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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Agenda about the City Council meeting of May 5, 2015

This Agenda is about the Hickory City Council meeting that took place on the date listed above. City council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each Month in the Council Chambers of the Julian Whitener building.

At right of this page under Main Information links is an Hickory's City Website link. If you click on that link, it takes you to our city’s website/ The City's website evolves over time, but currently towrds the top right there is a Link called Quick Links. Click that on and look for the Agenda's and Minutes link you need to click. Scroll down from there and this will show you a list of PDF files to upcoming and previous meetings.

Agendas show what is on the docket for the meeting of that date. The Minutes is an actual summary of the proceedings of the meeting of that date. You can also look in the upper right hand corner of the front page of the Hickory Hound and (will soon) find the link to the past history of Hickory City Newsletters.

Here is a summary of the agenda of the meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below:

Please remember that pressing Ctrl and + will magnify the text and page and pressing Ctrl and - will make the text and page smaller. This will help the readability for those with smaller screens and/or eye difficulties.


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Hound Notes: Not much happening again at this meeting, which has been a theme lately. A couple of regularly scheduled reports with Block Grants and Code Enforcement. We'll see what happens at the meeting.

The Dwindling US Economy
— Paul Craig Roberts - April 29, 2015
Major U.S. Retailers Are Closing More Than 6,000 Stores - The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael Snyder - May 1st, 2015
Tyler Durden's picture
US Factory Orders Drop YoY For 5th Consecutive Month - Zero Hedge -  Tyler Durden - May 4, 2015





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Special Presentations
A. Proclamation for National Police Week 2015. (Exhibit IV.A.)
B. Proclamation for Building Safety Month, May 2015. (Exhibit IV.B.)


Consent Agenda:
A. Approval to Amend the Traffic Ordinance for All On-Street Parking in the 300 Block of 1st Avenue NW from 3rd Street NW Westward to 4th Street NW on the Northside of the Street. - First Baptist Church of Hickory requested a parking ordinance change for the 300 block of 1st Avenue NW, specifically the north side of the street, to better accommodate the cafĂ© that they run. The old ordinance was set in place to allow the safe drop-off/pick-up of the preschool children. Now the children are dropped-off/picked up via 2nd Avenue NW utilizing the portico that the church has. This would also make the parking restrictions the same along the entire block of 1st Avenue NW between 3rd Street NW and 4th Street NW. The Traffic Division has analyzed the request and recommends Council approve the request for changing the on-street parking on the north side of the 300 block of 1st Avenue NW from 3rd Street NW westward to 4th Street NW from “no parking 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.” to “2 hours 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.”

B. Approval of an Agreement for Consulting Services with Hulsey McCormick & Wallace of North Carolina, LLC for the Lake Shore Lift Station Rehabilitation Project in the Amount of $24,500. -  Lakeshore Lift Station is a sanitary sewer lift station which is located in close proximity to the Alexander County Bridge, on 1st Street NW near the intersection with NC Highway 127. This station is approximately 25 years old and is experiencing problems related to `age of the station and exposure to degrading sewer gases. The rehabilitation project consists of complete replacement of the lift station including the wet wall, valve vault, pumps, control panel and all customary appurtenances. The replacement pumps are being upgraded to allow for some future growth in the system. Hulsey McCormick & Wallace of North Carolina, LLC have been selected as the best qualified firm with experience and availability. Staff recommends Council approval of the agreement for professional services with Hulsey McCormick & Wallace of North Carolina, LLC for Lakeshore Lift Station rehabilitation project in the amount of $24,500.

C. Approval of an Agreement for Consulting Services with McGill Associates in the amount of $61,450 for the Geitner Basin Outfall Replacement Project. -  The Geitner basin outfall is a section of a larger diameter sanitary sewer line that runs from Highway 70 SW at Southgate to approximately the Highway 321 and I-40 interchange, and serves the area of Hickory from 4th Street SW to Highway 321 and Highway 70 SW to Main Avenue SW. It was discovered that a large amount of debris has been disposed of over top of the outfall and is causing problems with crushing and blockages. This section of outfall has immediate danger of failure and requires replacement/relocation. McGill Associates is familiar with the area through the Geitner basin area evaluation and is the optimum firm to complete this sewer outfall line replacement project due to this knowledge. The project will be funded from the Water and Sewer General Capital Reserves. Staff recommends Council approval of the agreement for professional services with McGill Associates for Geitner basin outfall replacement project in the amount of $61,450.

D. Acceptance of the 2015 Urgent Repair Program Grant and Approval of the Assistance and Procurement Policies. - In January 2015, the City of Hickory Community Development Division applied for funding through the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency’s Urgent Repair Program. The City of Hickory has been awarded $50,000 through this program in order to assist approximately 12 very low income homeowners with urgently needed repairs in an amount not to exceed $8,000 per housing unit. The City of Hickory will provide an additional $5,000 in matching funds, which are available from Rental Rehabilitation program income. The total program budget will be $55,000. NC Housing Finance Agency requires the City of Hickory to prepare Assistance and Procurement Policies. These policies must be made available to the public and explain the guidelines of the URP15 program. Staff recommends Council accept the 2015 Urgent Repair Program Grant and approve the Assistance and Procurement Policies for submittal to the NC Housing Finance Agency. Upon receipt and acceptance by NC Housing Finance Agency, funds will be dispersed to the City of Hickory in order to begin repairs to eligible homes.

E. Approval to Issue a Pyrotechnic Display Permit to Hickory Motor Speedway. -  Kevin Piercy, General Manager of Hickory Motor Speedway has submitted a request to obtain permission to have a public fireworks display on May 23, 2015. The North Carolina Fire Code requires a mandatory operational permit for the use and handling of pyrotechnic special effects material. The Division of Fire & Life Safety Bureau shall review all required documentation. The Fire Prevention Bureau will also inspect the pyrotechnics display area prior to the event to ensure compliance with all guidelines and codes. Staff recommends approval of the pyrotechnics displays.

F. Call for a Special Joint Meeting with Hickory City Council and Parks and Recreation Commission regarding improvements to Geitner-Rotary Park and Partnership with the Lackey Family, May 12, 2015, 12:00 p.m., Highland Recreation Center Community Room.

New Business - Public Hearings
1. Consideration of the Community Development Block Grant 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan. - The Consolidated Plan is a five year strategic vision for housing and community development needs within the City. The plan will cover program years 2015 through 2019. The Plan contains an Annual Action Plan that describes the project use of funding and will be updated on an annual basis. The City will receive approximately $300,041 in 2015 through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and approximately $165,000 in program income for a total of $465,041. Funds will be used to develop stronger communities by providing decent housing, creating suitable living environments, and expanding economic opportunities, principally for low and moderate incomes. The Citizen’s Advisory Committee reviewed the draft action plan at their meeting on April 2, 2015 and recommended approval of the proposed budget. Staff recommends Council’s approval of the Community Development Block Grant 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan. This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on April 5, April 22, and May 5, 2015

New Business - Departmental Reports
1. Code Enforcement Update
2. Resolution – Cancellation of July 7, 2015 City Council Meeting and Rescheduling July 21, 2015 City Council Meeting to July 14, 2015. - `Be it resolved by the City Council of the City of Hickory that the regularly scheduled City Council Meeting for July 7, 2015 be cancelled. (This meeting in July has traditionally been cancelled by the City Council.) Staff recommends rescheduling the July 21, 2015 meeting to July 14, 2015 due to there being five weeks between the June 16, 2015 City Council meeting and the July 21, 2015 meeting. Be it resolved by the City Council of the City of Hickory that the regularly scheduled City Council Meeting for July 21, 2015 be rescheduled to July 14, 2015.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of April 21, 2015

I began video recording the City Council in 2012, because of my desire that the City do it on their own as any modern 21st century community began doing long ago. I had people tell me that they couldn't make it to the meetings, but they would like to see what is going on. I was also told by some council members that my summaries did not truly reflect the record, so having a video/audio recording cannot be misinterpreted.

So below is the City Council meeting. With each agenda item, you can click on the links and it will take you to that specific point in the meeting. You can always drag the marker on the video display to the point in the broadcast that you are interested in seeing.
Agenda about the City Council meeting of April 21, 2015 
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Hound Notes: 
Not much to comment on about this meeting. You can follow the links below related to the various items. 
I would like to comment on Cliff Moone's address to Council in relation to recruiting high income Military Veterans to the community. I think we've already been successful at doing that; as in with the retired veteran he spoke to who had moved to the community. Mr. Moone makes the point that the Hound has addressed time and time again over the years when he states that these retirees can move here and be within traveling distance (I assume for day trips) to locations such as Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and the Mountains. Exactly, these people can come here and live cheaply and go spend their disposable income in other places. Hickory will never be "THE" destination location, but we have needed more enterprises/venues that are destination entities. We need people who spend money to come here an spend it. That creates value.
When it comes to what I have espoused about attracting the younger demographic to the community, I want you to understand. For me, this has never been a completely personal mission. You haven't seen me saying that I want this for myself. This has been a community mission. I'm not out here spouting out that I want the community to actively seek to attract 40 to 50 year olds. That's my age demo. We keep seeing 60+ year olds saying that we need to look to attract 60+ year olds. Why? Because that is who they hang out with and relate to.
The mission to attract the younger generations is a mission to sow the seeds of the future. Mr. Moone latched onto the saying about 'planting trees that he will never enjoy the shade of' during the bond referendum, when it came to the proposed projects related to that referendum. Well, that is what the mission of attracting the younger generations is all about. If we don't get these younger people to live here, then they won't be enjoying the shade he portrays. Population has fallen over the past 5 years, as a whole, in this community, but has been steady (and risen) over that time period in the very demographic he seeks to attract, while falling precipitously in the very demographic the Hound has been alluding to for eight years -- the 40 and younger age group. 
We have already been successful at attracting Seniors. I just don't get the angst that always comes forward, when the obvious need to attract young people is addressed. What is the 'Me Too' mindset all about. We've already been successful at collecting the low hanging fruit. Our local population was going to age anyway due to the overall demographic shift related to the Baby Boomers. We already have the amenities for Seniors built all around us. That is the reason why the local Powers That Be can't understand why young people say, 'there is nothing to do around here'... because the community has been built around their wants and needs and what they relate to. Those aren't the desires of the younger generations. We will continue to have (maintain and upgrade) infrastructure for older people. That will attract the older people. Hate to say it, but what Mr. Moone proposed in his address of this City Council certainly seems to be unfounded.
Edit to add: One other issue about that address. The proposed projects are not "Boost Hickory" projects. They are Hickory projects that will be paid for by the people of Hickory, not just the people associated with the group, "Boost Hickory".
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Invocation by Councilman Danny Seaver

Special Presentations
A. Proclamation to Hickory High School Lady Tornadoes Basketball Team.  - (per Hickory Inc.) - Mayor Wright read and presented the Proclamation, as well as a sign to Coach Barbara Helms. Coach Helms introduced each player and Mayor Wright presented each of them with a proclamation and a key to the City.


Persons Requesting to be Heard
Cliff Moone - (per Hickory Inc.) - addressed Council on his concerns of the future of the City. He discussed the 65 and over demographic age bracket of people in this area. He suggested recruiting retirees from the military to the area because these retirees are looking for areas like Hickory as opposed to the larger cities.

Consent Agenda - Item B was removed from the Consent Agenda, which was a burial plot sold from the City to Alderman Meisner. Alderman Meisner recused himself. There was no further discussion. The Council approved Item B and then the full Council approved all items.

 
New Business - Public Hearings
1. Consideration of Closing a Portion of Main Avenue Place SE. The City Clerk received a petition from Attorney Terry M. Taylor on behalf of the property owner Woodland Village, LLC, (Successor in interest to Center Street Crossing I, LLC and Center Street Crossing II, LLC). The petition requests the City close said portion of Main Avenue Place SE. The signature on the petition represents the owner of both of the tracts of property abutting this portion of the right of way. Chuck Hanson presentation. Council approved unanimously. Alderman Lail did ask about the sidewalk in the area. Mr. Hanson stated that a new sidewalk will be constructed parallel to Main avenue in that area.


New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant for 890 F Ave Dr SE, LLC. - City Council established the Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant program on September 16, 2008. The program provides grant funding up to $30,000 for project to renovate and rehabilitate vacant buildings within the Urban Revitalization Area and targeted industrial buildings in other areas of the City. 890 F Ave Dr SE, LLC has applied for a Vacant Building Revitalization Grant in the amount of $6,000 to assist in the renovation of the former Thomasville Furniture Plant located at 890 F Avenue Drive SE. The applicant plans to renovate the facility for furniture manufacturing. The applicant plans to invest approximately $40,000 in real property improvements to rehabilitate the mill building. This makes the project eligible for a $6,000 grant. The Business Development Committee reviewed the application and recommends approval. Staff recommends approval of the Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant for 890 F Ave Dr SE, LLC. Andrea Surratt Presentation. Council unanimously approved.
 

2. Update on Community Policing - Presentation bu Chief Tom Adkins  -  
Mission Statement 
Examples of Community Policing in Hickory
Presentations and Activities involving Current Issues
Planned Activities 
New Technology - Body Cameras
Councilman Guess asks how Body Cameras relate to Public Records laws
Alderman Seaver asked about also having Dashcams too


Matters not on the Agenda/General Comments

Alderman Meisner thanked his “City of Hickory family” for their support over the past year to his family.

Mayor Wright commented that Council had started the budget process, it is very early, but the amount to create a revenue neutral rate when joined with the evaluations is 53.95 cents. That is not a tax increase. It balances the value and the rate to bring in the same amount of dollars that we brought in last year at 50 cents. The average taxpayer will have 53.95 as the rate, and a value around 7 percent lower than it was last year. That is very early in the game, it has nothing to do with what they will ultimately agree on as the final rate to help them provide the ideal level of service at the ideal price. That is where they want to get. That number has been generated now. Alderman Meisner commented that is on an average. Some are lower and some are higher. Mayor Wright commented that there will be people who will pay more dollars and there will be people who pay less dollars. Council cannot control that.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Agenda about the City Council meeting of April 21, 2015

This Agenda is about the Hickory City Council meeting that took place on the date listed above. City council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each Month in the Council Chambers of the Julian Whitener building.

At right of this page under Main Information links is an Hickory's City Website link. If you click on that link, it takes you to our city’s website/ The City's website evolves over time, but currently towrds the top right there is a Link called Quick Links. Click that on and look for the Agenda's and Minutes link you need to click. Scroll down from there and this will show you a list of PDF files to upcoming and previous meetings.

Agendas show what is on the docket for the meeting of that date. The Minutes is an actual summary of the proceedings of the meeting of that date. You can also look in the upper right hand corner of the front page of the Hickory Hound and (will soon) find the link to the past history of Hickory City Newsletters.

Here is a summary of the agenda of the meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below:

Please remember that pressing Ctrl and + will magnify the text and page and pressing Ctrl and - will make the text and page smaller. This will help the readability for those with smaller screens and/or eye difficulties.

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Hound Notes: Late in submitting this agenda. I didn't see a whole lot here. We'll see what happens at the meeting.



 Embedded image permalink

The bigger picture of the tank man on Tienanmen square, 1989

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Invocation by Rev. Mark Andrews, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church

Special Presentations
A. Proclamation to Hickory High School Lady Tornadoes Basketball Team.

Consent Agenda:
A. Approval of a Lease of City-owned Properties to Safe Harbor Rescue Mission, Inc. Located at 16 1st Avenue NE, and 18 1st Avenue NE, Hickory. - The properties located at 16 and 18 1st Avenue NE have been vacant for the past few years. Safe Harbor approached staff about using the property for office space as they have outgrown their current location. The initial term for the proposed lease will be for approximately two years for the nominal amount of one dollar. The lease will renew by mutual option for up to two additional one year terms unless notice is given by either party to terminate. The lessee will be responsible for the payment of all utilities furnished to the property, securing its own janitorial service, maintaining the premise in good order, and routine maintenance and repairs of the property. Staff recommends approval of the lease agreement with Safe Harbor Rescue Mission, Inc. Public Notice of Intent to Lease was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on April 10, 2015.

B. Approval of a Cemetery Deed from City of Hickory to Bruce E. Meisner, (Oakwood Cemetery, Plot A8, Lot Number 1 and 2, Section 58) (Prepared by Deputy City Attorney Arnita Dula).

C. Special Events Activities Application March of Dimes – 5K Walk, Rebecca Moser, March of Dimes, April 25, 2015, 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., L.P. Fans Stadium.

D. Special Events Activities Application Strong Body Strong Mind Wellness Celebration, Sally Learned, Development Officer, Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare, May 16, 2015, 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 327 1st Avenue NW.

E. Special Events Activities Application 2015 Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Meghan Lawton, Regional Manager, Alzheimers Association of WNC, October 3, 2015, 7:00 a.m. to 1:00p.m., L.P. Frans Stadium.

F. Special Events Activities Application Reading New Testament of Bible, Kathy Johnson, Pastor, Greater Shekinah Glory Church, May 6, 2015 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., above the steps of the Municipal Building.

G. Special Events Activities Application Fleet Feet Hickory and Crawdads Home Run Trot 5K, Juliet Horan, Owner, Fleet Feet Sports, May 9, 2015, 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., L.P. Frans Stadium/Winkler Park.

H. Amended Special Events Activities Application National Day of Prayer 2015, Charles Moretz, Christopher Harris, Managers, Ignite Hickory, Inc., Event Date May 7, 2015, Sails on Square. Amended Application to allow for set-up on May 6, 2015 at 5:00 p.m., adding Security by Griffith Security from May 6, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. to May 7, 2015 at 5:00 a.m. The time of the event will remain the same starting at 6:30 a.m. with cleanup ending at 10:00 p.m.

I. Citizens’ Advisory Committee Recommendations for Assistance through the City of Hickory’s Housing Programs. - The following request was considered by the Citizens’ Advisory Committee at their regular meeting on April 2, 2015:
 Jean Dula, 426 7th Avenue Court SE, Hickory
The Citizen’s Advisory Committee recommends approval for assistance not to exceed $15,000 for repairs to her house. Assistance would be in the form of a zero percent interest deferred loan.

J. Call for a Public Hearing to Consider Community Development Block Grant 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan.

K. Approval to Apply for a Grant to Assist in Funding the Purchase of Bulletproof Vests for Police Officers. - Since 1999, the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) has awarded more than 13,000 jurisdictions, a total of $393 million in federal funds for the purchase of over one million vests. BVP is a critical resource for state and local jurisdictions that saves lives. This grant will pay up to 50% of the cost of NIJ approved vests purchased by Hickory Police Department. Forty-five vests have been requested at an estimated price of $750 for each vest. Agenices will be notified that funds are available after July 1, 2015 if awarded the grant. Funds are placed in the police department budget uniform line item annually to purchase vests for police officers. Life expectancy of each vest is approximately five (5) years. The Police Department requests approval for the submission of this grant to receive up to 50% funding to purchase bulletproof vests for police officers.

L. Acceptance of Bid and Award of Construction Contract to Hickory Sand Company Inc. in the Amount of $316,752.50. - The waterlines on 3rd Avenue SE and 5th Street SE date back to the 1940’ and 1950’s and are primarily constructed of cast iron material due to the era of construction. These specific streets were identified by staff in 2005 during a system evaluation as waterlines that required evaluation due to the number of maintenance calls. The frequency of maintenance calls contributed to the occurrences of discolored water for customers and combined those issues prompted City staff to initiate replacement. Hickory Sand Company, Inc. was the lowest responsible bidder. Staff recommends Council’s acceptance of a bid and award of construction contract with the responsible low bidder Hickory Sand Company, Inc. for the construction of the 3rd Avenue SE, and 5th Street SE waterline replacement project in the amount of $316,752.50. This is a budgeted project in the FY 14/15 Capital Budget for the Public Utilities Department.

M. Budget Ordinance Amendment Number 18.
1. To budget a $100 Library donation from Jean C. Boggs in memory of Marcus L. Boggs, Jr. in the adult programming line item.
2. To appropriate $30,837 of GF- Appropriated Fund Balance and transfer to the Airport's Maintenance and Repair of Buildings line item. This appropriation is needed to replace the HVAC systems for the terminal lobby and the FAA Space. Replacement funds are budgeted in the FY15-16 budget however due to the age and unreliability of the units it is recommended to replace them this current budget year.

New Business - Public Hearings
1. Consideration of Closing a Portion of Main Avenue Place SE. - The City Clerk received a petition from Attorney Terry M. Taylor on behalf of the property owner Woodland Village, LLC, (Successor in interest to Center Street Crossing I, LLC and Center Street Crossing II, LLC). The petition requests the City close said portion of Main Avenue Place SE. The signature on the petition represents the owner of both of the tracts of property abutting this portion of the right of way. The petition fee of $575 has been paid. This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on March 20, March 27, April 3, and April 10, 2015.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant for 890 F Ave Dr SE, LLC. - City Council established the Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant program on September 16, 2008. The program provides grant funding up to $30,000 for project to renovate and rehabilitate vacant buildings within the Urban Revitalization Area and targeted industrial buildings in other areas of the City. 890 F Ave Dr SE, LLC has applied for a Vacant Building Revitalization Grant in the amount of $6,000 to assist in the renovation of the former Thomasville Furniture Plant located at 890 F Avenue Drive SE. The applicant plans to renovate the facility for furniture manufacturing. The applicant plans to invest approximately $40,000 in real property improvements to rehabilitate the mill
building. This makes the project eligible for a $6,000 grant. The Business Development Committee reviewed the application and recommends approval. Staff recommends approval of the Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant for 890 F Ave Dr SE, LLC.

2. Update on Community Policing

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mother

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of April 7, 2015

I began video recording the City Council in 2012, because of my desire that the City do it on their own as any modern 21st century community began doing long ago. I had people tell me that they couldn't make it to the meetings, but they would like to see what is going on. I was also told by some council members that my summaries did not truly reflect the record, so having a video/audio recording cannot be misinterpreted.

So below is the City Council meeting. With each agenda item, you can click on the links and it will take you to that specific point in the meeting. You can always drag the marker on the video display to the point in the broadcast that you are interested in seeing.



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Hound Notes: Alderman Lail again should be commended for recusing himself on the budget item where Land Design is being paid. It fits what has been said here for some time. Alderman Lail's wife works for Land Design out of Charlotte that has developed and designed the Downtown projects related to the Bonds that were passed last November.

In the Agenda notes I alluded to issues involving the local workforce. It is hilarious that the numbers were not reported for two months and then we see an increase of nearly 4,000 people in the workforce. Yeah Right! and I've got a bridge in Brooklyn for sale. Just call me.  Somebody is inputting some more BS into the numbers.

Dramatic shifts in numbers like that do not occur unless there is a significant event that justifies them.  This is obviously a cooked number that will be revised back down. The Atlanta Federal Reserve has revised its forecast for first quarter GDP to .1%. Large corporations, especially in the retail industry, are still announcing layoffs every day. The cooked books and denial of the Powers That Be certainly are disheartening to the working class.

19 Signs That American Families Are Being Economically Destroyed
- The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael Snyder, on April 8th, 2015


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Invocation by Bill Garrard

Special Presentations
A. Proclamation for National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. - (Per Hickory Inc.) - Lieutenant Young introduced Telecommunicator Supervisors, Shelley Davis and Nicole Sain; and Telecommunicators Jeanne Davis, Emily Bell and HollyPage. Mayor Wright read and presented the Proclamation for National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.

B. Proclamation for Fair Housing Month.

Consent Agenda
Items K and L-5 were removed from the Consent Agenda.

K. Approve a Deed of Conveyance for the former WDF, Inc./Southern Desk Property Located at 1730 1st Avenue SW. - The Southern Desk property had been in a state of continual decline and disrepair. The City of Hickory temporarily abated the nuisance at the property, but permanent abatement meant demolishing the building. Demolition costs were estimated to be close to $500,000 primarily due to the size of the building and the presence of asbestos. Negotiations were entered into between WDF, Inc. and James Canipe, owner of Foothills Recycling & Demolition, L.L.C. (Foothills) to acquire the property for the purpose of demolishing the building and reclaiming the materials. Upon completion of the demolition, the City agreed to accept a conveyance of the property from Foothills. The City performed a Phase 1 ESA on the property. The inspection did not reveal significant environmental hazards that would expose the City to potential liability as the new owner. Instead of using Foothills to acquire the property, Mr. Canipe created a new corporation, Southern Desk Reclamation, L.L.C. to acquire the property. Upon the acquisition of the property, Foothills then demolished the building, reclaimed recyclable materials, and cleaned up the site. Southern Desk Reclamation, L.L.C. is now willing to convey the affected property to the City in accordance with the agreement. Staff recommends Council accept the non-warranty deed of conveyance from Southern Desk Reclamation, L.L.C. for the former WDF, Inc./Southern Desk property located at 1730 1st Avenue SW. (Removed by Alder Patton. discussed and approved by Council.)

L-5. To transfer $35,000 of General Contingency to the Administration Contracted Services line item. This transfer is needed to pay Land Design for the Design Guidelines contract. (Alderman Lail recused himself from voting on this Item.  Council approved his recusal and voted approval of Item.)


Informational Items


New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Approval of a Resolution Supporting the Water Supply Master Plan as Developed by the Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group.  - The Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group (CEEMG) was formed in 2006 and later incorporated as a 501C-3 non-profit organization in 2007 as a result of Duke Energy relicensing of the Catawba River as a series of power supply reservoirs. The CWWMG was formed by 18 public water supplies and Duke Energy to create a group whose sole interest was in benefiting and extending the useful life of the precious resource known as the Catawba River. This group has commissioned several studies to better understand the overall health of the Catawba River and what things could be done to extend the useful life of the Catawba River. The Water Supply Master Plan is a comprehensive study that was undertaken by the CWWMG with the goal of updating the basin wide water model to understand current conditions and evaluating future strategies that will assist the basin with extending the useful life of the Catawba River past year 2100. Staff recommends Council’s approval of this Resolution supporting the Water Supply Master Plan as
developed by the Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group. (Kevin Greer presentation)

www. catawbawatereewmg.org

Questions - Answer
Mayor Wright asks about Hickory's current license to remove water from the stream. Mr, Greer stated have a plant capacity of 32 million. Mayor Wrifht asked about how much Concord is permitted to take out - 8 million.
Alderman Lail asked about lowflow and noflow toilets and provisions for drought protocols. The City is not binded by the plan. The plan has recommendations.
Alderman Guess asked if this group monitors pollution.  Mr. Greer answered No. The plan is about water quantity not water quality. They are looking into sampling water quality issues. The State of North Carolina is responsible for water quality issues. Alderman Seaver asked about the number one pollutant. Mr. Greer stated nutrients.
Alderman Lail asked if we were better off than we were 10 years ago. Mr Greer stated yes. Rhodhiss has improved and this has improved Lake Hickory.


2. (a) Freese and Nichols, Inc. - Approval of contract with Freese and Nichols, Inc. (FNI) of Raleigh NC for Phase 1 of the Professional Bond Program Management Services in the amount of $498,400 for a comprehensive, phased program to develop additional project definition including preliminary engineering, cost estimates and feasibility analysis of the bond projects, identify regulatory requirements, space constraints, topographic constraints, scheduling, and utility conflicts.
(b) Budget Ordinance Amendment Number 17
1. To budget $498,000 of General Fund-Appropriated Fund Balance in the Administration Other Professional Services line item. This appropriation is to pay Freese and Nichols for the bond program administration. (Chuck Hanson presentation)

Questions and Answers
Alderman Lail asked about having 9 months of contract duration and then they can charge you more. He wants to ward off something down the road. Mr. Hanson says that they are providing us with staff/labor time. The time frame keeps the local government from dragging the issues out (timely fashion).
Alderman Zagaroli asked about this group not being a design firm. Mr. Hanson states that they are a design firm but not for our project. They are a management firm. Alderman Zagaroli further asked about estimated costs and made an observation about double-dipping. We will have to go through the same process with the design firm. 'This groups doesn't know what it will look like.'
Alder Patton asked about minimum standards. Who is going to work with that. Mr. Hanson says it will be between Staff and Bond Commission.
Mayor Wright speaks to why they are getting so many questions.  It is critical to show people that they are going to keep an eye on this money the first day and the last day. He asks about updates. 
Assistant City Manager Andrea addresses the thought process behind this.




General Comments (per Hickory Inc.)
Mayor Wright asked how the Easter egg hunt went. Alderman Seaver advised excellent. Alot of the children showed up, they were really excited. Alderman Lail asked how many eggs did Parks and Recreation do for the hunt. Alderman Seaver advised 25,000. Mayor Wright advised that the Elks Lodge pays for the eggs, and Parks and Recreation organizes the events and hides the eggs. It is amazing how few minutes it takes for 25,000 eggs to be found.

Mayor Wright commented that there are a lot of good things going on in the City. The Farmer’s Market will begin on April 18th. There are a lot of good things planned for the Music Series, the Crawdads, and great progress on the building across from Clark Tire. A lot of good things going on and he hopes that everyone is as optimistic about the bond referendum. He challenged Mr. Archer and Mr. Hansen to get something out of the ground.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

China

The dip in Hickory's fortunes since the beginning of the millennium relates to the de-industrialization of our local economy which coincides with the rise of the Dragon - China. The industrialization of the Chinese economic system is hard to compete with under the current United States/North Carolina/Catawba County/Unifour/Hickory model. The Eagle will continue its descent until we take real action to address what led us here. Action does not come from cooking books to pull wool over the public's eyes. The Atlanta Federal Reserve has lowered its forecast for GDP in the first quarter of 2015 to 0%. We have been in a recession since late 2007. We have never come out of it, even if the government says we have. They have constantly underestimated inflation to make it look like we have had growth. If real inflation is accounted for, we have had negative real growth in the GDP for nearly every quarter since late 2007.

The following is an interview that I listened to on Youtube from the Coast to Coast AM program hosted by George Noory on April 3, 2015. The interviewee on the subject is Dan Collins, the founder of Tiger Hill Capital, a Hong Kong based asset management company. He has lived in China for 15 years. He addresses how China's unprecedented industrial revolution has created massive wealth. Since the reform in the 1970s, in which citizens began to be allowed to reap rewards from their own businesses, China's economy has catapulted ahead to become the world's largest. In the economic sense, it's actually more capitalistic than the United States, but politically it's absolutely communist, with tight controls, and little or no voting, he pointed out. "On the economic side, it's totally the Wild West-- no property taxes, no environmental regulations," and it's very easy to open a new business, he remarked, adding that there are an estimated 60 billionaires in the Chinese Politburo.

By not being a democracy, China was able to make quick economic strides such as putting in a high-speed rail system in a short number of years. They are currently building 50,000 skyscrapers (the equivalent of 10 New York City's), and they've constructed 70 international airports in the last 10 years, he cited, adding that there are one million Chinese citizens now living in Africa, pursuing business opportunities, and tapping into the bounty of natural resources there. China has been increasing military spending by over 10% a year for decades, but Collins doesn't foresee them attacking America-- they are much more interested in areas closer to home such as Taiwan, and countries near their borders, he said. For the US to beat or more readily compete with China, he believes it needs to overhaul its tax system, and move to a consumption tax that is more friendly to business and manufacturing.

Here is the direct link that takes you to where his interview starts.




Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Agenda about the City Council meeting of April 7, 2015

This Agenda is about the Hickory City Council meeting that took place on the date listed above. City council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each Month in the Council Chambers of the Julian Whitener building.

At right of this page under Main Information links is an Hickory's City Website link. If you click on that link, it takes you to our city’s website/ The City's website evolves over time, but currently towrds the top right there is a Link called Quick Links. Click that on and look for the Agenda's and Minutes link you need to click. Scroll down from there and this will show you a list of PDF files to upcoming and previous meetings.

Agendas show what is on the docket for the meeting of that date. The Minutes is an actual summary of the proceedings of the meeting of that date. You can also look in the upper right hand corner of the front page of the Hickory Hound and (will soon) find the link to the past history of Hickory City Newsletters.

Here is a summary of the agenda of the meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below:

Please remember that pressing Ctrl and + will magnify the text and page and pressing Ctrl and - will make the text and page smaller. This will help the readability for those with smaller screens and/or eye difficulties.

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Hound Notes: I know I haven't been writing much. I'm sure that causes some to cheer. Good for them. I'm not going to continue beating the dead horse. It is a waste of my time. If nothing changes, nothing changes and nothing has changed.

People ask How ya Doin... I tell'em So So... Same Ole Same Ole... S.O.S.O.

Check out the numbers... Ole Shell's dead on again... Resident population in Catawba County fell by (that means negative) 276 people in 2014. In 5 years, we have lost 4,419 people. These are guesstimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that most likely underestimate the loss of population in the area. How do I arrive at that logic? Because that is most likely what happened in 2010. From 2009 to 2010, we see a population loss of 4,703 people. Also factor in that these population numbers include illegal immigrants in the community. The two areas of demographic growth in the community are immigrants and the aged. The reason why I point that out is to look at the demographic make-up of the community. That make-up is not conducive to economic growth and stability. It doesn't mean that I am against immigrants. It means that we are trading out stable wealth for poverty. Since 2008, SNAP benefits (Foodstamps) participants have risen from 18,933 people to a current (as of 2014) 31,931 people. That is a 69% tangible growth in poverty, while we have seen a 2% loss of population -- are you getting my point?

The workforce in the area continues its precipitous decline.  They can talk all day long about 5.6% unemployment. The workforce declined by over 2,000 people in 2014. That is when you count people working and statistically seeking work. It's actually worse than that. Unemployment in the community is really well into the double digits... Underemployment is much, much worse. Denial, stupidity, ignorance, and B*** S*** are off the charts.

Link to the numbers above at the St. Louis Federal Reserve website. Please go explore and educate yourself. 

Another Note: I may not have been clear about the significance of the population estimates and the likely underreporting of those negative numbers. Numbers in Census years (years ending in zeros) are much more precise than in off-census years, because there is an actual physical count of households, as opposed to off-Census year numbers, which are accounted for through the Census Bureau's "Community Survey", which isn't a precise accounting, but a statistical sample reported by the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and subsequently the Federal Reserve branches. 

We see a significant decrease in population between the off-Census/Community Survey year of 2009 and the Census year 2010. We have seen modest increases and decreases in the subsequent off-Census/Community Survey years 2011-2014. Evidence is pointing to a much more significant population decrease. The loss of labor force is one variable that points to a more significant population decrease. If you can't find a job, then you will have to leave the area.

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Special Presentations
A. Proclamation for National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. 
B. Proclamation for Fair Housing Month.


Consent Agenda 
A. Approval to Issue a Pyrotechnic Display Permit to Hickory Motor Speedway  - Kevin Piercy, General Manager of the Hickory Motor Speedway has submitted a request to obtain permission to have a public fireworks display on the following 2015 dates: June 27, July 3, July 25 and September 19. The following would be rain out dates: June 28, July 4, 11, 18, 26, or August 1, and September 20, 26, or October 24. The North Carolina Fire Code requires a mandatory operational permit for the use and handling of pyrotechnic special effects material. The Division of Fire & Life Safety Bureau shall review all required documentation. The Fire Prevention Bureau will also inspect the pyrotechnics display area prior to the event to ensure compliance with all guidelines and codes. Staff recommends approval of the pyrotechnics displays.

B. Approval of Municipal City Ordinances Repealing or Enacting Speed Limits to Update the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Database.  -  The Traffic Division has worked with the North Carolina Department of Transportation regarding the new ordinances and agree to the speed limits along US Highway 70 between 19th Street SW and 13th Street Place SW (50 mph), US Highway 70 between 13th Street SW and South Center Street (45 mph), US Highway 70 between South Center Street and Fairgrove Church Road (50 mph), 1st Avenue SW between South Center Street and NC Highway 127 (25 mph), and Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard between 2nd Avenue SE and Tate Boulevard (45 mph). The last is to repeal two ordinances that had incorrect reference locations, specifically along 1st Avenue SW between South Center Street and Main Avenue Place SE as this should have ended at NC Highway 127 and along 8th Street Drive SE between 2nd Avenue SE and Tate Boulevard as 8th Street Drive SE has changed names to Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard. Staff recommends approval of the ordinances for North Carolina Department of Transportation as described.

C. Approval of an All-Way Stop at the Intersections of 7th Street SW at 4th Avenue SW and 7th Street SW at 5th Avenue SW.  - The Traffic Division has received all necessary paperwork from residents within the subdivision in regards to the Traffic Calming Guidelines and have found the residents to be in compliance with the guidelines. Based on recent speed studies it appears that traffic is still speeding along 7th Street SW even though the speed limit was reduced to 25mph. According to the City’s Traffic Calming Guidelines, the next step would be to install an all-way stop to help the speed issue. Staff recommends installation of all-way stops at the intersections of 7th Street SW at 4th Avenue SW and 7th Street SW at 5th Avenue SW.

D. Approval of a Lease Agreement for City-owned Property to Hickory Downtown Development Association, Inc. Located at 24 1st Avenue NE, Hickory.  - The property at 24 1st Avenue NE has been leased to the Hickory Downtown Development Association for a number of years. The current lease has expires, and Staff has been working over the past few months to update the lease to ensure it is active and enforceable. The terms of the proposed lease will be for approximately two years for the nominal amount of one dollar. The lease will renew by mutual option for up to two additional years unless notice is given by either party to terminate. The lessee will be responsible for the payment of all utilities furnished to the property, securing its own janitorial service, maintaining the premise in good order, routine maintenance and repairs of the property.

E. Approve the Transfer of a Cemetery Deed from Terry M. Taylor, Collector of the Estate of Bette L. Peile, Catawba County Estate File Number 14E949 to James Steven Peile

F. Approval of Community Relations Council Spring Grant Recommendations.  - As part of the Community Relations Council (CRC) work plan and annual budget process, the Community Relations Council receives funds to disperse during the fiscal year through the CRC grant process. Non-profit agencies working with diverse populations in Hickory are eligible for grant funding. The grant proposal must show how the program under consideration fits into the CRC goals and mission and how the program will serve to improve human relations in the Hickory area. A total of $4,690 is available in the CRC budget for grants in fiscal year 2014/2015. CRC recommends the following for funding for the Spring 2015 grant cycle:
Lenoir-Rhyne University/Office of Multicultural Affairs - $1,500
Safe Harbor Rescue Mission - $1,000
Council on Adolescents of Catawba Valley, Inc. - $1,440
Western North Carolina Epilepsy Association - $750

G. Approval of a Change to the Assistance Policy for the 2014 Urgent Repair Program (URP14) as Required by N.C. Housing Finance Agency.  - The City of Hickory’s Community Development Department, in complying with the N.C. Housing Finance Agency’s funding requirements for URP14 is requesting a change in income limits for the Assistance Policy. The change would allow assistance to more families. Presently the Urgent Repair Program has $33,565 remaining. Upon approval by Hickory City Council the Assistance Policy will be submitted to N.C. Housing Finance Agency for approval. Staff recommends approval of the income limits for City of Hickory Beneficiaries for 2014 Urgent Repair Project Grant Assistance Policy.

H. Special Event Activities Application Concert Under the Sails – Symphony Under the Sails, Dr. Martha Geouge Hill, Executive Director, Western Piedmont Symphony, Inc., May 3, 2015 and June 28, 2015, Union Square, Downtown Hickory, from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

I. Approval of a Resolution to Declare 4,724 Surplus Discarded Library Materials so that these materials may be given to the Friends of the Library to be sold at the Friends October 2015 Book Sale and/or at the “Corner Book Store” at Patrick Beaver Memorial Library.  - The sale of donated and discarded books is the primary fundraising activity of the Friends of the Library and discarded library materials comprise a significant portion of their inventory. The sale of these items ultimately benefits the library, and is an appropriate means of disposing of unneeded materials.

J. Adopt Resolution of Intent to Lease City-owned Properties to Safe Harbor Rescue Mission, Inc. Located at 16 1st Avenue NE, and 18 1st Avenue NE, Hickory. - Adopt a resolution authorizing the City Clerk to advertise City Council’s consideration of a lease agreement with Safe Harbor Rescue Mission, Inc. to lease properties owned by the City of Hickory located at 16 1st Avenue NE, and 18 1st Avenue NE, Hickory.

K. Approve a Deed of Conveyance for the former WDF, Inc./Southern Desk Property Located at 1730 1st Avenue SW.  - The Southern Desk property had been in a state of continual decline and disrepair. The City of Hickory temporarily abated the nuisance at the property, but permanent abatement meant demolishing the building. Demolition costs were estimated to be close to $500,000 primarily due to the size of the building and the presence of asbestos. Negotiations were entered into between WDF, Inc. and James Canipe, owner of Foothills Recycling & Demolition, L.L.C. (Foothills) to acquire the property for the purpose of demolishing the building and reclaiming the materials. Upon completion of the demolition, the City agreed to accept a conveyance of the property from Foothills. The City performed a Phase 1 ESA on the property. The inspection did not reveal significant environmental hazards that would expose the City to potential liability as the new owner. Instead of using Foothills to acquire the property, Mr. Canipe created a new corporation, Southern Desk Reclamation, L.L.C. to acquire the property. Upon the acquisition of the property, Foothills then demolished the building, reclaimed recyclable materials, and cleaned up the site. Southern Desk Reclamation, L.L.C. is now willing to convey the affected property to the City in accordance with the agreement. Staff recommends Council accept the non-warranty deed of conveyance from Southern Desk Reclamation, L.L.C. for the former WDF, Inc./Southern Desk property located at 1730 1st Avenue SW.

L. Budget Ordinance Amendment Number 16.
1. To budget a $1,500 Library donation from the Friends of the Hickory Public Library in the Programming line item. This donation is for the Beth Macy author visit scheduled on April 13, 2015.

2. To budget a $5,977 insurance claim payment from Argonaut Great Central Insurance Company in the Parks and Recreation M & R Buildings line item. This insurance claim payment is for hail damage to an HVAC unit on 11/06/14.

3. To budget a $150 insurance claim payment from Occidental Fire and Casualty Company of North Carolina in the Parks and Recreation M & R Grounds line item. This insurance claim payment is for damage sustained to a split rail fence at Cliff Teague Park.

4. To budget a total of $9,142 of sponsorships in the Parks and Recreation-Departmental Supplies line item. These funds are for the Unifour Senior Games.

5. To transfer $35,000 of General Contingency to the Administration Contracted Services line item. This transfer is needed to pay Land Design for the Design Guidelines contract.

6. To budget an $843 insurance claim payment from Progressive Southeastern Insurance Company in the Airports M & R Grounds line item. This insurance claim payment is for damage sustained to a chain link fence on Airport property.

Informational Item
A. Report of City Manager Mick Berry’s travel to Emerging Issues Forum, Raleigh, North Carolina, February 8 – 10, 2015. (Lodging - $381.10; Meals - $41.67; Registration - $295; Fuel - $54.65)

B. Report of Councilman Lail’s travel to Emerging Issues Forum, Raleigh, North Carolina, February 8 – 10, 2015. (Lodging - $381.10; Meals - $32.04; Registration - $295; Mileage Reimbursement - $202.40)

C. Report of Councilman Seaver’s travel to Emerging Issues Forum, Raleigh, North Carolina, February 8 – 10, 2015. (Lodging - $381.10; Meals - $41.67; Registration - $295)

D. Report of Councilman Guess’ travel to Emerging Issues Forum, Raleigh, North Carolina, February 8 – 10, 2015. (Lodging - $381.10; Meals - $32.04; Registration - $295)

E. Report of Councilwoman Patton travel to Emerging Issues Forum, Raleigh, North Carolina, February 8 – 10, 2015. (Lodging - $381.10; Meals - $32.04; Registration - $295)

F. Report of Councilman Zagaroli’s travel to Emerging Issues Forum, Raleigh, North Carolina, February 8 – 10, 2015. (Lodging - $381.10; Meals - $10.25; Registration - $295; Mileage Reimbursement - $202.40; Parking - $60)

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Approval of a Resolution Supporting the Water Supply Master Plan as Developed by the Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group.  - The Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group (CEEMG) was formed in 2006 and later incorporated as a 501C-3 non-profit organization in 2007 as a result of Duke Energy relicensing of the Catawba River as a series of power supply reservoirs. The CWWMG was formed by 18 public water supplies and Duke Energy to create a group whose sole interest was in benefiting and extending the useful life of the precious resource known as the Catawba River. This group has commissioned several studies to better understand the overall health of the Catawba River and what things could be done to extend the useful life of the Catawba River. The Water Supply Master Plan is a comprehensive study that was undertaken by the CWWMG with the goal of updating the basin wide water model to understand current conditions and evaluating future strategies that will assist the basin with extending the useful life of the Catawba River past year 2100. Staff recommends Council’s approval of this Resolution supporting the Water Supply Master Plan as
developed by the Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group.

2. (a) Freese and Nichols, Inc. - Approval of contract with Freese and Nichols, Inc. (FNI) of Raleigh NC for Phase 1 of the Professional Bond Program Management Services in the amount of $498,400 for a comprehensive, phased program to develop additional project definition including preliminary engineering, cost estimates and feasibility analysis of the bond projects, identify regulatory requirements, space constraints, topographic constraints, scheduling, and utility conflicts.
(b) Budget Ordinance Amendment Number 17
1. To budget $498,000 of General Fund-Appropriated Fund Balance in the Administration Other Professional Services line item. This appropriation is to pay Freese and Nichols for the bond program administration.