Greenville City Council discusses how to spend millions in taxpayer money

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The budget was once again the main item on the Greenville City Council’s agenda Monday night. They discussed a variety of issues impacting how much money would be spent, including road repairs and consolidating animal services.

As WNCT first reported, Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas was disappointed by the council’s recommendation to only spend about $1.1 million on road repairs. The mayor wanted nearly $2.5 million to be spent to keep up with the city’s rapid growth.

During Monday’s meeting, council members discussed road repairs, and how much to allot to cover them. They wanted to clarify on the issue, saying the $1.1 million is on top of the $10 million bond referendum voted on by the taxpayers.

Council members decided to keep the allotted amount for road repairs the same as had been proposed.

“We do have a lot of roads that are being repaired, and the additional one million that we already have, which means which means we can still have incremental funds,” said Mayor Pro Tem Kandie Smith.

Mayor Thomas, Councilman Calvin Mercer and Councilwoman Rose Glover were all absent during the meeting. Councilman McLean Godley brought up the fact the mayor was missing.

“For council members who aren’t even present here tonight to ask the taxpayers to burden an even larger load without presenting options of ways that they could do that on a revenue neutral budget is concerning,” he said.

Council members also heard from concerned city resident’s about the state of animal services. As it stands now, the city has no database where people can go to find lost pets or adopt an animal.

The county has extended the possibility of consolidating animal services to municipalities, which has been met by a lot of support in the community.

“It would streamline current services and eliminate duplicate ones, as well as save city tax dollars,” said Kristen Below.

However, others were concerned that consolidating services would slow down response times and affect the quality of care animals receive.

“Whatever we do we need to make sure that that is going to stay the same. We’re going to get the same level of service as what we’ve been getting,” said Mark Hayes, a local veterinarian.

County representatives were on hand to explain the process to the council members. They also alerted the council that if the city remained on its own, the cost to take in the city’s animals at the county shelter would increase dramatically, from the current $20 fee, to $90 by the end of 2019.

The change could cost the city an extra $50,000 each year.

The council now has about a six month time frame to decide what they want to do. On Monday, they decided to move forward with a study to determine which option would be wisest.

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