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The next step in the 2019-2020 budget process will be for Roanoke Rapids City Manager Joseph Scherer to review recommendations and discuss with department heads where reductions can be made to come up with a balanced financial plan.

Scherer confirmed after a work session Thursday, the second one in the process, he is trying to stay away from using fund balance to balance the budget.

Currently there is an $830,315 gap between what the city expects to bring in through revenue sources and what all city department heads have requested.

At Thursday’s work session city council heard from parks and recreation, public works and administrative, which included Main Street.

Parks and recreation presented a proposed $1,958,465 budget; public works presented a $4,891,546 plan and the general government budget is proposed at $4,376,045.

The total department budget proposals are at $17,500,576 while projected revenues are at $16,670,261.

Parks and recreation

Department Director John Simeon said T.J. Davis requires fire alarm repair. “The original panel which is the box and computer that communicates with 911 … is from the 2000 renovation of T.J. Davis and it is not communicating with the 911 center,” he wrote in notes for the presentation.

The company which supplied the system is out of business and employees can’t access the panel. “As of right now if the fire alarm is deployed no one is responding because it can’t connect with 911.”

The fire marshal has requested the control panel be replaced to bring it up to code.

Cost is estimated at $7,500.

Simeon said there have been several requests from the community to offer additional adult softball and basketball leagues. “This funding will be offset by collecting the fees that we charge for these leagues.”

Estimated cost is $7,000 for officials.

Steel doors at the Aquatic Center must be replaced. These are the fire escape doors, Simeon told council.

“These are the original 1991 emergency side exit doors that are completely rusted through and need to be replaced.”

Cost is estimated at $6,000.

The remainder of Simeon’s presentation focused on Kirkwood Adams.

The outdated 2003 HVAC control panel is currently not functioning as it should. “No replacement parts exist,” he wrote in his notes. “If the control panel completely fails the building will be shut down for an extended period of time. This concerns me. If we need to shut down it is going to affect someone’s rental. This could be a family reunion or a wedding that has been planned for over a year.”

Cost is estimated at $30,700.

Carpeting at Kirkwood is 15-years-old. “It’s worn and severely stained from years of use. Traffic flow for this carpeting is over 315,000 patrons since it was installed 15 years ago.”

Councilwoman Suetta Scarbrough asked Simeon whether tile might work better than carpet.

“The trade off might be worth it,” he replied. “It’s easier to clean.”

Scherer said, “Whatever we do is going to be a significant cost.”

Cost is estimated at $25,000.

The circa 1975 tables and chairs are being removed from the center annually, Simeon said. “It’s getting to a point where we cannot set up for our capacity of 900 which is fire code. Right now we are only able to accommodate 700 with tables and chairs.”

Tables are estimated to cost $2,000 and chairs $5,000.

Fire alarm system replacement is needed. “It is currently not working and replacement parts are not available. The fire marshal has requested full replacement to bring up to code.”

Full replacement calls for audible and visual pull stations, lights, wiring and control panel.

Cost is estimated at $25,000.

Public works

Department Director Larry Chalker presented several items for consideration during the session.

They included radio system upgrade at $4,000; maintenance in the street department and an extra $8,000 allotment; curb and gutter and an extra $4,000 allotment; sidewalks and an extra $3,000 allotment; maintaining reaches and an extra $5,000 allotment and resurfacing Old Farm Road and an extra $150,000 allotment.

He requested $65,000 in funds for stormwater pipe replacement at Rollingwood Road. There are two pipes which are not handling heavy rain events, he said. “The bottoms are gone and we need to add capacity. I believe $65,000 would cover a modular culvert.”

Also of concern are drainage improvements at Ninth Street and Park Avenue in which $170,000 has been requested.

Chalker has requested an extra $10,000 to cover increases in tipping fees; an extra $10,000 for equipment maintenance and repair; an extra $6,000 for vehicle maintenance and repair and $35,000 for a leaf machine.

Additionally, he has requested $13,000 for a mosquito fogger.


Scherer is seeking $10,000 to address appearance improvements and nuisance abatement.

That includes developing a team across the city to identify properties, coordinate with property owners and residents for cooperation and abatement activity and utilize public works to assist with abatement activities.

He also wants to provide funding to assist property owners with window replacement in Roanoke Avenue commercial properties.