Fifth House District state Rep. Howard Hunter is attempting to get money allocated in the recently approved state budget shifted to River City Community Development Corp. to use for a homeless shelter.
Hunter, D-Hertford, said Tuesday that $250,000 has been allocated to a homeless shelter in another part of North Carolina that has since closed.
“They had it going to somebody else and we are trying to correct that because that place isn’t open anymore,” Hunter said. “That money could go to River City because they are already established.’’
If the money is allocated to River City CDC it would be in addition to the $250,000 Hunter said he secured for the nonprofit in the budget.
“It would be $500,000 total,” Hunter said.
Hunter included $100,000 in the state budget two years ago for the city to spend on a homeless shelter. However, that budget was never enacted so the money was never received.
City officials previously approved putting aside $48,000 for a homeless shelter, but a portion was used this summer when the former city manager spent more than $5,500 lodging a homeless city worker at a local motel.
Then City Manager Montre Freeman also proposed putting another $50,000 in this year’s city budget for a homeless shelter but ended up cutting it to help lower the city’s tax rate increase from 10 cents to 8.5 cents.
Hunter said the state budget also includes $250,000 for sidewalks and bike paths near Elizabeth City State University; $200,000 for sewer upgrades in the city, and $150,000 allocated to the city for downtown improvements.
Hunter said the money for the sidewalks and bike paths will be used around a $2.5 million skybridge that will built over Herrington and Weeksville roads at ECSU.
The money for the skybridge is also in the budget along with another $83 million in capital improvements Hunter pushed for ECSU. It includes building a $40 million residence hall, $7.5 million for new dining facility, $34 million for the Aviation Science program and $1.5 million for a study for a possible state regional Crime Lab on campus.
“It will be focused around the skybridge for upgrades and all that,” Hunter said of the money for the sidewalks.
Interim City Manager Ralph Clark said the money would allow the city to put in a “pretty good-sized section of sidewalk.”
“You won’t get two miles of sidewalk out of it,” Clark said. “If he (Hunter) has a place to put it, we will take whatever we can get.”
Hunter said the money for downtown improvements could be used by the city for a variety of different projects.
“If they want to put lights up, the city can do that,” Hunter said. “If they want to give grants out, the city can do that.’’
Hunter was one of just a handful of House members who negotiated the final two year, $52.9 billion budget with state senators. He said he used the position to get $4.2 million in funding to assist local governments and nonprofits in his three-county district. Hunter represents Hertford, Gates and Pasquotank counties.
“It will position themselves for additional grant funding in recreation, water and sewer infrastructure and downtown revitalization,” Hunter said of the funding the three counties will receive. “Representing Tier I and Tier II counties where residential taxes make up over 50 percent of the county’s tax base, I am fully aware that every penny counts and is utilized primarily for mandated services.”