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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Agenda about the City Council meeting of February 3, 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.

 pdf City Council Agenda - February 3, 2015


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Hound Notes: Once again not much here. On this night, after the formality of the second reading, the Bond Commission is officially sanctioned. Names have already been released of the people who will serve as Ex-Officio representatives. There are still some of the Boards and Commissions that need to add their representative.

We should find out the 28 comrades and family members who the Council will be naming as personal representatives. I'm not sure if they will be passed out their rubber stamps at this meeting or when they meet in whatever gymnasium it will take to seat the 42 m3mb3rs of this thing.

Snarky remark earned when telling people that they only want "positive" people to serve on this thing.

Business Development Committee - Dana Chambers
Catawba County Chamber of Commerce  - Will Locke
Citizen’s Advisory Committee
Community Appearance Commission - Charles Hayes
Community Relations Council - Adelia Parrado-Ortiz
Hickory International Council
Hickory Regional Planning Commission - Shauna O’Brien
Historic Preservation Commission
Library Advisory Board - Carolyn Sinclair
Parks and Recreation Commission - Dean Proctor
Public Art Commission - Jennifer Helton
Recycling Advisory Board - Norm Meres
University City Commission - Ryan Edwards
Youth Council - Andrew Howard


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Invocation by Rev. Karla Woggon, Rector, Episcopal Church of the Ascension

Consent Agenda:
A. Approval of a Resolution for Acceptance of an Offer of Dedication of Street Right-of-Way, being a Portion of 17th Street Drive SE. - In 2014 construction began on a commercial development north of US 70 SE adjacent to the Hickory Metro Convention Center. This development consisted of four new parcels of property, as well as a new roadway to provide access. Currently one of the parcels has been developed, and is home to the new Hilton Garden Inn hotel. The City has been presented with an offer of dedication for a portion of 17th Street Drive SE, which is shown as a 50 foot right-of-way on a Plat recorded in Book 73, at Pages 59 and 60, of the Catawba County Registry. The roadway was constructed and inspected by the City’s Public Services Department to ensure the roadway was constructed to proper specifications. Staff recommends approval of the Resolution accepting the offer of dedication for the segment of 17th Street Drive SE, as shown on Plat Book 73, Pages 59 and 60 of the Catawba County Registry.

B. Approval of Closing Patrick Beaver Memorial Library and Ridgeview Branch Library from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on February 6, and February 20, 2015. - Library Staff requests approval to close Patrick Beaver Memorial Library and Ridgeview Branch Library from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday, February 6, and Friday, February 20, 2015, for two work sessions in connection with the Library’s strategic planning process. Consultant Dr. Anthony Chow will work with the Strategic Plan Steering Committee and Library Staff to develop a new Strategic Plan. It is important that all library staff, both full-time and part-time be included in the development of a new Strategic Plan to ensure their buy-in and ability to implement and carry out all elements of the Plan. Their participation will allow Hickory Public Libraries to continue delivering superior library services to the citizens of the City of Hickory and Catawba County. The two half-days will be considered staff development training for this year. Staff recommended the Friday morning closings as less disruptive to library customers.

C. Approve the Installation of an All-Way Stop at the Intersection of 19th Avenue NE at 3rd Street NE. - The Traffic Division received all necessary paperwork from residents within the subdivision in regards to Traffic Calming Guidelines and have found the residents to be in compliance with the guidelines. Traffic calming has been done on 19th Avenue NE to reduce the speed limit to 25 mph, however, based on recent speed studies it appears traffic is still speeding along 19th Avenue NE. The next step, according to the City’s Traffic Calming Guidelines, is to install an all-way stop to help the speed issue. Staff recommends the installation of an all-way stop at the intersection of 19th Avenue NE at 3rd Street NE.

D. Special Events Activities Application for A Hickory Holiday, Connie Kincaid, Executive Director, Hickory Downtown Development Association, December 17, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Union Square.

E. Special Events Activities Application for Downtown Hickory Shuck & Peel Party, Connie Kincaid, Executive Director, Hickory Downtown Development Association, November 14, 2015, 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Union Square.

F. Special Events Activities Application for Hickory Oktoberfest 2015, Connie Kincaid, Executive Director, Hickory Downtown Development Association, Friday, October 9, 2015 through Sunday, October 11, 2015. Set up will begin 6:00 a.m. on October 9th, and clean-up ends at 11:00 p.m. on October 11th. Event time: October 9, 12:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., October 10, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and October 11, 12:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Event location: Blocks with boundaries of 3rd Street NW (W), Government Avenue SW (S), 2nd Avenue NW (N), and Center Street (E). Alcohol sales should cease at 10:30 p.m. on October 9th and 10th.

G. Approval of a Contract with Light-N-Up, LLC to Install Specialized Equipment and Graphics onto New Police Vehicles. - Hickory Police Department requests approval of a contract with Light-N-Up, LLC to complete the turnkey up-fitting of all specialized equipment and graphics for ten new police package Chevrolet Tahoes. Each of the new vehicles will require the installation of all specialized and safety equipment to include blue lights, siren, console, radios, computer, printer, radar, prisoner partitions, gun lock boxes, and graphics packages. A total of three vendors submitted bids in the formal bid process. Light-N-Up, LLC’s bid of $106,389.60 was the lowest of the three bids. Hickory Police Department recommends approval to enter into a contract with Light-N-Up, LLC in the amount of $106,389.60 to install all specialized equipment and graphics on ten police package Chevrolet Tahoes.
Funds are budgeted in the 2014/2015 CIP.

H. Approval of Change Order Number 2 for the Hickory Metro Convention Center Parking Deck.- On January 20th 2015, Council approved change order number one for $78,640 which was necessary due to design modifications based on soil conditions. It consisted of an additional three micro-piles at contract depth of 65 feet each (adding 195 feet total depth to original contract) plus thirty tension micro-piles (lump sum price; not based on vertical depth) for shear loading. Soils at the Convention Center are variable and consist of not only natural in-place earth but also fill material that was placed to create the several levels of the existing parking in front of the facility. As standard practice for the original contract, the architect and structural engineer used the best available information to estimate the depths of each of the 95 foundation micro-piles that were required for the proposed structure. The actual total depths for suitable soil conditions at each micro-pile could not be obtained until the pile is installed. Installation of all micro-piles has now been completed by the contractor. The total vertical linear feet of micro-pile depth in the original contract and after change order number one was estimated at 6,305 feet. Total final vertical depth of all micro-piles is 7,226 feet. The original contract specified a unit price of $60 per foot of additional depth. The additional depth beyond contract amount equals 921 feet. The contractor, Matthews Construction Company, requests that $55,260 be added to the approved contract amount for the additional depth of pile structure. The original contract amount was $2,576,000. The proposed contract amount with this change order number two is $2,709,900.

I. Budget Ordinance Amendment Number 12.
1. To transfer $41,331 of remaining revenues in excess of expenditures, related to the Hickory District Court Facility in FY13-14, from the General Fund to the District Court Capital Reserve Fund.
2. To budget a $6,000 insurance claim payment in the Airports M & R Grounds line item. This insurance claim payment is for damage sustained to a light post caused by a tenant on 06-10-14 however the insurance claim payment was received on 11-18-14.
3. To budget a $5,100 insurance claim payment in the Airports M & R Grounds line item. This insurance claim payment is for damage sustained to a light post on 08-08-14 however the insurance claim payment was received on 12-11-14.
4. To budget a $60 Library donation in the Library books line item. This donation is made in honor of Peg Schulten by the Second Tuesday Book Club.
5. To budget a $100 Library donation from the GFWC Hickory Woman’s Club in the Library Programming line item.
6. To budget an $80 Library donation from the Quest Book Club in the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library Programming line item.
7. To budget $35 of proceeds from the Saloma Furlong book signing in the Library Programming line item.
8. To budget a $50 Library donation from Ann Greene and Deborah Finger in memory of Lola Reese in the Library Programming line item.
9. To budget a $25 Library donation from Monica Olinger in honor of Lola Reese in the Library Books line item.
10. To budget a $25 Library donation from Patricia Kirby in memory of Lola Reese in the Library Books line item.
11. To budget a $100 Library donation from the staff of Triad Health Project in memory of Lola Reese in the Library Books line item.
12. To budget a total of $150 of donations in the Youth Council expenditure line item. Donations in the amounts of $100 and $50 will be used for the State Youth Council Conference.



New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Approval of a Municipal Agreement between the City of Hickory and North Carolina Department of Transportation for Intersection Improvements for Sandy Ridge Road. - Staff requests approval of a Municipal Agreement between the City of Hickory and North Carolina Department of Transportation for intersection improvements on 16th Street NE (Sandy Ridge Road) at 21st Avenue NE and 29th Avenue Drive NE. The Federal Highway Administration designated the Sandy Ridge Road intersections at 21st Avenue NE and 29th Avenue Drive NE eligible for intersection improvements using Congestion  Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds to replace vehicular greenhouse gas emissions. To  accommodate the vehicle storage for the turning motions at the intersections, Sandy Ridge Road will be widened between 21st Avenue NE and 29th Avenue Drive NE. Approaches will also be improved. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will participate in funding the project using federal funds up to $2,153,000. As part of the 80 percent NCDOT and 20 percent City funding, the City of Hickory will be responsible for up to $538,250, for a total estimated project cost of $2,691,250. These CMAQ funds are to be applied to right of way acquisition, utility relocation, and project construction. The City engineering division is designing the project, and will go through NCDOT reviews and approvals. It is scheduled to be designed and constructed over the next five years. Staff recommends approval of the Municipal Agreement between the City of Hickory and North Carolina Department of Transportation.

2. Consideration of the Request to Amend the Vacant Building Grant Agreement from Shuford Mills, LLC. - Shuford Mills, LLC received a Vacant Building Revitalization Grant in the amount of $20,000 to demolish the building located at 1360 Highland Avenue NE. The original grant agreement was approved on January 7, 2014. This agreement was subsequently amended to extend the project deadline on September 16, 2014. The amended project deadline was February 1, 2015. The extension was requested so that the property owner could save and restore a 100 foot section of wall. Demolitio n work at the site is nearly complete. There is some additional grading and fill work that will be required in addition to completion of the wall restoration. Shuford Mills requested additional time due to delays in the steel fabrication and installation process related to the building wall rehabilitation. The previous extension requires the completion of all demolition work including site restoration and completion of the building wall rehabilitation. Shuford Mills, LLC will spend approximately $249,006 on this renovation. The agreement does not include an option for an extension. Therefore, any additional extension would need approval by City Council. Amendment 2 would extend the deadline for completing all demolition and site restoration activities 60 days from the February 1, 2015 deadline as described in Amendment 1. Staff requests City Council’s consideration of amending the agreement to permit payment of the  $20,000 upon completion of all site restoration and wall rehabilitation work.

3. Quarterly Finance Report

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Signs... the HDR is zeroing in on Boosters' issues

Still a ways to go and information to come to light. Inconsistencies that need to see the light, but the Hickory Daily Record article this morning gets us further down the trail -- link below. The Hound has been on the trail for months. Sometimes you have to lay low until the scent trail gets stronger. The forest is always more important than the individual trees.

Thousands of dollars of in-kind contribution funds seem to be missing from the Boost Hickory financial report. The Boost Hickory Treasurer's "Dog ate my Homework" excuses have been numerous, but certainly aren't afforded to your average citizen.

Here's the deal, none of this was about gotcha politics, as the Mayor characterized in the HDR article, "...Or someone who does nothing but try to catch a campaign in something. I did not realize they were illegal. And I was not responsible for determining they were legal.”

When the violations were noticed, Joe Brannock initially contacted the Mayor, various city officials, and Boost Hickory committee members to inform them about the violations. He asked that the violations be corrected. City officials and Boost Hickory members instead denied the violations were true and refused responsibility.  The Planning Department, in charge of administration and enforcement of this ordinance, had already stated that the signs were in violation and were in the process of enforcing the law.

As a matter of fact, the gigantic sign that hung from the roof top at the Hollar Mill (estimated size 600 sq feet+), was requested to be removed by the City of Hickory Planning Department. We believe that to be the $900+ sign that was reported in the Boost Hickory financials. We were informed of this previous notification, that this sign did not comply with City Code, on Monday, October 27th. That is the reason why that sign was voluntarily taken down. The 47.5 sq. foot signs, Joe discussed with the Mayor, were put up after the Hollar Mill sign was reported and taken down.

The Bottom Line is that all the Mayor had to do was acknowledge that the signs did not comply with the ordinance and establish that they should be removed and take action to have them removed. As the Mayor, are you telling me these people would not comply with his wishes, especially when he was the person who created the signs.

Here we are 86 days later and so many convolutions and it was all so unnecessary, just because the Mayor didn't want to admit that he had it wrong. This is the person who has boasted about the City of Hickory being the most open and transparent government in the State of North Carolina and said "We are not secretive."

Here is the Hickory Daily Record article link where the Mayor finally admits that he had it wrong.
Hickory mayor: "It was a mistake." - Hickory Daily Record - Frank Bumb - January 24, 2015 

Huh... Hickory Bond Booster Inconsistencies - January 22, 2015


Friday, January 23, 2015

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of January 20, 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 January 20, 2015

Thoughts about the City Council meeting of January 20, 2015 - I didn't do an article of thoughts this week. The meeting lasted a little less than 25 minutes. I will incorporate thoughts into this article.



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The Hound's Notes:  I happened to be right on target with my Agenda comment that there would be a brief overview to reiterate the discussion of January 12 concerning the Bond Commission structure and formation. No one spoke for or against the proposal. Manager Berry went over the decisions of the Council. At the end of the meeting on February 3, if all goes as planned, we will find out who the people are that will be serving on this commission. We pretty much can guess who these people will be. It will be the group from Boost Hickory and/or the people who they choose to serve as their proxies.

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Invocation by Alderman Danny Seaver

Consent Agenda

New Business - Public Hearings
1. Consideration of Bond Implementation Commission Ordinance. - This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on January 9, 2015.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Huh... Hickory Bond Booster Inconsistencies

Here I am as a Citizen Journalist laying  out a chain of important information that is relevant to understanding how our local government has operated. It pertains to the largest Bond initiative in the history of this community. The campaign is over and the initiative has been approved. All of that is in the rear view mirror. The purpose of this information I present to you is to shine a light on some of the previous conduct in hopes of getting a better performance as we move forward.

Our local newspaper, the Hickory Daily Record, has sold the series of events surrounding the Bond Referendum, the local government, and the Committee formed to promote the passage of the Bond Referendum, as three separate and unrelated entities and matters. They have presented the information as money related issues, when in fact it is one ongoing story about the lack of openness and transparency in this community when it comes to local governance. This in light of the fact that Hickory Inc. (and proxy Boost Hickory) has boasted about and promised the public that very openness and transparency more times than Lucy has offered up Charlie Brown an opportunity to kick a football. The HDR hasn't been able to connect the dots. They have put the information and stories in Silos.

This has nothing to do with the Mayor profiting from the Boost Hickory campaign.  It has to do with an unwillingness to comply with the law that they themselves prescribe. The head of the Boost Hickory campaign is quoted in the first HDR article related to the matter, as having said that they " ...would bend over backwards to comply with the law." Yet, that group has just now submitted reports that were due weeks ago. The last check they wrote, to close out their campaign committee status, was written over a month ago. There are many inconsistencies in information as it has been presented.

The initial inconsistency was the involvement of Joe Brannock calling the Mayor to inform him about Boost Hickory's illegal campaign signs. It is interesting that the Mayor treats a private citizen in such a negative manner in print on a Saturday morning and then turns around and is almost light-hearted about the situation 48 hours later.


Boost Hickory Campaign Signs Illegal - Frank Bumb - Hickory Daily Record - October 31, 2014


Here is the audio of the conversation in question from the HDR article above. Would you describe these as leading questions? He was asked whether he was going to do anything about the signs. It is obvious that he wasn't going to do anything about it. He was asked if he saw anything wrong with Boost Hickory not voluntarily complying with the law -- a law unanimously passed by his City Council and a law he is in charge of administering. Ponder if a political opponent were not complying with such a City Code and the Mayor was aware of the non-compliance. Do you think the situation is treated differently?






Two days later during the "Monday Morning Meeting with the Mayor" on First Talk with Hal Row, the Mayor wants to talk about being recorded, but he doesn't want to talk about the subject matter of the article, 'whether the signs in question were legal or not?' Also note how this was purposefully saved for the last two minutes of the broadcast... hard for someone to call in and challenge the Mayor's assertions under such circumstances... Fair?






Saturday, January 17, 2015

Agenda about the City Council meeting of January 20, 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.

pdf City Council Agenda - January 20, 2015

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Hound Notes: Not much here. There is a public hearing on the Bond Advisory Commission. I may be wrong, but I don't see anyone standing up to speak for or against this. I went to the Special meeting in which it was discussed this past  Monday - Special City Council meeting of January 12, 2014.

There will be a reiteration of the discussions and decisions of this past Monday and the votes will be taken and two weeks from Tuesday, February 3, 2014, after the second reading this will become law and then the Commission will be formed. I'm sure that most of these slots have pretty much been determined. These are just the formalities.

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Invocation by Rev. David L. Roberts, II, Pastor, Morning Star First Baptist Church

Consent Agenda:
A. Approval of the Purchase of Ten Specialized Police Package Emergency Vehicles. - Hickory Police Department requests approval of the purchase of ten specialized police package emergency vehicles in the amount of $28,917.02 per vehicle. Police Department Staff and the City of Hickory’s Fleet Manager have researched and reviewed independent comparison studies comparing available police package vehicles. The 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Police Package two-wheel drive best fits the needs of the  department based on a number of considerations. Hickory Police Department has seven police package Chevrolet Tahoe’s in service and all have performed well with no maintenance or service issues. Hickory Police Department recommends purchase of ten rear-wheel drive Chevrolet Tahoe police package vehicles from Bobby Murray Chevrolet on the NC State contract at a cost of $28,917.02 per vehicle and a total cost of $289,170.20. Funds are budgeted in the fiscal year 2014/2015 CIP.

B. Approval of a Lease Agreement for City-owned Property to Family Care Center of Catawba Valley Inc. Located at 1471 1st Avenue SW. - Staff requests approval of a Lease Agreement with Family Care Center of Catawba Valley, Inc. to lease property owned by the City of Hickory located at 1471 1st Avenue SW, Hickory. The property has been leased to the Family Care Center for a number of years and the current lease has expired. The terms of the proposed lease will be for five years for the nominal amount of one dollar. The lease will renew on a year to year basis for up to four additional years unless notice is given by either party to terminate. The lessee will be responsible for securing its own janitorial service and maintaining the premise in good order, routine maintenance, and repairs of the property. Staff r ecommends approval of the Lease Agreement with Family Care Center of Catawba Valley, Inc.
Public Notice of Intent to Lease was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on January 9, 2015.

C. Approval to Issue a Pyrotechnic Display Permit to Hickory Crawdads. - Mark Seaman, General Manager of the Hickory Crawdads has submitted a request to obtain permission to have a public fireworks display on the following 2015 dates: April 10; May 29; June 12, 26; July 3, 17, 31; August 14, 28 and September 4. The following would be rain out dates: April 11; May 30; June 13, 27; July 18; August 1, 15; and September 5. 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.

D. Special Events Activities Application for Downtown Hickory Farmers’ Market 2015, Sarah T. Wood, Market Manager, Downtown Hickory Farmers’ Market, April 18 – November 28, Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., May 21 – November 19, Thursdays, 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., on Union Square.

E. Special Events Activities Application for Hickory Hops, Connie Kincaid, Executive Director, Hickory Downtown Development Association, April 25, 2015, 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Government Avenue and 2nd Street SW.

F. Special Events Activities Application for Downtown Art Crawls, Connie Kincaid, Executive Director, Hickory Downtown Development Association, Thursday, May 21, 2015; Thursday, September 17, 2015; and Friday, October 30, 2015 from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Union Square, 3rd Street NW, 2nd Street NW, 1st Avenue NW, 1st Avenue SW, Government Avenue SW, and 2nd Street SW.

G. Approve Acceptance of a Grant from the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center – New Electric Vehicle Service Equipment Charging Station on Union Square. - Staff requests approval to accept the grant award through the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NC CETC). On December 16, 2014 the City received notification of award for the purchase and installation of a new dual style electric vehicle charging station to be installed on Union Square. Upon the NC CETC board’s review of the budgetary sheet submitted in the application package, a revised total project cost was formulated and approved for award in the amount of $6,887. Under the Clean Fuel Advanced Technology (CFAT) program regarding funds, the City’s 20 percent cost for case match is $1,377 with the CFAT’s 80 percent funds at $5,510. The charging station will be installed in the southwest corner of the West Union Square parking lot near the existing power panel. Initially no fee will be charged for use, however, as use increases a card reader could be installed and a flat fee could be established. Funds are budgeted in fiscal year 2014/2015 for the project. Staff recommends acceptance of the grant award from the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center for the purchase of materials and installation of one electric vehicle service equipment charging station on Union Square.

H. Approval to Submit an Application for Funding through the 2015 Urgent Repair Program (URP15) to the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency. - Staff requests approval to submit an application for funding through the 2015 Urgent Repair Program (URP15) to the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency. The City of Hickory will apply for $50,000 through this program in order to assist approximately 12 eligible homes with urgently needed repairs in an amount not to exceed $7,200 per housing unit. The City of Hickory will provide $5,000 in matching funds available from Rental Rehabilitation program income. There is a $50 application fee to the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency. Staff recommends approval of submission of the 2015 Urgent Repair Program Application for Funding to the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.

I. Citizens’ Advisory Committee Recommendations for Assistance through the City of Hickory’s Housing Programs. - The following requests were considered by the Citizens’ Advisory Committee at their regular meeting on January 6, 2015:
Each of the following applicants are being recommended for approval under the City of Hickory’s 2014 Urgent Repair Program. This program provides qualified low income citizens with assistance for emergency related repairs not to exceed $7,200.
 Madeline Cook, 1824 8th Street Drive NE, Hickory
 Lou Cook, 1920 11th Avenue SE, Hickory
The Citizen’s Advisory Committee recommends approval of the aforementioned requests for assistance through the City of Hickory’s Housing Assistance Programs.

J. Approval of a Cemetery Deed Transfer from Troy Thomas Barkley and wife, Robin Havens Barkley to Grover Lee Barkley.

K. Approval of a New Hickory Public Library Collection Development Policy. - Library Staff requests approval of an updated Hickory Public Library Collection Development Policy. The current Collection Development Policy is lengthy and contains out-of-date language. The goal in developing the new policy is to simplify the content, and reiterate the principles that guide the selection process. The updated policy is necessary to ensure that the library’s collection is up-to-date, relevant, and appropriate to the community it serves. It provides a guide for librarians in choosing materials to add to the collection and affirms that all interests and viewpoints are represented. It also includes a process by which someone may challenge the inclusion of an item in the collection. The proposed policy has been reviewed by the Library Advisory Board and Deputy City Attorney Arnita Dula. The library recommends approval of an updated Hickory Public Library Collection Development Policy.

New Business - Public Hearings
1. Consideration of Bond Implementation Commission Ordinance. - This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on January 9, 2015.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Economic Reality - What Economy? - January 14, 2015

Gerald Celente said months ago that Christmas retail sales would be negative, The numbers came out today and he was spot on.

U.S. Retail Sales Down Sharply, Likely Cuts to Growth Forecasts Ahead - Bloomberg - Victoria Stilwell - January 14, 2015 - The optimism surrounding the outlook for U.S. consumers was taken down a notch as retail sales slumped in December by the most in almost a year, prompting some economists to lower spending and growth forecasts.                           The 0.9 percent decline in purchases followed a 0.4 percent advance in November that was smaller than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Last month’s decrease extended beyond any single group as receipts fell in nine of 13 major retail categories.

Paul Craig Roberts spoke about it today in an interview on the Alex Jones Show. The interview is below. I also have put Gerald Celente's interview from this past weekend on King World News below.

Paul Craig Roberts interview on the Alex Jones Show on January 14, 2015:





Gerald Celente on King World News on January 11, 2015 - Link to Audio



The Grand Manipulations are getting ready to come to an end. The lies of the government have become to extreme. 4% and 5% growth in the GDP has clearly been a lie -- a manipulation.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Newsletter about the Special City Council meeting of January 12, 2014

The following meeting took place on January 12, 2015. In this special meeting, the Hickory City Council has discussions and takes votes related to the formation of a Hickory Bond Commission.

Hound Notes: There were some good discussions. 



Alderman Lail asked about who would be considered for appointment, when it came to filling out an application versus a survey. Survey has 131 respondents. 172 respondents filled out an application. The survey had additional questions related to the bonds. There were questions about deadlines for applications.

There was some debate about staggered terms in relation to as to the maximum number of years someone could serve on the Commission. Mayor Wright felt 6 years was reasonable. Alderman Zagaroli seemed to believe there shouldn't be a cap. He spoke about Major contributors.  Mayor Wright seemed to be in favor of a cap. Alderman Zagaroli and the others seemed to come around to the idea of 6 years cap on serving on this commission.

 Alderman Lail stated that the Survey Respondent list does not match community demographics. It seemed that a decision was made that it wasn't necessary for the community demographics be representative of the commission. It was decided by especially Alderman Guess that the pool would come from survey respondents. The Council seemed to be saying that this Commission does not need to be reflective of the community's demographics. It seemed to be a general consensus that the community has had ample time and notice to seek participation on this commission.


Alderman Guess didn't want any restrictions put on the Council in naming members to the commission. Alderman Meisner concurred that he didn't want any limits, especially when it comes to residency. Alderman Lail also agreed and so did Alder Patton. The Mayor stated that he had a problem with naming just anyone to such a commission that is not a resident of Hickory. Alderman Lail didn't like the idea of putting a limit on the naming by stating the nominee must be a "Taxpayer". It was decided 5 to 2  (Mayor and Alderman Zagaroli voted - originally I didn't have Zag as a no, but reviewed my notes, the vote was not announced) that there should be no restrictions.

There was a discussion about Ex-Officio members to this Commission. It was decided that each Hickory City Boards and Commissions should have a representative per each. It was also decided that the Chamber of Commerce would be granted a member. Alder Patton had a valid point about why should the Chamber have a member and not any of the other organizations in the community, such as the Downtown Development Association. The Council voted 6 to 1 (Alder Patton dissenting) to include the Chamber, but no other organizations.

Action will be taken on January 20th at the Council meeting (public hearing). Two weeks later this becomes law.

Alderman Guess asked about people having to provide public information to apply to serve on the Commission. He was told that it is and must be on the public record and it is stated on the application. Attorney Crone and Manager Berry stated that the meetings are open to the public and will be on the public record. Further discussion led to interjection about the nominees for these positions being announced at a Council meeting -- presumably the first Council meeting after the ordinance becomes law... February 3, 2015 (???).

It was eventually decided that each Council member and the Mayor would have 4 appointments to the Commission. It seems as though there will be approximately 39 people serving on this Commission.

Hound's Bottom Line: You make the call. Does this sound effective?