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Roanoke Rapids City Council Monday backed spending recommendations by the city manager for funds received through the American Rescue Plan Act and added two items to that list — funds for a salary study and those for demolition of dilapidated structures.

The consensus by the three council members attending the work session along with the mayor did not come without some friction between Carl Ferebee and Wayne Smith.

Smith wanted to move forward with getting a consensus on the spending plan and Ferebee wanted more discussion on the matter.

Ultimately, after Mayor Emery Doughtie tapped his gavel twice to get the meeting flowing, the council reached a consensus and added $130,000 for demolition and $30,000 for a salary study, for which Councilwoman Sandra Bryant has been pushing.

“I think the salary study is needed,” she said. “Employees don’t know from year to year where they are or where they stand. There were overlaps. There were things we did the other month that threw the whole police scale out of balance.”

Bryant said, “Not everybody has to be at the bottom, not everybody has to be at the top. The goal in a salary study is to find your midpoint so that you know pretty much where you are and we all have something to work towards.”

As recommended by City Manager Kelly Traynham and with the inclusion of the two additional items council suggested the allocation of the ARPA funding is as follows:

General government

$510,000 for city software and operating system upgrades

$15,000 for equipment and tech upgrades

$30,000 for the salary study
$500,000 or economic development incentives

Police department

Seven police vehicles at $40,000 each for a total of $280,000

Seven in-car cameras at $5,500 each for a total of $38,500

50 portable Viper radios at $3,000 each for a total of $150,000

Seven in-car Viper radios at $3,500 each for a total of $24,500

Public works

A signal light upgrade at Seventh Street and Park Avenue for $30,000

A trash truck at $250,000

A knuckle boom truck at $220,000

A commercial lawn mower at $12,000

Two pickups at $33,000 each for a total of $66,000

A backhoe at $90,000

Street resurfacing funds of $500,0000

Fire department

A fire engine at $580,725 which has already been ordered

A generator for Station 1 at $85,000

An F-250 heavy-duty pickup at $50,000

Parks and recreation

Rochelle Park tennis court resurfacing at $38,000

An SUV at $40,000

A pickup at $33,000

Security camera system at $8,000

Zoom virtual board meeting equipment at $12,000

Five-year recreation master plan update at $50,000

Kirkwood Adams kitchen and bath renovations at $50,000

Planning and development

Two vehicles at $35,000 each for $70,000

A pickup at $33,000

Comprehensive plan update at $60,000

Four computers at $1,500 each for a total of $6,000

Demolition at $130,000

Bryant said the operating system upgrade was crucial. “I think it’s definitely important that we make it accessible to our public and if we can do something to generate interest from people that want to come to town and do some business with us.”

Traynham said, “The software upgrades are going to help transform our community. It’s the intent of this OpenGov platform to improve the efficiency, provide better citizen experience and help us to save money in the long run on our time and effort that we’re manually doing right now. We also have a lot of security measures in it. They are designed for local government. It really is a transformative thing.”