City contracts for land acquistion

The City of Henderson entered into a contract with the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments, the Kerr-Tar Economic Development Corporation, and Friends of Clean Up Henderson to administer a grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce to acquire land for the city’s Orange/Breckenridge Street project.

The unanimous vote to accept the contract was made at Monday evening’s first regular meeting of the 2007-2009 City Council.

The $250,000 grant will ultimately be used by the partners to promote home ownership in that area of the city.

Interim City Manager Ed Wyatt called the arrangement “a significant public-private partnership”.

Timmy Baines of the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments told the Council that the appropriation by the state was originally designated for the City of Henderson. He said that working with Friends of Clean Up Henderson, a non-profit agency, would avoid legal problems with governments owning and disposing of land.

Baines said that the Regional Council of Governments would administer the project only.

He also noted that the partnership would be trying to work with 31 separate parcels in the Orange/Breckenridge Street area.

City Attorney Billy Strickland told members that he had read through the contract and that it entailed limited liability for the city. He said that the contract specified that the city would provide attorney services, but that was “nothing much to it”.

It was noted that the Regional Council of Governments is represented by former City Attorney John Zollicoffer.

Council member Mike Rainey asked how the funds for the project would be administered. Strickland informed him that the funds would flow from the Regional Council of Governments to the city to Friends of Clean Up Henderson.

It may be remembered that Rainey, in his final remarks as part of the 2003-2005 City Council cautioned members to beware of the Friends of Clean Up Henderson non-profit corporation.

After a motion by member Mary Emma Evans and a second by Rainey, the vote to approve the contract was unanimous.