Durham City Council expected to vote to make outdoor dining permanent
Durham City Council is expected to vote during Monday night's meeting to make outdoor dining permanent. The expanded seating has been popular in Durham during the coronavirus pandemic, but the program is set to expire at the end of October.
internal service fund spending plan amendments, item four resolution endorsing to protect the right to organize act. Item six funds provision agreement with step up Durham and steady platform inc Item seven outdoor seating ordinance 28. Yes, I don't want to pull that necessarily. But given the managers priority item um if we could find out how the ordinance changed before we vote, that'd be awesome. Okay I didn't understand that there was a change in the ordinance but maybe there is. Yeah council member let's pull that. Let's just go ahead and pull that. Okay. Sorry. No problem. No problem. Item eight Twin Lakes annexation ordinance correction item non contract with families moving forward for emergency shelter services. Item 10 contract with open table ministry inc for emergency shelter and homelessness prevention services. I am 11 contract with project access of Durham County for emergency shelter and rapid re housing services and 12 contract with urban ministries of Durham for emergency shelter services. Item 13 contract with volunteers of America the Carolinas for homelessness prevention services adam 14 inter local agreement reauthorizing the Durham bicycle and pedestrian advisory commission out of 15 sewer outfall inspection program. South project items 16 state contract purchase counter pillar 9 63 track loader item 17 acquisition of 6 19 Buren Road P. I. D. Number 193170 for the future expansion of like mickey and an 18 city of Durham carbon neutrality and renewable energy action plan 19 I didn't want to pull the item but I didn't want to comment and just say I wanted to to say that I'm really excited about the carbon neutrality um And renewable energy action plan. And I'm looking forward to adding the equitable and green infrastructure bond to that and moving more work forward in that green states. Thank you. Okay, item 19 proposed agreement with Durham County Quaker Creek Farm Solar LLC and Duke Energy Carolinas LLC for application of the Duke Energy Green source advantage program. Item 20 solve property located at 1 14 North Plum Street P. I. D. Number 1165111656 to habitat humanity of Durham inc. 21 contract has T 315 unpaved roads improvements 2021. I know 22 utility extension agreement with Fox Field land partners LLC to serve instead growth item 26 expansion of the long time homeowner grant program to include the Wall town neighborhood. And I'm gonna pull that item. There are some people here to speak on that item. Uh so you've now heard the consent agenda and with the exceptions of items seven and 26 I'll accept the motion for their approval. So moved. 2nd 2nd move by council member Freeman seconded by council member caballero that we approved the consent agenda amount of clerk. Will you please call the roll mayor shul uh mayor pro TEM johnson council member caballero. I. Council member of Free Lawn. I. Council member of Freeman. Yeah. Council member Middleton would I let's remember race. Hi, thank you. Thank you very much, Madam clerk. The eyes have it and the motion passes unanimously. Will now move to item 24 under the general business agenda public hearing. City Council salary adjustments. Uh And we will have a public hearing. I believe we're going to hear from Mr Jonah laura. Mr laura. Welcome. Good evening mayor Madam. Uh Mayor pro TEM members of council and Jonah laura. I'm the acting budget director And this is a public hearing to receive comments regarding the city council's salary adjustments. Thank you very much. Mr luthor colleagues. You've heard the reports from staff. I'm now going to declare this public hearing open. Uh And I'm going to ask. First of all are the members of the public who would like to be heard on this item I see is Jacqueline wagstaff. A former member of this body is here tonight to speak on that adam madame. Clark. Will you please please may miss wagstaff available to be heard. Makes wax staff welcome and you have three minutes Mr mayor. Always a pleasure. Can you hear me? Yes we can miss wagstaff. Glad to have you. Okay, glad to be here and always a pleasure. Um Number 24 I'm only I'm speaking on it just to bring to your attention that at this time during this pandemic. It seems like it's very insensitive to be pondering the increase of uh I'm not even call it a salary. It's called a stipend a stipend increase for city council at this time. I heard a couple of comments some weeks ago at the work session about, you know, increase in this type and it would increase more participation in uh marginalized communities and members and underserved communities and underserved members. But I don't understand that logic when you increase that type and you increase that filing fee, if we have people of poor blow means that can barely afford to run for office now. And it's not just about the filing fee. It's also about what goes along with that even after you file to run. So while you may Have people that may be able to muster up the $200 plus dollars to file their, they're never going to be in the game because of what it takes politically to run a campaign in Durham. And we're seeing that now with the current election that's going on. So we know that this this notion that if you increase that money, you have more people of low means that would be able to end of this race. That is that is not a true statement. But also just at this time, you know, I've reference this many times in the chat that you do have a council member that works every day full time, has a whole family and is able to perform her duties as a council member and never asked for anything from this council when it comes to increasing salaries. And I've only heard that from one individual? Well, my answer to that is that individual may need to go find a job and do what everybody else does. If if they need money. The council is not that place for when this city incorporated Durham, they didn't incorporate the council to be a full time council. And as we know, there's only really four meetings that y'all entitled that you are obligated to be a part of that to work sessions and two general body meeting after that. Everything you do is strictly ceremonial and things that you do by choice. You don't have to go to a ribbon cutting if you don't want to you don't have to show up at a pack meeting if you don't want to? But those four meetings, if you missed three consecutive one then you start that process of removing council members that don't attend those meetings. But this is a part time position and it's a public service position and if you got in it because you wanted to make money then this should not have been the place that you went to try to make money. You should have went into corporate America and got a real job to make money. That's all I have to say on that tonight. Yeah thank you, thank you very much for being with us. Is there anyone else who would like to be heard about him? 24 I see. Mr Hughes Mr Hughes Welcome. Uh you you also have three minutes. It is kind of cool man. Mr Hughes, are you prepared to speak? We can't hear you. Are you able to hear me? Yes, now we are welcome. You have three minutes. Awesome. Thank you. Good evening Mr Mayor and members of the council. My name is Donald Hughes and I am a resident here in Durham. I'm here tonight to speak in opposition to this proposal to raise the pay of city council members By nearly $10,000 a year, which will cost taxpayers almost $1 million 10 years at a time when many dumb residents have lost their jobs and are hurting economically due to the global pandemic that we know as covid 19. This proposal is tone deaf at best with federal and state eviction moratoriums no longer in effect in Germ and the Derm emergency rental assistance program struggling to assist residents with some receiving no response since May. Uh, this is a punch in the gut to hear this body discussing giving themselves a raise at such a critical time in our city. Much has been said by members of this body about how an increase in the council pay will increase the ability of residents of lower means or from marginalized communities to run for city council seats. This argument on surface seems to be a legitimate argument about equity and representation. However, it's a little bit disingenuous because we know that the impediment to diverse representation on the city council is not the council salary. If we're going to make an argument about equity and representation on this body, we must first address the way in which our council members are elected. True representation of a community is not determined by the members of that community. Based on the current system, voters citywide are able to choose and powerful political action committees are able to choose with their healthy bank accounts who often represents our least in our poor and marginalized communities. Additionally, if we want to address representation on this body by people from all walks of life, we must look at public campaign financing when candidates are raising an excess of $60,000 for a city council seat like we have in this current election. How do you expect a person from lesser means or someone that's less connected to actually be able to compete in such a race for a seat on the city council. So mr. Mayor and members of the council urge you to table this discussion and if you need ideas on how to spend nearly $1 million over the next 10 years, I invite you to come walk with me in my community off of fabulous street and talk to the neighbors who are experiencing shootings almost weekly or talk to the members of my neighborhood who are wait at bus stops that don't have seats or covers or talk to the neighbors in my neighborhood or faced with a depressing choice of whether they're going to keep their homes or move outside of the city because they can't afford their housing, their food and their medicine. Uh this is just a ridiculous discussion to be having in the midst of a global pandemic. And I would encourage you all to after this public here and table this discussion until another time. Mr. Mayor and members of the council, thank you for your attention and thank you for the opportunity to address you. Thank you. Mr. Here's we appreciate you being with us. Is there anyone else present who would like to be heard on this item? All right. I'm now gonna declare this public hearing closed uh and colleagues. Uh we are now free to discuss this item uh and happy to hear any thoughts that uh any of you would like to offer. This would also be an appropriate time or later on in this discussion. If someone wanted to offer a motion as well, anybody like to get started. Council member free line. Thank you. Mr. Mayor. Yeah, as uh as the person who suggested this, um I just want to go on record one more time and explain to the public a little more about the rationale. And then well, first, let me thank um Miss wagstaff and um Mr Hughes for your comments, I hear you and appreciate hearing from you frequently at city council meetings. There's always uh you know, some gems in there and getting my wheels turning on things I hadn't considered and appreciate not just your presence here at council, but also the work you do in the community. Um but I do want to uh I want to say, you know, regarding um Mr Hughes comments that he made, I think that, you know, looking at the ward system and re evaluating how we run elections is something that I'd be open to public campaign financing sounds really great to those things that he mentioned are things that I'd be curious to explore. Um but this is in the domain of city council and I don't see them as mutually exclusive. Um the salary issue is one of many issues that uh converge to prevent folks from having access to serve and uh you know, we kind of have to, in my opinion um tackle as much of it as we can and particularly within the purview uh of the authority of city council. Um so uh you know, and and it and it really is for me, it comes down to an equity issue I know folks who would like to serve and are unable to and you know, there's not a tool in our wheelhouse to address some of the other equity issues that exist that prevent people from having access, but this is one that we that we do have access to, This is a problem that we can solve. Um So while I appreciate the request for a delayed conversation um I think that we should act now and have those other conversations also and say yes and not either or um and uh yeah those are my thoughts. Mr mayor thank you thank you very much bills remember um I'm going to go second um and I'm going second because I want to ah I want to support council member freelance comments. I have really had my doubts about the timing about this and been concerned uh that we that we could do something where we could uh pass something now that would obligate future budgets. We know we can't do that. We've heard that from our attorney and I have been listening to my colleagues and I am very convinced by the arguments that council member free line has been making to us over the last few months. I also agree that some of the things that the speakers raised in the public hearing were very important but I agree with counsel member Free Line that this is something that we can do now that will be, it will increase equity and increase access to our council. It won't do the whole job for sure. Um In terms of its cost ah the the over the next 10 years the the budget for the city of Durham will be ah At least five probably more like $6 billion. So this increase is a small drop in that very large bucket. Um And I think that paying council members a living wage makes a lot of sense because it is a full time job for almost all of us. Ah Those of us are I worked many hours when uh since I've been mayor, I've not had another job, but before I was mayor, I had another job. I worked a lot of hours at that job and then I had to go and work my counsel job full time. It's very hard. Uh And for those of you all with young Children, I know it's even harder. So I will be supporting this tonight. Uh And I just wanted to put myself on a record of that uh with that. So, thank you. And council member Freeland, thank you for your persistence persistence. All right. Um Other other other colleagues. I don't see hands council member Freelon. I'm sorry. Mayor. Pro TEM Mayor. Pro TEM johnson. Okay, thank you. Mr Mayor. Um I also wanted to appreciate council member Freeland for his advocacy on this question. Um I have felt really on the fence about it for a lot of the same reasons um that folks have brought up in our previous conversations. I think it is really important for um for people to be able to access public office. And of course the low salary is not the only barrier, but it is certainly one of many barriers that people face when deciding whether um whether or not to run for office. I think in the end. Um It's just really important to me that everyone gets a living wage. I feel very strongly that people deserve to be paid fairly for their labor. And we have been champions of living wages on this body for our employees, for our contractors. Um And we've at least twice now asked the state of north Carolina too raise the minimum wage to ensure that everybody in the state is provided is provided a living wage. I think that it's important for the work of this council to be compensated fairly and it is work. Um even those of us who have jobs and I think most of us do are working um far more than part time to to fulfill our obligations to this council um are many board and commission assignments and the expectations that community members have of us are extremely high. Um So I am also going to be supporting this increase this evening. And again, want to thank um Council member for Ireland for continuing to advocate for this important change. Thank you. Thank you very much. Mr President um uh Council member Middleton. Thank you. Mr man. I wanna thank my colleagues uh for this for this conversation and I want to thank uh Council member Freeland. I want to say for the record, I don't I don't think uh council member Freelon is tongue deaf or does not have his finger on the pulse of what's going on in the city. I don't think he's lacks political acumen, relax the ability to read greens. I think, um, he's demonstrating what's necessary in government that to be able to do More than one thing at once. Um, even while you're under fire, you know, I um, the dilemma, we're not the dilemma, but, but the paradox for me is that the reason why I'm able to do this job is because of my job is because the way my life is configured is because I have some things going on that would not preclude would not allow me to do this job where they're not going on. Um, I guess the most compelling data point for me is that I've actually spoken to people who have said to me, well, I know that there are people who are willing to give me money if I run for office, but once I get in office, they're not going to support me. And the salary that you make in council will not support me. People are quite prominent people that we've celebrated. Our community have said to me, I have people ready to write checks for me to run for office, but y'all don't make enough. That's a quote. Uh, once they get in office, I think if we prosecute this conversation as us doing it for ourselves personally, that's problematic. And, and, and that is very uncomfortable and I would be a no right out the gate. But part of our job is to safeguard this institution. Part of our job is to bequeath an institution that is in better shape if we can do so more moral, uh, more functional than the way we found it. That's just the way I look at public service. I want this office because it's not gonna be mine forever. It's a seasonal, but I wanted to be in better shape. Then I found it if I can do that without jacking it up and if one of the ways I can do that is to make it more livable or possible for people whose calculus ends at not whether it's award system, their calculus doesn't end at whether or not people will give them money. There's some folks that have achieved prominence because of their activism who people will give money. Their calculus starts with. Am I going to be able to find childcare or, or you know, do everything you need to do once you're in office. The other thing is while you know, there's a letter of this job is the spirit of this job. I just don't think voters and residents in this city will accept that While all we have to do is show up to meetings, I'm not coming to your pack meeting, I'm not coming to your community event. I'm not going to committee assignments. The numerous committee assignments that we all have. I'm not going to north Carolina league municipality meetings to advocate for legislation that's going to make it better for our city. I just, my sense of the jobs. I just don't think that's gonna be compelling. The voters that you elected me just to go to these meetings. I don't have to do anything else. I don't think you have the job long. Uh, if that's your position notwithstanding what may be in the pamphlet, I don't think folks would, would, would just accept that the fact of the matter is, um, as this job exists now. Uh, if you're gonna dial it in and just show up at council meetings and not do anything else. I don't think you're gonna do well in this job at all. And I don't think you'll be long in it. Um, quite honestly. So I, I found counselor free lines arguments compelling. I find what individuals have told me directly compelling. Um, I totally am aware, I have full self consciousness that the only reason I'm able to do this is because of the other things I do. And there are people who are far more talented, far more committed, far smarter than me who can't do it because their life isn't configured the same way. Um, so I, I with that and this has been really, really tough for me. But what has, and I put a fine point here. What has help me is reminding myself that I am not in service. I'm not voting as marc Anthony in this issue. This is about this institution, this is about this office, uh, moving forward and this council moving forward and leaving in better shape than I found it. You know, the other thing is I I raised the issue of perhaps doing it and and exempting ourselves from participating in it. I still, you know, wonder because you know, we we issue debt, we issue bonds, which in effect obligates future councils to pay that debt. They have to take into consideration in their budgets bonds that we passed 10 years prior to them being being sad and they're obligated to pay that. So I'm still wondering if there's a way we can explore the possibility of codifying this. And, and again, a future council. If they don't want to do it, they don't have to do it. But if to take the pressure off the future colleagues and say, hey, well, this council said that in this year the salaries going up, we're going to honor it. I mean, if I can provide in that cover or run that screen, I would do it. But we certainly do it when we float debt and they have to pay that. So I, I would, you know, I would be willing to explore that option further. But with that, I find counselor free lines, argument about equity compelling. I find my own personal data points with my constituents and people I talk to every day compelling. And I find it compelling that this isn't about us. I'm fine. Um but I realized that the reason why I can do this job is because I'm fine. Um There are other people who can't do it because their lives aren't configured as such. I don't think that's right. I'll be supporting it. Thank you. Mr Mayor. Thank you. Councillor for you and for your working for your advocacy. Thank you. Council member. Tell us remember you raised an important point that we've discussed a work session. But I think would be good to clarify again from the City Attorney about uh our ability or inability to obligate a future council in this regard, Madam Attorney. Can you refresh us? Sure. And the issue mr Mayor, is that um the statute that authorized the city councils to adjust their compensation um states that that process should be done through the annual budgeting process. And you can only budget for the year that you're in. So you can't make a budgetary decision that applies to budgets that have not yet been adopted. It's not different. That must be different. It's the same thing as saying, you can't legislatively bind a future council either and but different than uh when we pass a bond that obligates future councils to and fund that bond, that obligates future councils. There must be some difference there. Well, you go ahead and issue bonds it and you do this with contracts as well. Right? You you often have multi year contracts. Um, and there's an obligation that's created. But in this case there is nothing happening. Your just forecasting and saying, we would like to see compensation levels raised to a certain level in the future. But you're not actually in a process, You're not engaged in a bond ish mints. You're not engaged in a contracting process, You're just forecasting it. Thank you appreciate that. I think that's a clarification. Health, remember? Thank you. And I want to thank um City Attorney robert and I want to state for the record that my advocacy on this is based solely on my ignorance. Uh, and and my, you know, me being a zealous for this for this effort. And in no way pushing back on her extremely impressive legal knowledge. And and when she states and you know, it's a Durham work around. I'm just looking for a way uh, to do this. And I want to thank Councillor Reberg uh, mainly for her patients uh, with me and for abiding us and for for the incredible advice and counsel. She gives us all the time. So thank you. Attorney robert. Thank you. Council member. I appreciate you. Making me think through things carefully. Honestly. Thanks. Thank you. Council member, colleagues, other colleagues. Uh, anyone else like to speak on this item? We could also have emotion if uh if if folks wanted to, that councilman Freeman, I just had a question. Um, I guess in the, in the context of a previous question, is it that we don't set a referendum to be voted on by the public around the around the salary increase. In the same way we do for bond. There's no public, I'll ask Attorney Ray Berg if she would. Uh Yeah, so the referenda statute, council member Freeman does not reference putting this type of item to the voters if that's what you're asking? No, I'm not sure. You know, there are certain types of bond issuances that must be authorized by the voters and that you all take to the voters. And there are some that um you can do without referenda. Um but there are no statutory schemes that contemplate putting this question to the voters in the same way that there are for, let's say changing the length of term for the council members or changing um the number of people on the council or you know, that sort of thing is the structural things. Um Have I answered your question? Yes, you have. Thank you. Okay, thank you. Thank you. Council member um colleagues. Uh I would be happy to accept emotion. I believe the motion would be uh if anyone would like to make it two adjust City council salaries. You're using the term, minimum livable wage, $16.92 per hour to calculate city council salaries. Under this scenario. City council member salaries would increase increase from 25,378 to 35,200 the mayor's salary would increase from 8 29,075 41536. And these salaries would continue to be um increased in future years according to the Durham minimum livable wage. The American Council member Reese was seeking recognition that I thought this was handled. All right. Thank you. 1st. I'll see if there's anyone like to make that motion. So moved. Is there a second again? Moved by council member? Free lines seconded by mayor. Pro TEM johnson. And now we'll have further discussion. Council member Reese. Thanks Mr Mayor. I just wanted to really quickly say how much I appreciate, as always my colleagues helping teach me about issues that I've already thought about for a long time, but but you'll see it in very different ways and from different perspectives, which is one of the great things about a council like this. Um I still don't know how I'm going to vote, luckily, I don't have to vote at this moment, so I've still got plenty of time to think about it. Um I've like many of you have been very conflicted about this issue about the timing. Um And about the fact that as some folks have said, this will not uh this will not solve the problem of how we get folks who are not independently wealthy or otherwise comfortable able to run for this, this council be elected and served, but as customer middleton quite rightly put it, um there are folks in our community who could mount a successful campaign for this office, who could not afford to do it once elected. Um And so that is the thing we have to think about very carefully as we try to lead again, this counselor Middleton said, as we think about leaving the office um in better shape than we found it. Um On the other side of the of the argument, I still have a hard time conceptually with the idea of that, that this is the best way to spend this money in any given year. And I think councilor Middleton has tried to answer that question for me, although he did maybe he didn't know it was by saying, we can't really think about it as ourselves, we have to think about it as the office of the city council members and how we're structuring that for folks and who the office is set up to be able to be occupied by. Um There's I hear that. Um But but I'm still thinking about it. Still listening. Look forward to hearing from other folks. Thank you. Mr man, that's all I want to say. Thank you. Council member, Councilor Caveat to thank you. I appreciate all of my colleagues, questions and comments. Um I am leaning Yes. Um but as I said before, mostly because I believe that we should be tied to a living wage, it's something we've committed to for every single employee of this organization. Um and so I don't see it as an outline factor, but I also said it wasn't until I was going to die on. So I appreciate council member Freelon bringing it forward. I have consistently heard it is an issue at every level of government other than the federal level. It is not just an issue on this council, it's an issue for um school board members, county commissioners and our general assembly members. And I think that just like when we act, it does put pressure in other places to act as well. And so I think that that is also the multiplier effect. If we move this, then it starts having conversations on county commission on school board on ensuring that other places that provide salaries or stipends however you want to frame it are also considering what are what are the barriers on their boards for getting better representation or more accurate representation. And so just like we did for workers all across these are all across the city. We raised our minimum wage standards knowing that we create pressure in the market so that other largest players will be forced to also pay higher. And I think it would work in the same way, which is why I am leaning yes on this measure. Thank you. Council member. Any further comments, colleagues tells me Freeman and then councillor melton. Thank you Mr Mayor. No, I've stated before that I was a solid No, just acknowledging the timing and all and just just listening and listening and hearing my colleagues around the issues. I I completely can see my way to kind of I mean this is not a hill, I want to die on kind of conversation, but ah I'm mindful that the kind of tension around where we are right now and how how this funding could could be shifted um and other directions is top of mind, but I'm also clear that, you know, a livable wage is uh you know, the least that we could set in motion for a council future um or certain for council future. And I'm I'm kind of teetering at this point, but um I think I'm still hesitant acknowledging that there is, there's just the conversation around the minimum wage. Just acknowledging how uh How many people are still making $7.25 an hour. I think council member Caballero's comments specifically kind of highlight why I don't want to be first. Like, I don't want to push us ahead in the conversation. I'd rather do the work to advocate on behalf of school board members or on county commissioners um to do the work to advocate so that we go together. Um and that's just kind of where I am. Thank you. Thank you. Council member elsewhere. Middleton. Yeah, I am. Listen, I get it. I mean, you know, the optics of it, of you being first. I totally get it. Um, you know, the election is not over yet. If there's consequences to be paid for it. You know, folk have some folks don't have a time to, you know, make up their mind. I the fact of the matter is Darryl is never going to be a good time to do this. I don't care what period of history we're in. I'd be able to make a case why politicians are elected. People should not raise your salary before the pandemic struck. We had a 20% poverty rate in the city. Uh, gunfire was going off. There will never be a time when this will be a good time to do this ever. Um, you know, the work of Equity will always be inconvenient because there will always be people vested some of us, there will be people in the city. They will never ever want you to do anything like this. It doesn't matter what the indicators are gonna be. And then for some of us will have our supporters to say, yeah, do it. You work hard, You did a good job. Do it there with the finger in the wind technique will not serve us. Um, on this decision. This is one of those crucible moments. One of those threshold moments where um, you look at it and say, this is for the institution. This is for the future. If there are consequences to be paid, uh you pay them, I have said time and time again that, you know, you're not really fit to sit in one of these season until you found the reason that you're willing to lose it for, until you determine that price point, you will be a hazard because you'll be a feather in the wind floating here or there. Um You gotta, you gotta pick that point. Um, I find council member free lines arguments compelling and irrefutable. Uh, when it comes to equity and I am haunted by the conversation. There are people I would write checks for in this city for their campaign. I could not, however support them once they got in office. Um, I ain't got it like that. You know, I can break him something off of the campaign, but I can't, you know, once they're in. Um, and I just don't think that's right. And I want people to have the option, you know, when I'm out of this office because I will be uh, this is not forever. Um, and this is not gonna be a major payday. Um um, for me at least. Uh, so, so I want people to be able to sit in this office as well comfortably and not have to choose between childcare. We're coming to a council meeting because they can't afford it because they can't use their campaign funds to pay their mortgage or their rent. You can't use campaign funds to pay for a babysitter. You can't use campaign funds to put gas in your personal car uh to come to council meetings. So um I appreciate the debate. I understand the the the hazards of it and how non palatable it is, but I think for the sake of the institution, I think for the sake of uh future generations of elected officials um and for the sake of those people who are in my ear right now saying that they'd like to do it, but they can I think it's the right thing to do. Thank you. Councilor for going for your leadership on this. Thank you. Mr Mayor. Thank you. Council member. Um I'm going to ask our attorney again another question madam. Attorney for this motion. Well, we need to set a date an effective day for these for this change or would it go into effect immediately? How would that work? We were I was just having that conversation with another member of the staff. Um That is at your discretion. Mr Mayor. So you can make it effective immediately. You can identify a date. I think the budget staff. I'm not sure exactly whether they had calculated the amount that was set aside in this budget year from a particular date. It might be worth having. Mr Lore, speak to that. Um All right, thank you, Madam. Attorney Mr Lauren. Sure. Yes. The approximately $79,000 was put in the full amount so that it could be triggered at any time at the discretion and will of council. All right, alright colleagues. Katherine Middleton. Do we trigger it five years from now? I believe that's just this budget here. Okay, madam. Where I got that? I don't know where I got that number from, but I was about to add within this budget year. From July 1 to June 30, July one June 30 2020 anytime during that this budget year. Thank you. Thank you. Um I will. Uh Then uh uh suggests that the council member Free liner made the motion into mayor. Pro TEM johnson's second that we Added dates. That would these these salaries would begin as January one 2022. Would you all accept that? Yes, yep. All right, colleagues. I believe we've had a good full discussion of this and I'm now going to ask the clerk if she will please call the roll on this motion, which would be to Raise Council pay as of January one Uh 2022. Uh to the figures that I ran out earlier madam clerk. Will you please call the roll marshall? Uh Mayor pro TEM johnson. Hi, can't remember caballero. I'm council member of Free Lawn. I council member of Freeman. Nay, council member Middleton. Council member Reese I thought I thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Madam clerk. The eyes have it in the motion passes 6-1. Alright colleagues, thank you so much. We'll now move on to the next item on our agenda. Um That item is item ah 25. This is the resolution of proving the issuance by the Public Finance Authority with retirement facilities, revenue bonds, United Methods Retirement homes Series 2021. Uh Well, first here. Uh This is a public hearing will first hear from MS Desiderio, it seems. Thank you Miss Desiderio. Good evening. Mr Mayor members of the Durham Durham City Council Emily Desiderio in term Finance Director. So this is a public hearing to consider a resolution for the purpose of the federal tax equity and Fiscal responsibility Act, also known as Tefera. As required by section 1 47 F. Of the internal Revenue code regarding the issuance by the Public Finance Authority Authority of its retirement facility Revenue bonds series 2021 in an amount not to succeed $60 million on behalf of the United Methodist retirement homes. The proceeds of the bonds will be used to refinance existing debt to pay financing costs and costs associated with acquiring, improving constructing and equipping facilities at the borrower's continuing Continuing care retirement community known as Crow SDL village, which is located at 2600 Croasdale Farm Parkway Durham north Carolina. Notice if this public hearing was published in the Durham herald sun as required by applicable law. The city has no obligation to repay any of these bonds, nor will the issuance of these bonds have any financial impact on the city. The city council is being asked to approve this item only because of federal tax law. And the fact that the projects being financed is located within Durham city limits as such. Staff has not reviewed the details of the project nor evaluated its financial feasibility. Representatives from the applicants financing team are here and available to answer any questions that you might have today. Yeah, thank you for that report. Miss Desiderio colleagues. You've heard the reports from staff will now declare this public hearing open. I know we have some people here who are here to potentially answer questions, but is there anyone who would like to be heard on this item at this time? And if so, please, would you raise your virtual hand? All right. I don't see anyone. I'm gonna declare this public hearing closed. And now that matters back before the council for any discussion that we might have or if there is a motion uh the motion would be to conduct a public, we are conducting a public hearing to adopt a resolution approving the issuance by the Public Finance Authority of its retirement facilities, Revenue bonds. United Methodist Retirement Home Series 2021. An amount not to exceed $60 million dollars, moved his red second, moved by councillor. Middleton. Seconded by councilman for free line. Any discussion colleagues. All right. If not madam Clerk, will you please call the call the roll Mayor xU uh your proton johnson, I council member caballero I council member Free lawn. I don't remember. Freeman. All right, Council member Middleton. Come to my Maurice. Hi, thank you. Thank you very much, madam clerk. The eyes have it. The motion passes unanimously. We uh appreciate uh Miss Adams and mr Erickson for being here. And thank you Miss Desert Area. All right. We'll now move to the two items that were pulled from the consent agenda. And we'll begin with items seven. Um Item seven is the outdoor seating ordinance and council member Reese had a question. Yeah. The city manager and her priority items in indicated that attachment to had changed. It looks to me that like attachment to is the is the ordinance itself. If I'm wrong about that someone please correct me. Yeah. Good evening. Uh Member town council increase. Um To answer your question, the modification to the ordinance amendment was to section C. Two. Where there was some there was a comment made at work session about someone. Clear language about the percentage of the indoor Or the outdoor area. That could be equivalent to the particular percentage of the indoor area. We we remove the sort of discretionary up to 40%. But what we have realized. So that was the change that The major was referencing at the beginning of the meeting. Uh what we have realized that was the version that you currently have does not show the intended and previously discussed increase from 25% to 50%. And so staff would recommend uh with the adoption of this text amendment uh that minor change from 25% to 50% in C to just let me know if you have questions. Thank you, Mr Gawronski, Miss Young, Good evening everyone. I just wanted to just mentioned that you'll note that that 50% was mentioned in the staff report that accompanied this item. So the intent was um we think clear, but it was our error that missed it on the on the actual ordinance when we were cleaning up the other bits. So our apologies, but hopefully the memo helps to clarify that that was the intent from the beginning and to add to that, it was also in the version that was provided you a work session. Thank you so much. It's real quick Mr. Mayor, thank you. Thank you. So am I correct in thinking that there may be one or two current restaurants who are currently making use of the temporary ordinance that would be prohibited from using the permanent ordinance going forward? Is that right? I believe you're referencing um a couple of the restaurants that currently have temporary permits for use of uh feasible property or real property. That Syrians, whether we park space or uh service parking lot or architecture. Um those would not be permitted under this outdoor seating organs. The adversity nor is the code is um and speaking about the use of the right away and the public space sidewalk. Um uh, and of course on street parking as well, the changes here, um, the the use of the real property is, is a different um, standard, right? I've since learned since the work session all about the various incredible technical challenges of zoning and use and whatnot that are involved in in the physical aspect. I appreciate folks who helped me understand that the folks, the businesses that are using that are authorized under the temporary ordinance, that won't be permitted to operate under the permanent ordinance or that have been made aware of that, do they? Yes, I believe there are three. And and we communicated to them that as of November one, they would no longer be able to um make use of the real property. Okay. Believe at least one, probably two of them have made arrangements for future permanent. Yeah, that's great to hear. All right, thank you. Mr. Mayor. That's all I had. I appreciate the everybody's patience while I dug into that. Thank you. Council member. Um Yeah, at least I've seen definitely seen one of the restaurants that had previously been using uh city public property has now gotten there. They now are serving on the street on the, you know, parking spaces in front of the restaurant. So, I'll just say that I have been very impressed that we have not heard opposition. Uh, on this, we have heard a ton of support, but I was concerned that some of the restaurants are, some of the other downtown businesses would be concerned. I was concerned that some of our our our mobility advocates will be concerned. We got a letter today from one of them from Deepak saying they were appreciative of way this had been worked through. So I am uh Mr Dobriansky, you all, you've threaded a needle and done it very, very well. So thank you other comments, couch member Freeman, thank you Mr Mayor and just highlighting, I appreciate the work that's been put into kind of narrowing down guess how this permit to move forward. Um, I just wanted to act to like to request um, if it were possible just to make sure that we factor in um, some tracking around how this is having impact on the businesses that are downtown especially noted that there's so few that are of color. Um, I just want to make sure that that that's also um uh included and then also if there could be a presentation to have the conversation with some of the folks with the mayor's committee with persons with disabilities. That would be helpful just to give them some um understanding around the language because I feel like there could be a miss there and I don't want to try and explain it, but I feel like it would be helpful just for them to have some of this um, to hear some background as a feedback on how we've gotten to this point As as mayor. She will mention that one ability um group has mentioned that. I don't think the other is aware of how you might have impact. Okay, thank you. Council member. And I've seen as young, I would like to respond. Thank you. I just wanted to seek a little clarification. Council member Freeman. What type of tracking are you inquiring about? So and who's applying for the permits? Sure. We've we've got that. That's we keep all of the permits in our database. And that's something that could be very easily popped out in a in a report. Thank you. Thank you. Council member. Alright. Any other comments or questions. Uh If not, we will need a motion to adopt an ordinance of many of the outdoor sitting permitting provisions of the Durham city cut of ordinances some of disrepair. Second moved by council member race. Seconded by council member. Free line madam clerk, will you please call the roll Mayor shul? Uh Mayor pro TEM, johnson. I. Council member caballero. I. Council member Freelon, I. Council member Freeman. All right. Council member Middleton will die. Council member Race. Hi, thank you. Thank you, madam clerk. The eyes have it in the motion passes unanimously. We'll now move to our final item of the night. Item 26 expansion. The longtime homeowner grant programs to include Wall Town neighborhood and this item was pulled by some members of our community who would like to be heard on this item. Um and so I will first ask uh if we could hear from there's Benita Green Madame Clark, could you make this green available to be heard? Mr Green, You were available to be heard. We're glad to have you and you have three minutes. Welcome. Uh Good evening Mayor shool and council members and thank you very much for allowing me this time I'm here to support well town being added to the longtime Home owners Grant program, but also to request that merit more as well as brad town be added to that program as well. And just to take into consideration that, you know the fact that the program has been targeted in certain communities only. It really should be expanded to cover all property owners, low income property owners in the city of Durham. That's an equitable way to be able to move forward. And it's also more holistic plan. So I'm asking that you consider broadening the scope of the longtime homeowner assistance program. Thank you. Thank you. I really appreciate you being with us and now we'll hear from Miss Constance Right, Miss Right. Welcome Madam Clerk, can you make this right available to be heard? That's right. Welcome. We're glad to have you with us and you also have three minutes. All right, thank you and good evening May assure. And council members and I like this um Green support um including Wall Town in the homeowner's grant assistance program. But I would also like to ask the city to include Blacktown and merit more. Um In 2016 the city approved the a $6 million extension to Carver street from Daniel blamed all the way to Old Oxford Highway and this extension opened the door for big development too. Come in and build houses and townhouses starting in the high 2000s. This has caused property taxes to increase by 100-300% since I'm 2017. To add to this insult, investors are purchasing houses um throughout our community and flipping them and selling them for um as much as 400 up to as much as 450,000. Some going for $500,000. Which of course that is gonna really send our taxes through the roof as um we in Bragg town have stated over and over again. Our taxes are ridiculously high. Um Oh are ridiculously high politicians and realtors and some residents say that increase the housing prices will increase our property value. Well, yeah, that's true. But it will also increase us right out of our homes because we won't be able to play the taxes. The low income tax assistance program doesn't help at least. It doesn't help me because my income as his most residents is too high to qualify for this low income tax assistance program. The longtime homeowners um grant program would be a great program for brad town and more residents will qualify for the tax assistance? 47,500 max income For a single head of household is far better. Uh far better limit to qualify than the $31,131,500. Long time residents qualify. And I must um A minute I'm, most homeowners have owned our homes. We qualify because uh for that program, if we were accepted, because most homeowners have owned our homes since 2012 is our primary residence. And we have definitely experienced incomes increase in property taxes since 2019, Uh with 2019 tax is being significantly higher than 2015. Our only disqualification is that we do not reside in south, south side, north, east central or south west central. Durum. Gentrification is destroying our neighborhood by way of uh removing the historic principles of our community and displacing long term residents because of the increase in taxes. The city has touted equity and equality for the past few years. Please put your words into action um by equally considering our community um and considering breakdown and merit more in the long time homeowners assistance grant program. Thank you. Thank you very much. Mrs Right. We're really glad to have you with us as well and we appreciate your comments. Alright colleagues. Uh now, open the florida discussion. Any discussion on this item. Okay, um let me ask. Mr Reginald johnson, who I believe is here at the meeting. Mr johnson. Uh could you talk about what makes a neighborhood eligible for this program? Yes, I'll be glad to. Reginald johnson, Director, Department of Community Development with the city of Durham. Uh Mayor members of council mayor pro TEM would make qualify as a neighborhood for this particular program is that we have to have a neighborhood that has affordable housing investments during a particular time period in this particular instance. Uh The time period is from the years 2000 to 2015 when we first started the program, when began with three neighborhoods, it was 2010 to 2015. But when we looked at the affordable housing investments, this is where the city has actually gone into neighborhoods and invested resources for affordable housing. Uh We found that uh there was uh if we expanded the time, there was some period of time where Wall Town would qualify for this particular program. And the reason that we're focused on affordable housing investments is just like in south side and northeast central. During of the residents there uh talked about how the affordable housing investments were the triggers for the increase in property taxes. And this is one of the pilot programs that council authorized us to begin. Thank you very much for that explanation. Mr johnson, let me just add and say to Miss Green and Miss Wright, who have raised some very important questions. Absolute. The council agrees 100 that this, that the the county wide program which is funded by the city, by the county and the city needs to be that, that we we have asked the county to double the uh the the eligibility From 30% of am I? Which you cited his right to 60% of the area median income, which would vastly increase the eligibility of homeowners and on in a city wide program. I urge you, and the council has already said to the county that we would support that with financially, if the county will support their part financially, they're the ones that run the program as you all know, and we need them to step up uh and join us uh in in increasing uh the the eligibility for homeowners in the county wide program crucially important. And I very much agree with what you have to say this program uh is limited for the reasons that Mr johnson said. Uh and and uh we are not, we don't want to set up another uh citywide program when they're already has an existing counter Countywide program that we're just starting this year. And what we really need to do is continue the pressure on our county commissioners To increase the eligibility from 30 to 60%. So that will do everything that you're talking about, which is significantly increase the number of homeowners who will be eligible. So I just wanted to I give my thoughts on that. Alright colleagues other comments. Council member Freeman. Thank you. Mr Mayor. I think I've raised this concern a few times over the years acknowledging that there are many neighborhoods that have experienced the the towering tax increase, acknowledging that we moved from a eight year cycle to a four year cycle. And so in 2019 folks saw their tax bills triple and quadruple in the same way they did from 2016 2017. And so I'm mindful that we have this limited program in in mind. But I would like to say that it would be helpful to think about in light of Covid possibly figuring out a way to include both Merrick more and brag town acknowledging that these are the longtime homeowners were trying to keep in our city and so acknowledging the previous vote um as we said, we want to be first in going forward. Um I pushed back because the concern And that we're willing to spend 79,000 on ourselves and the role of council, but we've got to be willing to do the same thing for the residents who are experiencing that stress of trying to keep their homes. And so I would encourage us to consider um adding both Merrick more and brag town To this long time homeowner grant, even if it was just the pilot for this 18. I'm sorry for the 1920. Um yeah if you if it would if it if it would be okay, I would like to make that emotion. Did God tell remember I couldn't hear you. Yes, you can make that motion. I'd like to make a motion to revise the longtime homeowner Grant program criteria to include Wall town neighborhood and also include brag town and Merrick more. Thank you. Is there a second? I've been been moved and seconded. All right. Uh colleagues any more comments on the motion? Council member? Free line. Yeah. Yes. I mean, when this came up at the work session, I had a question about um well, I guess it was a concern that was an observation about the path that this could put us on. Um in terms of just the need, it's a it's a neat across the city across the county. Um and what's going to stop every neighborhood from calling and saying, can you add us? Um Uh huh. That is that's concerning because the speakers are absolutely correct that gentrification is Israel, Israel America more Israel and walled town is real everywhere in the city of Durham. So how are we going to address that now? I heard um I don't know, maybe he'd said it earlier, but I was listening um to some nuance that I didn't hear last week from mr johnson about how a second look at the um at the metric in the rubric we were using to choose neighborhoods. Could include walled town. Um and so we've um that we've now got some justification which is great. Um, but it's bigger than the justification that the pilot is tethered to because the issue is a city wide issue. Um, yeah, those are my concerns, I think. Um, yeah. And I don't know how, you know, and thinking about the chicken or the egg with the county and how we go about, uh, leveraging our influence to compel them to join us. Um, I don't know if that argument is strengthened by just the pilot with these communities versus, you know, taking the pressure of not bringing walled town or sorry, Merrick more in Bragg town into the pilot. You know, it certainly puts pressure on the residents to go back to the county. Um, uh, but yeah, I just, I don't know what the players, I'm not quite sure what the issues are on the county side. Um, and what levers we have to compel them to, to join us. I know that it's something that we've tried. Um, but I'm trying to think about, you know, how this could get us to a citywide program and I'm not sure that it does. Um, so I don't know those are just some of my concerns. Yeah, I, I couldn't agree with the speakers more about the need and, you know, but mr mayor, like I saw you shake your head when I mentioned this. What's gonna happen next is the next community? It's like, hey, can we get in there to get in there too? It's just like how do we stop the snowball? Uh And maybe this is a question for staff, do we have to band with two absorb that snowball effect? Um You know, the those are some questions that that I've got. Thank you. Remember thank you. And I want to just reiterate absolutely, we need a Countywide program period And we got one. It just isn't big enough. It's up to the 30% am I? And we? And I'll also say, I do believe that there is a majority of the county commissioners who are willing to go up to 60%. AM I? I think that that majority exists right now it may be unanimous, but I feel that from just some discussions I've had with county commissioners. Um and as you recall, uh we have a little committee uh to talk to them about it. Uh and I mentioned it to chair Howerton as well. So that is work that needs to get done. I think before I see a couple of hands but before I I recognize you all if you don't mind. I think I would like to ask the attorney madam Attorney, could you come on and talk to us about any concern? You know, what is the concern with adding different neighborhoods with different criteria for inclusion in the program. So the concern is that we're not being consistent right that it's important not to be arbitrary in how we're adding communities to programs. Um if we have a set criteria for programs, we really should um try to make sure that we are consistent with the application of those criteria. Um and you know, morphing and reshaping programs in ways that um are not consistent, just potentially opens the city up to um have to answer a lot of questions. I'm not going to say liability, but it's it is problematic and you know, we are office many years ago, you may remember Mr America's, I believe you were on council when the program was first implemented. Um Originally our office had great concern about doing the program at all and it was that tie to city activity in developing affordable housing that made us feel a little more comfortable about establishing the program and having something that wouldn't open us up to um potential claims that we are extending um unconstitutional emoluments that we were violating the state constitution in that respect. Thank you, madam. Attorney. Okay, council member race. And then council member caveat. Oh, thank you. Mr Mayor. Um I believe that we should already have had a program that extended city tax relief property tax relief to american more and bragged him. Um I believe that five years ago when we created this program and I argued as strenuously as I could for a wide program. Um and that argument did not win the day, argued for it again about three months ago at the very end of a very long meeting in june are not successful. There were good reasons um, that folks didn't want to buy end of that. Um, Absolutely. Citywide program, we are left with following the guidance of our staff and our city attorney about what is permissible in terms of extending this program and with respect to Wall Town, thanks to the work of one community organizer, um, uh, activity was identified that were that were city investments in affordable housing within that neighborhood within a relevant time. And that is what led to the legal justification for expanding for the expansion that is currently on our agenda. Um, we don't have that those same types of investments in other neighborhoods around the city. Let me say again. I believe that we should already have had a program that extended city property tax relief to your communities. But this is the path that we have been on. This is where we are today. Um, I believe now given where we are in the tax year, given where we are in the, in the, in the deployment of the county tax assistance program that the best strategy today. Uh, 18 2021 is to continue to plead with our colleagues in the county commission to make this to make these joint City county program that is applicable in every part of the city and county of Durham more inclusive of the folks in your neighborhoods that can that are in desperate need of this property tax relief. Um and that is what I think we ought to do so, and that's that I think is the most responsible course for us to take as a local government. Thank you. Mr Mayor. Thank you. Can't remember house remember caballero? I had a quick question for the neighborhood advocates if that's okay? Sure. Um Miss Wright and Miss Green, I was just curious, you all have done a fantastic job advocating for your neighborhoods and I understand what the concern and I agree with you out of curiosity. Have you also been advocating at the county commission level and attending their meetings? Um I know that that that the reason that we are even having this conversation as robustly as we are is because of your advocacy and so I I'm wondering we all I'm an agreement as far as the so let me first see if if that has been, what they've also been doing is advocating at the county commission level as well. Thank you. Mr Green. And mr modi, would you all like to comment? Hi, this is Benita Green and I did forward an email to the council. I also forwarded that to the board of County Commissioners as well. So I have um voiced my concerns um to them as well. Thank you, Miss. Right, would you also want to calm down? I can honestly say I really have not reached out like that, but now that I know I need to, I will, so thank you Mr. Right, and I think we're all in a very tight spot, I'm hearing very clearly from staff, what the parameters are and the standards that we need to meet. And I think that the most effective thing for all residents across Durham County, there are many communities that are facing this issue is for our the program that has been established by the county, which will make it also easier for those residents to receive the assistance because it's not this weird workaround that you have to do through the city. Um And so I am urging our county commission and I'm urging those um incredible neighborhood advocates to start leaning in on our county commissioners. The way you've been leaning in on council members. Thank you very much. Council member and thank you Miss Green um is right as a council member Freeman. Thank you. Mr Man, I just wanted to ask for clarification from Mr Johnson or Miss Rayburn around um the county programme, does it cover tax year 2019 or 2020? Yeah, council member, I'll have to defer to the Community Development Department on that, I'm not sure. So, my understanding council member is that the county's program begins with the tax year in this budget year. So this is uh f y 21 the tax bills that we just received and uh due in january. Thank you and I just appreciate that. I just wanted to make sure it was clear for my colleagues that the county program would not cover 2019 and 2020 and this is why I'm encouraging us to consider adjusting our criteria um in light of the hardship that books are under and trying to make sure that they maintain their homes. Thank you. Thank you. Council member. Alright colleagues. Any further comments? Counselor Middleton, thank you. Mr Mayor. I uh comment a couple of questions. I think the first time I appreciate council member freemen's motion but it it seems to me that her motion is attempting to actualized what were the proposition we started with and that is to cover everyone or nearly everyone particularly legacy black neighborhoods. And I thought that our staff was already in the process of looking at the feasibility and what our options are of of expanding the program intention with trying to get the county too to you know um Low to raise the age from 30% to 60%. So I I just want to understand if this motion is are we are we are we considering not heating the legal uh borders that staff has has outlined. So I mean they presented the reason why brag town can be brought in, Watertown, Blacktown can be walter could be brought in but if we haven't identified those other areas then I'm just trying to understand is this is the motion is the staff suggesting that we we can do this or will we just be doing it and hoping that there would not be any uh Legal ramifications for us. 2ndly, I want to say um I'm prepared to spend way more than $79,000 on our legacy black neighborhoods. You know, I've called for marshall plan type investment um in our in our legacy black neighborhoods in the city to the tune of millions of dollars. Um you know, and I'm hoping, I'm hoping that something that we, you know, we would consider doing that would address uh stabilization, that would address present preservation of these neighborhoods and protect preserving the integrity of it. But I want to speak directly to this motion that has been made with this emotion in effect um run over or exceed the legal parameters that the staff has outlined for us as to how we can proceed adding neighborhoods. Um and I would say the counselor reason, I think his his argument did win the day morally. And I think we he did have unanimous desire when he presented his argument, I think what happened was t