Council adopts capital improvements

Published 9:12 pm Thursday, February 22, 2018

City Council voted 8-0 on Wednesday to adopt the Capital Improvements Plan for fiscal years 2019-2028.

The Capital Improvements Plan is an outline of the capital projects the city expects to need in the next 10 years. The first year of the final plan becomes a part of the city manager’s budget recommendation to City Council.

The budget will be proposed to City Council in the spring.

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The adopted plan includes a new central library in downtown Suffolk. The new $15 million library would be located on land the city already owns on West Washington Street in downtown, and it would replace the aging Morgan Memorial Library building. It would be funded in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

Advocates for the central library attended the meeting to voice support for moving up the library project.

“The library has made a great difference, and they have done great work,” said Sean Bilby. “In the current building, there are no additional spaces. We need spaces for training and engagement. This library has been an idea since 1999, and this is the third year it has been pushed off.”

Mayor Linda T. Johnson and Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett agreed with citizens advocating for pushing the library forward. Councilman Timothy Johnson spoke in opposition to moving the library project forward a year, suggesting the community use fiscal year 2019 as a time to plan.

“I am 100 percent behind a new library, but are we ready for one?” Councilman Johnson asked. “We don’t know what we want yet. I think in fiscal year 2019 you need to put a commission together and do whatever we need to do to put together something that is real.”

City Manager Patrick Roberts urged the council to move forward with the Capital Improvements plan as it was presented. Council voted on the plan with no edits.

The City Council also voted on three other matters — two rezoning requests and a conditional use permit.

Council voted 8-0 in favor of amending approved proffered conditions for previously approved 55-and-up housing at 401 Kings Fork Road. The approval allowed the housing development be changed to 42 single-family units with no age limit.

Council also unanimously approved two matters regarding Crocker Funeral Home Inc. The funeral home submitted a rezoning request and a conditional use permit to allow expansion of its current facilities.