Precinct Changes Approved by City Council

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by Valerie Garner

Working with electoral board members Gordon Hancock and Rev. Carl Tinsley, Registrar Laverne Grigsby assured city council that the changes in voting precincts would be extensively publicized.

Voters will receive notifications and maps by mail. Signs at old precincts will direct voters to the new precincts on Election Day.

Parking issues at the Highland No. 1 precinct no longer conform to new regulations of the Americans with Disabilities. The precinct will move to the Roanoke Scottish Rite Building at 622 Campbell Avenue, SW.

Tinker precinct at Fire station No. 14 is no longer of sufficient size and has moved to the East Gate Church of the Nazarene Worship Center located at 2002 East Gate Avenue, NE.

Since Huff Lane Intermediate school has been closed, Williamson Road precinct No. 5 will move to VFW Post #I264 at 4930 Grandview Avenue, NW at edge of Valley View Boulevard.

One Republican primary is scheduled for August 23. Delegate Dave Nutter (R-7) and insurance agency owner and Tea Party candidate Tripp Godsey will be on the ballot.

Brush Collection: City Manager Chris Morrill reported that brush collection increased from 100 tons to 310 tons following the recent severe storms. Crews worked 360 hours of overtime to clear brush and limbs.

Federal Debt Ceiling: Mayor Bowers asked what the effect on Roanoke would be if Congress failed to raise the 14.3 trillion debt ceiling by August 2. The city gets $3.5 million of block grant funding. Director of finance Ann Shawver responded saying that the city’s financial advisor said Moody’s would probably look at the highest rated entities first. Roanoke City is rated AA and may be in that category as they first look at the state. It could trickle down however.

Shawver thought that since debt issuance would not take place until yearend the city would not see any impact. “We have plenty of time as we consider bond issuance closer to 2012,” she said.

Bowers quoted former Mayor Bob Garland saying, “If they only ran Washington like they run Roanoke.”

Recent City Violence: Councilman Sherman Lea expressed concern over the recent increases in violent crime. He had read an article about a resident who was leaving Roanoke due to the increased violence in his area. Lea advocated again for cameras in high crime districts such as housing complexes. He asked that Police Chief Chris Perkins send staff to reassure residents that the community will be safe.

Morrill told council that high profile crimes give a perception of increased violence but that Part One crimes had decreased 26 percent over the last five years. Morrill said recent violence was just a few instances close together but he would pass Lea’s concerns to Chief Perkins.

Morrill mentioned the new drug program that he believes will make an impact on reducing crime. It will start in October. Crimes in other jurisdictions also affect perception, council concluded.