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Money freed for improvements

$373,000 will pay for fire station and park improvements, plus 2 vehicles in Matthews.

By Melinda Johnston
Special Correspondent

Matthews commissioners have released $373,000 in capital improvement money, frozen since October, which will pay for fire station and park improvements and two new vehicles.

Setting aside the money last fall was among several precautionary steps to help protect the town's finances in the failing economy.

Now staff says there's enough money to cover revenue shortfalls for the remainder of the budget year. The capital money to be released would pay for:

$35,000 toward the Matthews fire department parking lot and building renovations.

$205,000 also for the fire station parking lot and building renovations. This money was originally budgeted for improvements along North Trade Street, but the town has since secured federal stimulus money.

$85,000 for a tandem dump truck.

$28,000 for a public works utility service vehicle.

$20,000 to build part of the Kay Plyler Pocket Park near Town Hall.

Commissioners also:

Delayed a vote on an amendment that would exempt BB guns from the town's Discharge of Firearms ordinance. Currently, no firearm or bow and arrow may be discharged within the town limits without a permit from town commissioners. This change would clarify the definition of a firearm.

Approved a new employee insurance agreement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina that enables the town to go to a partially self-funded program. Estimated savings: $130,000 a year without increasing the cost to most employees.

Gave staff permission to sign a three-year towing contract with Williams Wrecker Service.

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