FROM STAFF REPORTS
The Statesville City Council voted to delay all municipal elections scheduled for later this year until March 2021.
The postponement was necessitated by delays in Census data that will be used to draw new district lines for the city’s wards.
Recent legislation passed by the N.C. House and Senate gave municipalities the option to hold elections for mayoral races and at-large (or citywide) council seats this fall, city officials said. Elections for the wards cannot be held until the Census data is finalized.
During Monday’s meeting, council members discussed the pros and cons of splitting up the elections or holding them all at once.
Among the drawbacks were that newly elected councilmembers and the next mayor would serve less than four-year terms; they could be seated as late as May if there is a run-off.
Council members also worried that if the mayoral race and at-large seats were contested in the fall then voter turnout for the ward races would be lower.
In other business, council members:
♦ Approved the proposed budget for fiscal year 2021-2022, which maintains the current property tax rate but includes a 20 percent increase in water and sewer rates, which city officials said are necessary to raise money to fund critical infrastructure improvements. Councilmen C.O. Johnson, Steve Johnson and John Staford all voted against the budget.
♦ Rejected a motion by Councilman C.O. Johnson to eliminate the controversial $120 solid waste fee assessed on most residences and use about $1 million from the city’s reserves to balance the budget. The council also rejected a proposal to collect the fee through monthly utility bills rather than via the annual levy on the county tax bill.
♦ Approved a five-year lease with Velocity One Aviation to rent the former Rubbermaid hangar at Statesville Regional Airport at a monthly rate of $16,797.55. The agreement requires the company to house $5 million worth of aircraft in the hangar.
♦ Approved a conditional request by True Homes, on behalf of Larkin Golf Course Development LLC and Creekside at Fox Den LLC, to rezone 157 acres between Amity Hill Road and Whites Mill Road on the west and north and Third Creek (and the Larkin Golf Course) to the south. The intent of this request is to develop a new subdivision of approximately 380 residential units, including 272 single-family residential lots, 48 duplex units, and 60 townhomes with a proposed gross maximum density of 2.42 units per acre in a cluster subdivision. The project will be tied to the concept plan and conditions submitted by the applicant, plus any conditions approved by the Planning Board and City Council.