Embassy, Aycock on council agenda

Public hearings and minor budget amendments highlight a Henderson City Council agenda that could prove anticlimactic tonight after the evening’s forum on the 2004 city audit.

Depending on how the forum goes at 5:30 p.m., an Embassy Square-related public hearing could provide interesting information and even some fireworks during the council’s regular meeting. The mandatory hearing covers a proposal to transfer $118,000 in federal money from the construction of parking to the construction of the library/gallery building itself.

Public hearings also are scheduled on two rezoning proposals: to change 0.84 acre at the corner of Beckford Drive and West Andrews Avenue (across Beckford from Blacknall Cemetery and diagonally across the intersection from the BP gas station) from R-6 (high-density residential) to B-2 (highway commercial), a request made by Jerry Chesson and Southeastern Shelter Corp. to facilitate the sale of the site; and to change roughly 15 acres on Nicholas Street, Skenes Avenue and Cedar Street from R-6 and R-8M (moderate-to-high-density residential, including mobile homes) to I-2 (industrial nonpark), at the request of owner Idaho Timber to reflect the growth of its existing business.

The consent agenda includes six budget amendments, none of which is expected to be controversial. But three of them will have the effect of closing the books on the capital project budget for Phase II of the Aycock Recreation Complex, which is the building. The final cost is $4,712,945, including $4,072,059 in actual construction expenses. The revenues included $56,845 in private donations.

The closing of the capital budget — meaning that all revenues have been received and matched and spent on all expenses — does not mean the city is done paying for the rec center. The repayment of the $3.9 million loan falls under the city’s general budget fund.

The other three budget amendments are related to law enforcement. The city earned $189 in investment income on a Budget of Justice Assistance grant from 2002 and has two amendments to reflect that extra income and its use for “travel and schools” for police. The final amendment covers $6,400 in donations toward the planned expansion of the city’s K-9 corps, which has lost three dogs to death or retirement.

The council is due to approve the demolition of three abandoned houses, at 831 Beckford Drive, 1570 E. Andrews Ave. and 412 Thomas St., although the Code Compliance Department has no money to pay for the work.

After the pre-meeting public forum and the three public hearings, only one guest presentation is on the agenda. Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments planner Rick Seekins and developer Eddie Ferguson plan to make a PowerPoint presentation on behalf of Team Vance.

The council’s other actions tonight could be limited to a resolution to accept a $95,000 offer to sell a 0.42-acre triangular tract next the Operations & Service Center on Beckford Drive. The city has been trying to sell the land since it bought the former Lowe’s site four years ago.

Schewel Furniture wants to buy the site and five adjoining properties to build a store. Mike Garrett is brokering the deal and is due a $5,000 fee in the sale of the city property, leaving Henderson with $90,000 at closing.

The budget this year already includes that money because the city anticipated selling the property to Rosemyr, but the real estate developer’s plans fell apart in the face of state Department of Transportation demands.

Council member Elissa Yount has a number of issues she submitted for the agenda, and they are grouped for discussion at the end of the meeting. They include Embassy Square questions, the number of burned houses in the city, the overdue performance appraisal for City Manager Eric Williams, city-county matters and the need for a list of state legislative priorities.

The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers at the Municipal Building on Beckford Drive.