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Friday, October 24, 2014

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of October 21, 2014

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 October 21, 2014

Thoughts about the Hickory City Council meeting of October 21, 2014 

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Hound Notes: We see that Land Design is heavily involved in Inspiring Spaces, the Linear Park, the "Friends" Playground at Union Square, bond referendums, and city officials personal lives. Wow! How Neat!






Council Members Meisner and Patton were not in attendance

Invocation by Alderman Danny Seaver

Special Presentations
A. Friends of Hickory - (17 minute presentation) about a proposed park that will be built/located to the west of Union Square behind the Community One Bank. (Per Hickory Inc.) - Ms. Beth Watts Rogers, Ms. Allison Holtzman, and Mr. Adrian Holtzman presented to City Council a concept for a playscape to be located in the downtown area, and requested Council’s approval to move forward with their planning. The project is being developed by Land Design and Kompan.

Alderman Guess asks about the concerns about loss of parking behind Community One bank.
Alderman Guess asks about people crossing over the Thoroughfare Crosswalk to get from Union Square to the park.. and about other possibilities for this park's location.
Mrs. Rogers talks about asking for the Council's approval and coming back to go through a process with City Staff, Parks and Rec, the Council about Design, and then coming back with hard dollars.
Mayor Wright and City manager Berry talk about freeing up (parking) spots with the joint City-Transportation Insight parking lot.
City Manager Berry about Parking Perception issue Downtown.

(From) -- Newsletter about the City Council meeting of March 18, 2014

A. Roger Young - Friends of Hickory, Specific Space for the Downtown Park - (from Hickory Inc.) -  presented to Council plans for a playground and park in the downtown area. He showed photos from three companies that they are currently working with on ideas for the playground. The estimated cost will be between $300,000 - $400,000, and they are planning fund raisers to come up with the money for the project. He requested Council’s permission to continue moving forward with this project on this location.





Persons Requesting to Be Heard
A. Mr. Jim Bright, Tarheel Challenge Academy - (7 minute presentation) - (Per Hickory Inc.) - Mr. Jim Bright informed City Council of the Tarheel Challenge Academy located in Salemburg, North Carolina. The Academy is a quasi-military program for high school dropouts, or expellees. Mr. Bright discussed details of the program which has a 90 percent success rate.

B. Larry Pope -  (Per Hickory Inc.) addressed City Council on his concern of utilizing parking revenues for the parking lot that the City is going to enter into that was discussed at the last Council meeting. Mr. Pope expressed concerns of City Council’s use of funds that were designated for other projects. Mr. Pope also discussed the upcoming bond referendum and his concern of what the funds would be used for. He advised Council that he would be encouraging citizens to vote no in the upcoming referendum.
Mayor Wright's response to Larry Pope's address

Consent Agenda:

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Audit Report - Presentation by Tonya Marshall of Martin-Starnes - Unmodified (clean) opinion was given. The highest level that can be received. Compliant with State and Federal regulations. Report was prepared by City Staff. General Fund unassigned balance increased by $442,282. Revenues were $44.6 million and Expenditures were $41.2 million. Total General Fund is $34.3 million with unassigned of $13.5 million. (You can watch the video to see the rest of the presented numbers.)

2. Financial Report - Presentation Warren Wood- Warren Reiterated the info presented from Ms. Marshall. General Fund Balance percentage is 29.22%. City's total net assets increase by $744,274 to $206,607,874. There was no increase in the property tax base - $4.7 billion.
Link to 25% of the year summary.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thoughts about the Hickory City Council meeting of October 21, 2014

Tonight the biggest item of interest was the "Friends" presentation of their Park at Union Square. They had drawing and spoke to it. The concept was very nice. I will put up a video of this ASAP.

Alderman Hank Guess asked about the parking issues. 18 (or 19 -- off the top of my head) parking spaces will be lost because this park will be built in the Hickory Inc. owned lot behind Community One Bank to the west of Union Square. I did not understand what the City Manager was getting at when he said they will be added back at the Transportation Insight site. That site is full four blocks away.

(To Be Continued)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Retooling and Revamping







Saturday, October 18, 2014

Agenda about the City Council meeting of October 21, 2014

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, at the left of the page you will see the Agenda's and Minutes link you need to click. This will give you a choice of PDF files to upcoming and previous meetings.

You will find historic Agenda and Minutes links. 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.

City Website has changed - Here is a link to the City of Hickory Document Center:
  City Council Agenda - October 21, 2014



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Hound Notes: Budget Amendment  Item 3. To transfer $639,620 of Capital Reserve-Parking Fund and $211,685 of Appropriated General Fund Balance to the Capital Improvements line item.

The parking fund was used for the Transportation Insight Site to the tune of $639,620. Apparently there will never be a parking deck built in the City Core. Remember two weeks ago when I told you that I believed this was why they were expanding the definition of Downtown footprint all of the sudden. Right on Cue. 





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Invocation by Rev. David Roberts II, Pastor Morningside First Baptist Church

Special Presentations
A. Friends of Hickory

Persons Requesting to Be Heard
A. Mr. Jim Bright, Tarheel Challenge Academy


Consent Agenda:
A. Approval of a Proclamation for Extra Mile Day, November 1, 2014

B. Acknowledge Receipt and Addition of an A-6E Cockpit to the National Naval Aviation Museum Standard Loan Agreement. - The City of Hickory/Hickory Regional Airport has on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum (NNAM) certain retired aircraft and artifacts located at the Hickory Regional Airport and on display by the Hickory Aviation Museum. The Hickory Regional Airport has participated in, and has had on loan property from the NNAM for over fifteen years. The Hickory Aviation Museum has received an A-6E Cockpit to add to its display at the Hickory Regional Airport from the Department of Navy and it is now being added to the City’s loan agreement with the Navy. Staff recommends the acknowledgement of receipt and addition of an A-6E Cockpit to the current loan agreement with the National Naval Aviation Museum.

C. Approval of a Lease Agreement for Property Located at 304 3rd Street SW, Hickory to Ronald Andrew Jones and Jennie Nicole Frye. - Hickory Police Department purchased and renovated the property at 304 3rd Street SW Hickory. The property has three bedrooms, two baths, stove, refrigerator, and microwave. Hickory Police Department requests leasing the property to Ronald Andrew Jones and Jennie Nicole Frye in the amount of $600 per month, beginning October 1, 2014. The tenant will be responsible for all utilities.

D. 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 October 2, 2014:
The applicant, Nolan Jerome Carlton, is being recommended for approval for first-time homebuyer’s assistance to purchase a house located at 820 5th Avenue SW, Hickory. He has requested $10,000 for assistance with down payment and closing costs. The First-Time Homebuyers Assistance Loan is zero interest, no payments and repaid upon sale, refinance, or payoff of first mortgage. Funds are budgeted for these items through the City of Hickory’s former Rental Rehabilitation Program income received in FY 2012 and/or program income received through the City of Hickory’s Community Development Block Grant Program. The Citizens’ Advisory Committee recommends approval of the request.

E. Call for Public Hearing – for Consideration of Closing a Portion of 15th Street NW.


F. Call for Public Hearing – for Consideration of Amending Chapter 24 of the Hickory Code of Ordinance.

G. Special Events/Activities Application for Crawdads Halloween Party, Megan Meade, Director of Community Relations and Events, Hickory Crawdads, L.P. Frans Stadium, Thursday, October 30, 2014 7:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

H. Approve Submittal of a Grant Application to the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center – New Electric Vehicle Service Equipment Charging Station on Union Square. - Staff requests approval to submit an application for a grant award through the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center for the purchase of materials, and installation utilizing City forces, for the installation of one electric vehicle service equipment charging station on Union Square. The station will be accessible and open for use to the general public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This grant qualifies for an 80/20 reimbursement on funds upon completion of the eligible project. Eighty percent of the completed project cost would be reimbursed by Clean Fuel Advanced Technology and
twenty percent of the project cost must be committed by the City. Estimated project cost for the project is $7,000, with the City’s twenty percent being $1,400. Funds are available in the FY 2014/2015 annual budget.

I. Budget Ordinance Amendment Number 8.
1. To budget $320 from Mountain Recycling in the Fire Departments-Departmental Supplies line item. These funds were received from the sale of scrap metal for unserviceable air cylinders, oil filters, etc. to the recycling center.
2. To budget $4,068 of proceeds from the Lyerly property real estate closing at 11,17,21,and 27 3rd St. SE in the Library’s Departmental Supplies line item. Funds will be used for furniture in a new seating area at the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library.
3. To transfer $639,620 of Capital Reserve-Parking Fund and $211,685 of Appropriated General Fund Balance to the Capital Improvements line item. This budget amendment is needed to reimburse Old Hickory Mill Holdings (OHM) for construction of a public parking lot, for lane widening and for the addition of a turn lane associated with this project.

J. Approval of a Deed of Easement and an Abandonment of an Easement for the Relocation of a City of Hickory Waterline at the FedEx Facility Located at 1936 Amity Street, Newton. - Approximately six or seven years ago, Scannell Properties #105, LLC constructed the FedEx Facility located at 1936 Amity Street, Newton, North Carolina. The new ownership entity of the property, PIRET (Amity Street) Holdings LLC (PIRET), now desires to expand the facility. The building’s expansion will require relocating an existing City of Hickory waterline because the expansion will cover the existing waterline preventing the City from accessing it for maintenance and repairs. PIRET has requested the City of Hickory to relocate the existing waterline. Staff requests Council accept the deed of easement and abandonment of an easement for the relocation of a City-owned waterline at the FedEx Facility located at 1936 Amity Street, Newton, North Carolina.


Informational Item
A. Report of Mayor Wright’s travel to North Carolina League of Municipalities General Government Legislative Action Committee Meeting, September 23, 2014 (Mileage Reimbursement $192.64)

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Audit Report
2. Financial Report

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Boost or Bust Hickory

Dr. Inglefield and I were at the Green Park association meeting Monday night. I made a miscalculation in my figures, compounding instead of amortizing the numbers in a comment I made, but it is a fact that when interest rates rise people associated with Hickory will pay more taxes to pay off these proposed bonds.

I reverse engineered the (amortization) numbers the city has been willing to put forth and came up with an Interest rate of a little less than 4.5% - ($21 million on $40 million debt over 20 years) - that is conservative and fair compared to the current rate of around 3%, but traditional long term interest rates have been around 6%. I made a misstatement in calculation at the meeting last night and last week (I apologize). Problem is that no one with the city has put out an actual payback schedule and they should have. Why is anyone having to calculate this? I know most aren't interested, but it is relevant.

We are currently at historical lows. Interest rates are going to rise and when they do the issuance of bonds WILL cost more money. As it stands now this will cost around $3 million per year for 20 years. At 6% that goes to around $3.5 million per year.

I have been to several meetings and watched several presentations. The City manager and others have stated that Hickory Inc. will go after this money in 4 tranches. If this passes on November 4th, Hickory Inc. is likely to start with the issuance of these bonds in 2016 and then follow in 2018, 2020, and 2022... and each time they issue these bonds, they will (their numbers) raise the property tax rate by 2-cents that year. That means 2016 - 52¢. 2018 - 54¢. 2020 - 56¢, 2022 - 58¢. That means that over the next 8 years that you will be paying 16% more in property taxes. Also, to remain revenue neutral, if property values have fallen by 8%, then you are going to have to pay 8% more starting next year, so that Catawba County and Hickory can maintain current revenues.

Also, the meetings I have been to prior to last night, the presenters presented the projects as this is what they are. Last night, we were told that these were conceptual ideas. That made me think of Nancy Pelosi telling us that we needed to pass it before we know what's in it. Pass this $61 million open credit card to us and we'll get back to you on the details.

More along that mentality was when I asked about the first $10 million to be issued. I asked about how those monies will be weighted. What percentage will be directed towards what they define as Business Park? and what percentage towards sidewalk/street infrastructure. Will it be 62.5%/37.5% like the referendums are split or could all the money go to one or the other. I was told that would be determined once this is passed.

The people of Hickory are voting upon two referendums, one for (Loosely defined) Business Park expansion and the other for (Loosely defined) Sidewalk and Street Infrastructure. These bond referendums are so vaguely worded that it is hard to pin down what money can be spent on -- and I'm not talking minutia. I'm talking Projects.

That is just the financial/numbers part of this whole thing. I'm not a salesman or a marketer, but I sure do know a sales pitch versus fiduciary responsibility towards the people you are supposed to represent. It is a hard sales pitch with very few facts and figures related to Economic Impact and real costs.

They tell you for the average person this is only $10 per month. No, this is $120 per year more than what you are already paying for a person in a $150,000 house ($750 becomes $870). Your business building assessed at $500,000 that will be $400 more ($2900) more or $1 million building $800 more ($5800). Hey that's just City of Hickory taxes. You know you double that when you pay Catawba County taxes also. This is on top of all the taxes you are already paying. So, it sure seems that you better know what is happening here and what the return on investment will be.

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There were very few people at the Green Park meeting. Besides 3 council members, there were I believe nine people in the room. Last week at Hartzell Church in Ridgeview, there were around 50 people in attendance and 2 Council members.

The people in Ridgeview were completely against this proposal, because they say it does nothing to enhance their community, but they are expected to help foot the bill. They were telling the Hickory Inc. folks, 'we're talking two different languages.' Hickory Inc. folks said this is for everyone and they were told that 'the people from the Ridgeview area are not welcomed on Union Square and they won't be welcomed on the walking trails.' They laughed when they were told they could go to the lake front park and walk the Riverwalk... and unfortunately they are telling the truth and that is embarrassing here in freakin 2014.

Look where you see the Bust, I mean Boost, signs are... same ole, same ole. They move forward, but nothing changes.

There was a couple last night that said they wanted this. They moved to Green Park and they like to walk Downtown. The lady is in Real Estate. The husband said, 'what is going to be the cost if we don't do this.' Hello, None of this is going to touch Green Park. Hello, Drive up and down the one way pairs over there, out towards Long View and on 70 going towards Hildebran. If we do nothing there (like for the past generation) what is that going to look like when we get these walking trails done?

I think there does need to be investment in Hickory. I'm not automatically against Hickory Inc. proposals. They need to invest in all the quadrants, if they expect everyone to pay, and they need to be more specific about what the projects are and what their intentions are and be honest about the money. "The Sails" started at $285,000 went to $420,000 and then to (what they will admit to) $500,000 in a matter of months. What will prevent us from revisiting that scenario? The same people are in charge.

The 10,000 pound elephant in the room is Trust. If one person doesn't trust you, then that's on them. If dozens of people don't trust you, then its time for some self-reflection. If thousands of people don't trust you, then "Houston, we have a problem." 

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Every one of the cities that Hickory Inc. visited and have touted has a Business Improvement District Tax. That is where there is a local special assessment in specific areas and those monies are pumped back into those areas, but Hickory's Downtown has refused that and that is on them, not the people down Huffman Cove Road or Spring's Road or Highland or Westmont or Catawba Springs or wherever.

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I differ from the Hickory Incsters, in that I don't think our problems are as much related to infrastructure as mindset. Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh, Wilmington are all thriving and it is because they are open idea/accepting communities. I went to college in both Wilmington and Charlotte. In Hickory they shut down Oktoberfest, at a time, when in the communities above they just start cranking. People that have the good time they do in Asheville would be harassed in Hickory. In Hickory they want to roll up the sidewalks after dark. They want to tell you what you can do, where and when you can do it.

These communities aren't top-down communities. I hate to say that I regret moving back here after graduating from UNC-Wilmington, but I wanted to be near my family and Hickory has changed (for the worse) in ways that I can't really relay to people who haven't been here like I have the past 48 years. I want you to remember that I was in that coveted demo when I started speaking up. I saw the issues and was that lone person crying in the wilderness.

I talk to young people and the vast majority aren't comfortable around here and it doesn't have anything to do with sidewalks... and yes there are exceptions to every rule so I'm not saying everyone.

Do I hope Hickory will change? YES... Do I want it to change? Obviously. Do I think Hickory will change? Not for at least a generation. I wouldn't be saying this, especially when I know there are people out there who will not tolerate my stance... I can accept their stance... they will not accept mine.

Come November 4th, if the bond referendum passes, the Incsters will be popping Champagne corks celebrating another victory and on the 5th they'll be looking towards the next conquest. On the other hand, if the bond referendum fails, those who don't support it won't be celebrating. They'll have to face the local Powers That Be and they know that something does need to be done and they will once again ask for a seat at the table. Will they ever get that seat at the table?

Most people try to hide their expressions... like they are in a poker match or something. I like being upfront and laying it out. I'm at a point where I've basically decided to give up. I don't see anything improving except for a select few and the people who do the bidding for them. I'm overwhelmed with survival and have come to the realization that the rat race is something I don't want any part of. You only live once and it ain't forever. I think there are many more people out here like me than most care to admit. We've got nothing to lose and many of the Baby Busters don't seem to care. They love their raw power. That doesn't bode well for the future.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior - Dr. Jody Inglefield

Hound Notes: This is out there now... Dr. Jody Inglefield submitted this to the Hickory Daily Record a couple of days ago in response to the Mayor's guest column supporting the Bond/Property Tax Referendum on the ballot November 4th. It is more than fair to call this a property tax referendum, because in Hickory Inc.'s own words, "They will have to raise the property tax in Hickory to pay the money back."

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior

"Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior" is a true statement I heard from Chuck Lovelace, the executive director of the Morehead-Cain Scholarship when I served as interviewer for the scholarship program. When I read the column by Mayor Rudy Wright a couple of weeks ago that the bond referendum would help job growth I had my doubts, but when the Mayor stated "you have my word" I began to chuckle.

The image of Hickory's City Council "hunkered down" in a fox hole for the past 15 years, is the image that should stick in everyone's mind. When we needed true leadership during this last decade, or I should say "lost decade", instead we had City leadership cowering in a pit that they just keep digging. Their only concern is protecting themselves and the interests of their families and insider friends.

The loss of young families accelerated at the same time our city promoted this community as a retirement Mecca. Obviously this has not boosted the economy or brought the promised jobs. Retired elderly, may eat out occasionally, but fixed incomes contribute little to the growth of jobs in Hickory.

Poor judgment and lack of courage to do what was needed to bring jobs to Hickory, by our City Council "hunkered down" and floundering, is what this Council has been all about. "Trust me, you have my word" are not words that inspire or comfort the public, when we have witnessed the kind of abuse that has gone on with the downtown city "parking" fund and other funds in Hickory.

The arrogant, secretive, entrenched nature of this City Council should frighten the citizens of Hickory, unfortunately most people are too busy struggling to get by, they don't have time to pay attention to the inner workings and backroom deals of our local politicians. They can't fathom the subversive actions of this Council and some of the tactics we have seen from City staff.

Who cares that the Sails project went grossly over budget, we like the Sails? Who cares that the music and arts community had little input into the design? We will never know what we could have had in that location with some real public-private planning. The "we know what is best for you" attitude that marginalizes criticism should motivate all of us to participate in the process, but if you are not a "yes" man (or woman) you won't be at the discussion table, and certainly not in the back rooms of City Hall where the real decisions are made in private.

Now City Council wants Hickory to be like Greenville, S.C. where the natural beauty of the riverside with its waterfalls was harnessed to develop a vibrant downtown -- that is where the Sails on the Square idea came from, although the design in Greenville is functional, not impractical. Of course Greenville also has BMW and Michelin, these came first and are the actual reason for their success. They have the money for such projects. The plan is to improve the "sidewalks along the railroad tracks," their words not mine, to "bring jobs". Is this a viable strategy?

This referendum money will be, as the Mayor subconsciously admits, a "giant cookie jar" for the insiders who know how to manipulate the system. The rest of us have to pay for our own improvements on our property.

Boost Hickory analogizing this referendum with the building of the Catawba Valley Medical Center is ridiculous. Healthcare is a financial engine for our region and is one of the biggest employers in the area. These comparisons reveal the disconnect between the struggling families in Hickory and the wealthy families always handpicked for these committees to rubber stamp the City Government's wish list.

The track record of the Mayor and his buddies is not well known due to the excellent public relations the city enjoys with the local media, that refuse to ask the tough questions for fear of untold consequences. Our parks and recreational facilities have not been fully funded and this is what the younger generations need. The overall physical health in this community leaves a lot to be desired.

Friends, Boost, Innovate, Inspiring are all terms for the same insiders. The real item that should be on the referendum this November is term limits for the Mayor and City Council. I know this all sounds vaguely familiar, it was just a year ago I ran for Mayor against this Hickory Inc. machine and lost. For a refresher on these issues I have raised, now and in the past, visit the Hickory Hound blogspot and check out my platform for a 21st Century Hickory. Vote NO against this referendum with its tax increases and lack of direction. Hickory you deserve better.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of October 7, 2014

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 October 7, 2014

Thoughts about the Hickory City Council meeting of October 7, 2014 




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 The Hound's Notes:

You can read my thoughts in the links above. Good to see Attorney Crone recuse himself because there might be an appearance of conflict. That is the thought process that should take place. The integrity of governance depends upon such a mindset.

The Mayor talks about pursuing the $900,000 in relation to the Cloninger Mill park. The rest of the Council really didn't seem to want to travel down that road. It seemed as though they know that option is no longer on the table.

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Special Presentations
A. Proclamation for Fire Prevention Week October 5-11, 2014
B. Proclamation for National Friends of Libraries Week, October 19-25, 2014, presented to Alice Spuller, President of Friends of Hickory Public Library, Patrick Beaver Memorial Library and Billy Sudderth, President of Friends of Hickory Public Library, Ridgeview Branch Library.
C. Lou Berry, President of the North Carolina APWA Solid Waste Division, will Recognize Sherman Stinson, Public Services, for the Herman Drake Award


Persons Requesting to Be Heard
A. Larry Pope - (Per Hickory Inc.) - addressed Council about two items. He first than ked Public Services Director Mr. Chuck Hansen, for his assistance on several occasions when he has contacted the City with concerns that needed to be addressed. He also discussed the need for either enforcement or revision of the Code of Ordinance dealing with snow removal on the City’s sidewalks.


B. JD Ross  - addressed Council on behalf of the Old Lenoir Road Business Association. He updated Council on what the Association is doing. They have been working to attract attention to their district, and have an event planned for Saturday, October 18th, “The Artistic Revival”, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The Association, along with Jeff Hale, have worked a lot on this event. The vision for this district is to become a center for Arts, Music and Food. He compared their vision to what other cities have done like Charlotte. He had flyers available for citizens, and the information was shared on the City’s Facebook page. The event is a family friendly event, which is open to the public. The Hickory Music Factory is coordinating music with 10-12 musicians playing throughout the day. There will be over 50 artist displaying their work, with tents setup inside and outside. There will also be onsite food vendors. The event will take place behind the strip center where the antique store is located, the former location of Plum Pretty Consignment Store. Around back there is loading bays and an open field where the event will setup with tents and vendors, and inside the warehouse space will be the showcase of the artist. Ten percent of the proceeds from the food or art sales will be donated to the Hickory Soup Kitchen and to the Hickory Music Factory. This event is a great opportunity to give back to the community and also to make people aware of the businesses located in the Old Lenoir Road area, a good place to be, a good place for business owners, and a good place for music and food. He invited everyone to attend. He advised that there is also a Facebook page for the Old Lenoir Road Business Association, and an event page on Facebook also contains more information about the musicians, and vendors.

Alderman Seaver commented that he had invited all of his Facebook friends to that event.

Consent Agenda
Item L removed from the Consent Agenda by Attorney Crone - Attorney Crone said there may be an appearance of conflict due to his firms has merged with the firm making the request -- First Lawyers LLC. Council approved the item and Attorney Crone returned afterward to reassume his seat.


L. Approval of a Landscape Grant for Non-Residential Property Owned by First Lawyers, LLC Located at 858 2nd Street NE in the Amount of $2,500. - City Council created the Community Appearance Grant program in 1999 to provide economic incentives for property owners to improve the general appearance of their property. The Community Appearance Commission reviews applications for the grant program and forwards a recommendation of approval or denial to City Council. The grants are designed as a reimbursement grant in which the City of Hickory will match the applicant on a 50/50 basis. The maximum grant amount from the City of Hickory is $2,500. The applicant, First Lawyers, LLC, has provided two bids for the removal of two existing hard surfaced areas, which are to be replaced with brick sidewalks and landscaping beds. The bids quoted $5,890 and $5,955, qualifies for the full $2,500 grant. The applicant further requests the terms of the grant contract be extended until June 1, 2015. This extension is being requested in an effort to ensure the landscape improvements are not damaged while interior and exterior renovations to the building are completed. The Community Appearance Commission unanimously voted, at their September 22, 2014 regular meeting, to recommend funding of the requested grant in the amount of $2,500.

Informational Item
A. MAB Acquisitions LLC - After a public hearing on March 18, 2014, on April 4, 2014 City Council entered into an Economic Development Agreement for purchase and sell of real property with MAB, with the intent to sell to MAB 10.099 acres of City owned property at the intersection of HWY 127 and Cloninger Mill Road for the price of $900,000. The agreement included a 120 day inspection period which was extended to September 26, 2014 by City Council on July 15th due to a delay in the city removing debris from the property. MAB agreed to develop the property as a grocery anchored shopping center with stipulations on its development as approved by council (Exhibit C of EDA). On September 29th staff received a letter from the attorney representing MAB indicating they would not acquire the property and terminating the EDA.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. OHM Holdings LLC Parking Lot Agreement - N.C.G.S. 160A-458.3 permits a city to engage in downtown development projects consisting of public and private facilities if the City Council finds the project will have a significant impact on the revitalization of the central business district, as defined by the Council. The statute permits a city to enter into a binding contract with a private developer to acquire, construct, own, and operate the downtown development project or specific facilities within such a project.

General Comments - (per Hickory Inc.)
Alderwoman Patton thanked Hickory Police Department and Catawba County Sheriff’s Department for their assistance for the Carolina Cycle Challenge. They did a fantastic job, it went very smoothly, and she had heard nothing but good things from that. A good community event.

Alderman Zagaroli commented that there was 700 participants, and 13 restaurants that donated
food, a super successful day.

Mayor Wright commented that he saw dads, and moms hooking up the trailers. No casualties
and nobody got hurt.

Alderman Guess commented on CVCC and the Furniture Academy, a tremendous asset to Hickory and the entire community, a huge success, and we look forward to seeing what comes out of that.

Alderman Guess discussed the Catawba Furniture Academy program that CVCC has. Students can attend to learn the skills to manufacture furniture. This is the first one of its kind in the State. It is
a huge opportunity for people who want to get back into that area of manufacturing to learn a craft and skill. It goes along with jobs, education and building population, and all of the things that we are trying to do in Hickory. He commended Dr. Hinshaw and Staff, and the vision that they have had to bring that to our area.

Mayor Wright commented that about every four months they will graduate 38. Every person that
successfully completes the program and graduates will have a job. The partner companies include Lee Industries, Vanguard, Century Furniture, Sherrill and Lexington. They are not only funding this, but they also provide the qualified instructors, so at least 38 people every four months are getting a job doing something that otherwise they would not have known how to do. It is a wonderful thing.

Alderman Seave
r recommended attending the Furniture Well Crafted exhibit at the Science Center.

Alderman Zagaroli stated that the chair design contest is coming up. The judging will take place November 4th, at 10:00 a.m. There will be 20 participants in that, and a reception will follow on November 5th. They hope for this to be an annual event. There are 20 interesting manufacturers presenting chairs. Communications Director Mandy Pitts commented that a lot of them would be out on the Hickory Well Crafted site, and hopefully get Furniture Today, and some others.

Mayor Wright advised that the dedication ceremony was held today announcing the Health Science Center for Lenoir-Rhyne University located between the Old Hollar Mill and the Old Moretz Mill. It is a partnership between economic development corporation, Catawba Valley Medical Center, Frye, Hickory and Catawba County. They will be doing advanced degrees in nursing and PHD’s in various medical fields. The jobs that will be coming out of that will be
wonderful as well.

Alderman Seaver commented that homecoming with Circle “K” at Lenoir-Rhyne, which is a sponsored Youth Program of Kiwanis, they put together over 9,800 meals this past weekend, in a two hour period, for the kids backpack program for Safe Harbor. Homecoming at Lenoir - Rhyne, Appalachian, and Oktoberfest, there is a lot going on in this area.

Mayor Wright commented also the golf tournament, Greater Hickory Classic presented by KIA.  The exposure that the City gets through golf magazines , is wonderful, as well as ads in the Golf Channel. He commented that we need to have people attend. The golfers like to have people watching them play. It is fun, these are legends, and some of the participants will even joke with you while walking down the fairway. He advised if you need tickets call him, and he would see if he could get some tickets. Our community is wonderful, resilient, and we have to keep making good things happen.

Alderman Seaver stated that there are a lot of good programs by the Boost Hickory group on the upcoming bond referendum. He encouraged citizens to attend meetings and to get educated about that.