A referendum on a proposed Rocky Mount affordable housing bond issue could take place in November 2022.
This is what the city’s finance director, Amy Staton, told city council during a council working session on Monday.
Staton explained step by step where the town of Rocky Mount is currently preparing to ask voters across town to vote to approve a bond issue. She said work is underway with her and her team to analyze existing and future debt.
At the town hall’s annual retreat in 2021, held April 7-9 in Asheville, viewers online learned that town manager Rochelle Small-Toney and her team had created a draft strategic plan for the city. affordable housing in Rocky Mount. A key point of this proposed document recommends that the city adopt a general obligation focused on affordable housing and infrastructure – and also bundle funding for additional items such as parks and recreation.
Staton told the council on Monday that she and her team would look at some debt trends, make sure they align with the municipality‘s debt policy and align with the situation in the city. municipality as an AA rated entity.
Usually, an AA rating means that the chances are low that the city will default on a bond issue.
Staton told the council that in early August there should be another model of what a possible housing obligation could look like. Staton told the board that there would be options for different levels of funding for a housing bond, or that they could also consider another project that they want to link with this one.
Staton told the board they would know what the financial impact would be and hopefully during the September period they might be ready to select the projects and the level of funding they want for the. housing bond.
She told council that once there is an agreement on this, the next step would include passing a resolution and providing the city with a notice of intention to apply to the Commission. of local state government.
She told the board they would pass another resolution directing the CFO to apply to the LGC.
The LGC is part of the state treasurer’s office and assists local communities in decision-making on major financing projects.
Staton also told council that a public notice would be posted on the Telegram so residents can know the city is transparent and that an affidavit would be filed with the LGC indicating the municipality’s existing debt.
Staton said around April 2022 that there would be the introduction of a bail order, which would be a specific document outlining what is included in the proposed project.
Staton said that likely in May 2022, the plan would be to notify the state’s Joint Legislative Commission on Government Operations of the municipality’s intention regarding a proposed bond issue. The commission conducts evaluation studies of the programs, policies, practices and procedures of various departments, agencies and institutions of state government.
Staton told the council next steps would include issuing notices of public hearings.
Staton told council the plan would be for council to likely pass a resolution by June 2022, with certified copies of the document to be delivered to the respective electoral councils in Edgecombe and Nash counties.
Staton told the board there would be opportunities in September 2022 and October 2022 to provide public notices.
“And then it all comes down to potentially having that on the November 2022 referendum,” she said. “So it’s a lot of work to get there.
Staton suggested to the board that they would likely want meeting opportunities to educate the public.
“But these are the basic steps,” Staton said.
City Councilor Andre Knight said he believes some people seem to stereotype affordable housing when there are working class people in the Research Triangle area unable to afford housing there.
Knight said he thought locally there should be a lot of education “because just with all this propaganda on” we’re just trying to get affordable housing, cheap housing, to get people a “rent free”, some of these myths will need to be dispelled.
“The intention is for everyone to have a decent place to live in Rocky Mount,” Knight said.
City Councilor Reuben Blackwell insisted on making sure the city speaks the same language and also has the same expectations. Blackwell also asked if the municipality will identify specific projects or create expectations for allocations to the guidelines.
Blackwell said that, as an example, the municipality may have a renovation program aimed at current home owners in the communities and the municipality may want to set up a small investor program with certain targets.
Blackwell said that overall, when people start asking questions about the proposed bond issue, the only way to answer is something they can see and understand very clearly.
In the meantime, someone else will have to take on the role of CFO of Rocky Mount in the future because Staton gave his resignation notice on June 2, effective July 5.
Staton will join the Town of Wilson on July 6 and transition to replace that town’s retired CFO.
Small-Toney has made it clear that she intends to announce a temporary CFO ahead of Staton’s departure for Wilson and to conduct a nationwide search for a new CFO.