The City Council today approved a motion that would transfer more than $500,000 from its downtown redevelopment agency to spare social services that were to be cut from Mayor Jerry Sanders’ budget.

Councilwoman Donna Frye attempted to force the agency, Centre City Development Corp., to repay $3.8 million of its $100 million debt to the city in order to cover disability and neighborhood programs, as well as the costs of a number of social services that were to be cut, such as services for the homeless.

While the council didn’t support Frye’s motion, a second motion by Councilman Jim Madaffer to shift a separate $568,000 from CCDC to the city to pay for the homeless programs passed with unanimous support. A number of homeless people and homeless advocates turned out to urge the council to spare the programs.

“It worked,” Frye said.

The council also approved the budgets for the agency, the Centre City Development Corp., and another redevelopment organization, the Southeastern Economic Development Corp., after questions had been raised about pay increases.

Carolyn Smith, SEDC president, said that reports of a 30 percent increase in salaries were incorrect. She said the increase in administration expenses came from a pay increase of 4 percent, the addition of 1.5 positions and a boost to funds that cover such things as the organization’s wellness program and employee “separation agreements.”

An attempt to cut out the pay increases from the budget failed by a 4-4 council vote, and the budgets were approved as recommended. Councilman Tony Young also requested a performance audit of SEDC.


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