There was good news and bad news Monday as the Statesville City Council accepted a $49,213 Weed and Seed grant to help fund anti-crime initiatives.
The good news: The grant does not require any match from the city.
The bad news: It's the last year for the five-year program.
"Unfortunately, Weed and Seed is coming to an end," said Statesville police Sgt. Joshua Gibson, noting that the grant will run out June 30.
Gibson said $39,421 of the grant will be used to fund overtime for police, while the rest is applied to police undercover "buy drugs" fund.
"The overtime funds will be used to place proactive officers on the streets of the Weed and Seed target area during strategic days and times, in order to disrupt and significantly reduce street-level drug- and gang-related activities, violent crime, vandalism and other crimes that have plagued the target area for years," he said.
City Manager Rob Hites defines the target area as generally South Statesville from south of the railroad tracks to the intersection of U.S. 21 and Amity Hill Road.
"Weed and Seed was a five-year commitment based on measurable performance standards that was renewed annually," Hites said. "The police had to reach annual performance goals in order to be eligible for the next cycle of funding."
Hites said the $10,000 "buy money" will enable narcotics and gang intelligence investigators to purchase evidence and contraband such as narcotics, drugs, firearms and stolen property.
Mayor Costi Kutteh praised the Weed and Seed program: "We've used every penny we can get our hands on during the past five years."
Charlotte, Gastonia, Shelby and Asheville also have implemented area Weed and Seed programs.
Also Monday, the council accepted a proposal by EF Johnson Technologies, based in Dallas, Texas, to donate a trunk radio system to the city and install it at a tower where the company has a no-cost lease (Cool Springs).
The company has been using the three-channel 800 megahertz system as a demonstrator. The retail cost would have been about $200,000, excluding installation, Hites said. Statesville will establish an annual maintenance agreement for the system, using money that had been budgeted for upkeep of the soon-to-be-abandoned analog radios.
"This will solve the thorny issue of how we are going to deal with the loss of our analog radio system in 2013," Hites said.
"It will also provide our Electric Utility Division with another method of automating our meter reading, since many systems use 800 megahertz radio bands to transmit from the meters to the base."