Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

Author: John Hammer

About John Hammer

Here are my most recent posts

Abuzuaiter Raises More Concerns About Proposed Incentive Policy

The City Council is holding a work session next month to discuss a proposed economic development incentive policy. The council was expected to pass the new policy at its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 16, until Councilmember Sharon Hightower brought up a new requirement that the council had not considered during its three work sessions on economic development in November and December.

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Council Effort At Diversity Bypasses Commission

However, at least one commission has escaped this effort for race and gender equity.  The Commission on the Status of Women has no gender diversity at all.  The City Council has appointed nine women to the nine-member commission. The last appointment in December 2020 was after the City Council held an entire work session to discuss race and gender equity on boards and commissions.  And that appointment was another woman, making no move toward bringing the Commission on the Status of Women in line with the demographics of Greensboro, where 46.5 percent of the population is male. 

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Airport Noise Cone Issue Comes Down To Grandfathering

The City of Greensboro and the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority are at odds over the proposed new Airport Overlay Districts, what is commonly called the noise cone. Both agree that reducing the size of the noise cone to comply with a study that was done in 2007 to open up 1,464 acres to more residential development is a good idea. As is usually the case, the devil is in the details.

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City Council Continued Controversial Airport Noise Cone Amendments

Amendments to the airport noise cone map and regulations – which the City Council continued at the Tuesday, Feb. 16 meeting – have become controversial, but it is difficult to understand why. The Zoning Commission unanimously approved the map and text amendments proposed by the city Planning Department, but it was not clear at the zoning meeting of Jan. 20 exactly what the commission was approving.

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Council Wants More Requirements In Economic Incentive Policy

The Economic Development Incentive Policy that was on the agenda for the Tuesday, Feb. 16 City Council meeting did not have a requirement that Councilmember Sharon Hightower wanted included on the list, so the policy was continued until the legal department can formulate that policy in proper legal terminology and the council can hold a work session to discuss the proposed new policy with the Hightower amendment.

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City Council Adjusts 2022 Violent Crime Reduction Goal

The Greensboro City Council spent some time discussing violent crime statistics at the virtual retreat on Friday, Feb. 12. The City Council did not discuss what could be done to stop the increase in violent crime or what it had done in the past year to try and decrease violent crime.

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Council Hears Bad Financial News, Considers More Spending

There was mostly bad financial news presented at the City Council virtual retreat on Thursday, Feb. 11. Sales tax revenue is $2 million under expected growth, utility tax revenue is down $1.5 million, hotel-motel tax revenue is down $1.1 million and the Coliseum reports a loss in revenue of over $7.5 million.

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City Council Considers 3 Cent Tax Increase At Retreat

At the first session of the two-day City Council virtual retreat on Thursday, Feb. 11, the City Council discussed issuing $16 million in two-thirds bonds in 2022, putting a $120 million bond referendum on the ballot in November of this year, and to pay for all that by raising property taxes by 3 cents.

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New Bellemeade Parking Deck Opening Soon

Here is some good news in the saga of two new downtown parking decks. According to Greensboro Department of Transportation Director Hanna Cockburn, the Bellemeade Deck – across the street from First National Bank Field home of the Greensboro Grasshoppers – will be open for use maybe as early as next week. And the deck will be free for probably the first month to six weeks of operation.

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Homicides For 2021 Up Over Same Period In 2020

At least in one statistic 2021 in Greensboro so far is worse than 2020.

As of Tuesday, Feb. 9, there have been seven homicides in Greensboro in 2021.  In 2020, by the same date, there had been four homicides according to Greensboro Police Department Public Information Officer Ron Glenn.

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People Kept In The Dark About Upcoming Council Retreat

The City Council retreat is scheduled to begin on Thursday, Feb. 11 and Friday, Feb. 12 at 9 a.m. and presumably can be viewed by going to the city website and to the City Council calendar page at greensboro.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx and clicking on the video for the date.  There is no agenda available to the public.  The information that is available is that the meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11 and 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, Feb. 12.

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It’s Called The NIB, But Some Suggested A Different Name

UNCG is celebrating the opening of its new $105 million Nursing and Instructional Building, as it should. Or perhaps celebrating as much as it can in this time of limited gatherings and social distancing – there is no ribbon cutting event planned.  It’s taken three years to construct the five-story, 180,000-square-foot building that is commonly referred to as “The NIB.”

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City Council Once Again Tries To Tell Legislature What To Do

Greensboro city councilmembers noted several weeks ago that Greensboro isn’t popular with the state legislature and the Greensboro Legislative Agenda almost seems designed to keep it that way. The City Council held a virtual meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 2 with members of the Guilford County Legislative Delegation to discuss the Greensboro Legislative Agenda, which is a list of items that the City Council would like to see passed in the 2021 session.

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State Government United In Effort To Re-Open Schools

It appears the state government in Raleigh is united in the effort to have public schools in the state reopen their classrooms. A bill was introduced in the state House Monday, Feb. 1 that would require all public schools to offer in-classroom instruction for parents and students who choose it.

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Bipartisan Letter Requests Better Vaccine Distribution From State

The COVID-19 vaccine distribution debacle in Guilford County even has red and blue working together. The co-chairs of the Guilford County Legislative Delegation Democratic state Rep. Ashton Clemmons and Republican state Rep. Jon Hardister sent a joint letter to Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen.

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Questions About Vaccine Distribution Still Need Answers

Mecklenburg County held a mass vaccination event last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway that vaccinated an estimated 16,000 people. The mass vaccination event planned for this weekend at Bank of America Stadium is expected to vaccinate 20,000 people. Durham is planning a mass vaccination event to vaccinate 17,000 people a week. Chair of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston reportedly spent all weekend on the phone tracking down and getting 400 doses of the vaccine for Guilford County, so the county would not have cancel appointments that had already been made.

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Top Greensboro Salaries Generally Higher Than Winston-Salem

The Triad Business Journal this week published the salaries of the top 25 city employees in both cities, making that comparison pretty easy.  All salary figures are from the Triad Business Journal. Overall, Greensboro pays its top city employees a lot more than Winston-Salem.  Although cities organize their governments differently, the most basic comparison is that Greensboro pays more.

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Vaccines Not First Time GSO Has Been Shorted By State

This weekend Guilford County, for whatever reason, got shorted over 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. At a press conference on Monday, Jan. 25, neither Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston nor Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan had a good explanation as to why the vaccines were not delivered as expected.  The result was that over 10,000 appointments had to be cancelled.

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