Downtown streetscaping improvements approved for E Main, Council gets first briefing on 2016 budget
Work on new downtown streetscaping improvements to begin by late May
Spartanburg City Council gave unanimous approval to planned downtown streetscaping that will transform E Main Street at their meeting on Monday. The project is part of a $2.3 million streetscaping plan passed by Council in 2013, and includes straightening the chicanes on E Main Street between Church and Liberty streets. The plan also will eliminate the existing alternating diagonal parking spaces, adding new larger tree islands between sections of parallel parking to improve pedestrian movement. No public parking spaces will be lost due to the streetscaping project.
Capitol Construction of the Carolinas, LLC was the low bidder for the project at $113,187.50. New LED pedestrian lighting will be installed as well, but will bid separately to complete the project. Construction is expected to begin in late May and should take six to eight weeks to complete.
Also at Monday's meeting, Council got its first overview of the city's fiscal year 2016 budget from City Manager Ed Memmott. Revenues are projected to remain relatively flat for the coming year, and little room is expected to be left for new city programs. Projected cost increases include increased medical and state retirement expenses for city employees, as well as increases to the city's equipment replacement fund and IT upgrades.
Memmott laid out several options for other expenditures including potentially equipping all city police officers with body cameras and tasers, which would cost an estimated $265,000. Currently, the city police department has 20 body cameras which have been used on a trial basis. Council will hold further budget discussions on May 11 and May 26, with the budget expected to receive a public hearing and first reading on June 8 and final approval on June 22.
For more on last night's City Council meeting, see the full video and roundup of our live tweets below.