Sierra Lane to enter the neighborhood. The issue was sent to the Public Works Committee for further discussion.
Councilor Thomas Crowder questioned why the Lineberry Road light was not included in the recommendation. Traffic engineering staff said that they will restudy the intersection after a student housing development now under construction is complete.
Waste Water Treatment Plant Contractor Chosen
Florida-based RTD Construction was chosen to handle the upgrade and expansion of the Little Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. RTD Construction was one of eight companies to bid for the work, winning out with a low bid of about $5 million.
The upgrades and expansion to the plant, which mainly serves the Town of Zebulon, will increase capacity from 1.9 million gallons per day to 2.2 million.