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City Council approves tax credits for event center

ComFacility.jpg

This artist's rendering depicts the proposed Downtown Community Facility.

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By LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Rocky Mount City Council on Monday approved tax credits that will help pay for the Downtown Community Facility since it includes a wellness clinic.

The historic decision will change Rocky Mount forever, said Councilman Reuben Blackwell, who is also the CEO of the Opportunities Industrialization Center, the federally-qualified health care provider that will operate the clinic in the downtown facility.

Inclusion of the clinic could mean as much as $12 million in New Market Tax Credits for the facility.

City Attorney Jep Rose explained Blackwell's dual role doesn't present a conflict since OIC is a nonprofit organization without shareholders and Blackwell doesn't stand to gain financially from its involvement in the new facility.

Councilman Tom Rogers said he's excited about the positive impact the facility and OIC will have on the community.

The motion passed 6-1 with Councilman W.B. Bullock voting against it. Bullock told the Telegram after the meeting that he isn't singling out the OIC but has a problem with the entire facility.

“I'm against the total package,” Bullock said. “It goes all the way back to the beginning. The timing isn't right. It's money better spent somewhere else.”

Construction of the Downtown Community Facility is underway. The city is expected to change the name of the facility before it opens.

In other business, the council approved a temporary easement for Piedmont Natural Gas to replace existing lines in Whitakers.

The council also decided when budget meetings will be held over the next several weeks leading up to a public hearing and budget adoption. The council is required by law to have a budget ready by July 1.

The council will meet May 22 in the committee room immediately following a regular council meeting; at 4 p.m. May 24 in the committee room; at 4 p.m. May 30 in the committee room if necessary; at 4 p.m. May 31 in the committee room if necessary; at 7 p.m. June 12 for a public hearing in the Council Chamber; and at 4 p.m. June 26 for the budget adoption in the Council Chamber.

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