Raleigh’s 15 SafeLight traffic cameras will remain in service.
Councilors Tuesday authorized the city manager to execute a contract with Xerox State and Local Solutions, Inc. to continue operation of the SafeLight red light camera system. The previous two-year agreement, with three one-year extension options, is complete.
The annual cost of the system is $666,000. There will be no change in the number of cameras, which are placed at several high-accident intersections in the city. Drivers who run red lights are caught on camera and issued a ticket through the mail. The civil ticket does not result in insurance or drivers license points.
Revenue from the citation fees from the cameras, less program costs, goes to the Wake County Board of Education.
Councilor Bonner Gaylord, an opponent of the red light camera system, voted against the contract and spoke out against it.
“I’d prefer we didn’t do the SafeLight program,” Gaylord said. “I understand the arguments for it. I’d rather that we didn’t and I want the record to reflect that.”
City Picks New Pharmacy Benefit Provider
OptumRx has been chosen as the new pharmacy benefit provider for the City of Raleigh Employee’s Group Health Plan.
The city’s insurance consultant, Willis of NC, issued a Request for Proposal for a pharmacy benefit manager and administrator. OptumRx was selected from five proposals and is projected to save the city about $4.2 million in three years.
City Councilors voted to authorize the city manager to negotiate and execute a 1-year contract with OptumRx. The contract can be renewed year to year for a combined total of three years.
Mayor Nancy McFarlane, a licensed pharmacist and pharmaceutical company owner, made some suggestions for the city manager and city attorney to keep in mind as they negotiated with OptumRx.
OptumRx is a California-based company. McFarlane’s questioned the need to go with a mail-order service that is not local when there are plenty of local pharmacies that offer free delivery.
McFarlane also wanted to ensure that specialty drug pricing is included in the final contract.
“To the consumer it looks the same,” McFarlane said. “They are paying the same copay, but we as the city are charged much more for the mail order company that this is outsourced to.”
Councilors also voted to extend the pharmacy benefit provider contract with CVS/CareMark through Dec. 31. OptumRx is expected to start serving as the city’s pharmacy benefit provider Jan. 1, 2014.
The city switched its prescription drug coverage from Blue Cross Blue Shield to CVS/CareMark in 2010 to save money, but McFarlane had concerns about the cost of the program, which she felt were too high.
Public Hearing Set for Daniels Street Rezoning
Raleigh residents will get a chance to make their voices heard about the proposed rezoning of a piece of property on Daniels Street.
The half-acre property is located just north of the Cameron Village Shopping Center.
The former home of the late N.C. State basketball coach Everett Case sits on the property. The property borders a planned five-story apartment building on Oberlin Road and its current owner wants to protect it from future development.
Under the new Unified Development Ordinance, rezoning the property would ensure that a buffer would be in place as long as the property is used for a single-family home.
The case was discussed at the Oct. 8 Planning Commission meeting. Commissioners rejected the request and recommended that City Council deny the rezoning request.
Councilors opted to set a public hearing instead. The public hearing will take place at the Nov. 5 City Council meeting.
Public Hearings Set for Landmark Drive and Oberlin Road Rezoning Cases
City Councilors are seeking public input on two other rezoning cases.
The rezoning of a 34-acre property on Lake Boone Trail between Blue Ridge Road and the I-440 Beltline and the rezoning of a half-acre property on Oberlin Road now have public hearings.
The complex Lake Boone Trail rezoning case was initially delayed at the Sept. 10 Planning Commission meeting to give the city attorney’s office time to review the request.
No substantial changes were made to the initial request, but some conditions were refined to ensure they were in line with the Unified Development Ordinance.
Attorney Michael Birch, representing the applicant, said the rezoning would address the lack of retail services in the area.
The main issue with the Oberlin Road rezoning stems from driveway access.
Neighbors on Van Dyke Avenue who have spoken before Council members recently are adamant that driveway access onto Van Dyke be prohibited for any future project.
According to city code, the city isn’t allowed to prohibit driveway access. Because the property is on a corner, legally, the developer can put a driveway on Van Dyke Avenue within 300 feet from Oberlin Road.
The public hearings for both cases is scheduled for the Nov. 5 City Council meeting.
City Council District B Candidate Brian Fitzsimmons Fulfills Campaign Promise
Former City Council Candidate Brian Fitzsimmons, who recently lost his bid for the District B seat to Councilor John Odom, fulfilled a campaign promise and spoke out about the city’s non-discrimination language.
Fitzsimmons advocated for expanding the city’s existing non-discrimination language to specifically address the protection of gender identity as well as including “actual or perceived” verbiage.
Councilors sent the issue to the Human Relations Commission for a full review. The Commission will then come back with recommendations for future action.