Salisbury OKs Loan To Improve Downtown Building

SALISBURY — The City Council decided to move forward with two resolutions concerning Comcast rates and a loan approval for a new business downtown.

A public hearing was held on the matter of the city approving the calculation of maximum permitted rates for limited basic service and regulated equipment rates and installation charges as set forth in Comcast’s rate filing in September. There were no public comments made, and the council will move forward with the matter in the next scheduled legislative session on Nov. 28.

Comcast has submitted and discussed two forms concerning rates for limited basic service and equipment rates and installation charges that would apply next year to the city’s department of internal services. According to Acting Director of Internal Services Gerri Moore, the department is satisfied that the calculations of the regulated rates are reasonable and consistent with the Federal Communications Commission (FFC).

“As a part of this process, the FCC has established several forms that the franchisee must fill out that provides all kinds of information about how they calculated the rates that they are proposing to establish,” City Administrator John Pick said. “Part of our obligation under our franchise with Comcast is to review those calculations and satisfy ourselves that they fairly represent what the information and that the rates Comcast are proposing are justified by the information that was provided.”

The maximum permitted rate proposed for limited basic service for this term period is $16.01, which is a 59-cent increase from last year’s rate of $15.42.

“It should be noted that Comcast has actually been charging $15.40 and they are proposing to charge $15.95, which is still an increase of 59 cents but none the less, less than the maximum permitted rate by about 6 cents,” Pick said.

 “Some of these rates have gone up and some have gone done, and the calculations are based on the actual costs that Comcast has endured in providing various services,” Pick said.

The second resolution on the agenda embraced by the council was approving a loan to Mojo Management, LTD from the City Revolving Loan Fund to assist in the renovation of the building located at 213/215 E. Main Street, which was formally Flavors of Italy.

According to Assistant City Administrator Lore Chambers, the amount of the loan is $50,000. The Banking Committee has reviewed the project and recommended the loan be approved. The total estimated cost of the project is approximately $185,000.

Chambers added that the city’s Revolving Loan Fund was established in 1983 using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds that were originally intended for a bulk heading project. When the project could not be undertaken, the city was given permission to use the money to establish a Revolving Loan Fund for downtown revitalization.

“I am glad to see that someone is using the resources available to help revitalize and bring business to down town,” Councilwoman Laura Mitchell said.

Council Vice President Deborah Campbell said Mojo’s is a good example of the role that Salisbury is playing in economic development in the downtown area.

“The way that it works is that we have this resource to lend it out and it comes back…we lend and also attract private sector capitalists,” Campbell explained. “I am hoping that people become more aware because I do think that it will be utilized and we will see more applications and more benefit from this resource.”