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The city’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year will include a $15,000 appropriation for a proposed skatepark at Emry Park, Roanoke Rapids City Manager Kelly Traynham told the council Tuesday night.

Traynham made her remarks on the skatepark and other budget details before a public hearing on the proposed $19,852,046 financial plan.

Skatepark

Traynham said the city was able to budget $15,000 for the skatepark proposal and is going to ask the Halifax County Convention and Visitors Bureau to contribute another $15,000.

The money from the city and anticipated funding from tourism would be a match for private funds already raised for the endeavor, fundraising “efforts demonstrated by our community who believe they can accomplish the proposed project for the skatepark by full removal of all the tennis courts and providing skatepark elements and then leave room for future planning for other uses on that site where the tennis courts are being replaced.”

Retired parks and recreation Director John Simeon had recommended completion of the skatepark during a budget work session last month.

“I’m absolutely honored that John has proposed y’all help us finish it out and they have found the money to hopefully make this work,” said Justin Kerr during the budget public hearing.

Kerr and a group of other skating enthusiasts led the effort to use three of the six former courts at Emry for a beginning skatepark there.

“This has gone way better than I thought, especially with our first fundraising day we had at T.J. Davis in March,” Kerr told the council. “We raised like $2,000 on just a little dollar raffle ticket for kids. Honestly I haven’t seen so many kids showing up at the skatepark since then.”

He said the group, which also used GoFundMe in the effort, will still work on raising money “no matter what y’all do here today. We’re still having our next fundraiser day on September 7. We hope to keep doing this once the park gets finished. We hope to keep doing this twice a year to keep kids involved and getting out.”

Other budget highlights

The budget is scheduled for possible adoption during the council’s June 18 meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the Lloyd Andrews City Meeting Hall on Jackson Street.

Traynham some adjustments were made to the proposed budget but they don’t change the figures originally presented.

“What we’ve been able to do in the last couple of weeks since some of the final quotes for the upcoming year have been received, we’ve been able to provide not a full level but a partial level for street resurfacing funds.”

She said the city has reallocated some Powell Bill expenditures so there is $270,000 slated for street resurfacing.

Also included are increases in departmental salaries to allow facilities to open more often.”It’s not a huge change but salaries have been adjusted to ensure we keep our facilities open,” she said.

In line with retreat discussions

She said the budget is in line with discussions held during a February 7 retreat. “We discussed a lot of individual perceptions and goals and came to some consensus about what we would like to see for the city going into the future.”

Some of that discussion centered on improving the quality of life and improving community appearance, she said. “I feel like this proposed budget outlines those goals that have been collaborated by the city council and those goals will be absorbed into the budget through the work plan in order to help improve the community appearance, keep our facilities open and running and make some improvements that are long overdue and needed — heating and air, windows being replaced, equipment needed to be able to operate.”

The city manager said, “We do believe that the proposed budget will allow us in fiscal year ‘25 to be able to initiate many improvements that are going to help us provide more reliable services and enhance daily living for our citizens. We can do this through staff excellence, infrastructure, facilities, public safety, community outreach, involvement and also through planning and economic development activities.”

Traynham also confirmed following the meeting that the budget will allow for new software for its finance and accounting tasks that coincide with software already being used by the planning and development department and software that will be implemented by human resources in the fall.

The proposed budget sets the tax rate at 64.1 cents per $100 evaluation.