The City of Statesville didn't "cut a check" to the Statesville Housing Authority if you ask its executive director, Darbah Skaf. In fact, the city got a good deal for the land it acquired from the SHA, she said.
"Because in actuality, it gives more than what the city will give us," Skaf said. "It's not just an agreement. It's a partnership."
Skaf said she wanted to shed more light on the agreement SHA made with the city to acquire land for the new location of Fire Station 1 after it became a heated topic during Monday's city council meeting.
She said the land was appraised for $430,000 and while she believes the city is getting the best side of the transaction on paper, the deal was made because of the overall improvements that the city has agreed to provide.
City Manager Ron Smith expressed a similar sentiment when asked what the benefits of the deal were for the city.
"The benefit is the fact that we are getting good fire coverage for the citizens and we are forging a partnership with SHA," Smith said in an email.
The city also agreed to waive the organization's city income tax on public housing income, but it will still pay city taxes on the property it owns.
Skaf said the partnership and agreement help the SHA achieve its goals of economic development in the community. She said the deal is one part of a larger investment in the community as the organization had invested more than $6 million over the past five years in Statesville and Iredell County.
"In totality, it is a partnership that is equitable," Skaf said of the agreement with the city.
The city's agreement with the SHA states that in exchange for the roughly 2.8 acres of land on Wilson Lee Boulevard, the city will engage in a number of initiatives and projects seen as beneficial to the city and the SHA.
According to the agreement, the city will limit the impact of sirens on the neighboring properties with the design and development of a sound barrier, which is said to "likely take the form of a wall and/or vegetative screen." In addition, the city will "make every effort to limit sirens between the driveway of the fire station and Garner Bagnal Boulevard, traveling south, and across the bridge traveling north."
The city will also install decorative street lighting on the western side of Shelton Avenue and South Center Street between McIlwee Street and Allison Street. Lighting will also be installed on Allison Avenue to the SHA's parking lot. The agreement states the lighting will be similar to the decorative lighting used at the Dollar General on Shelton Avenue.
Lastly, the city will have payment in lieu of taxes for five years succeeding the transfer. The agreement states the intent of this waiver would be to allow SHA to reinvest those funds into projects or initiatives that will further the mission of the SHA and will be evaluated and possibly extended in the fourth year of the deal.
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