This newsletter is about the Hickory City Council meeting that I attended this past week. City council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each Month in the Council Chambers of the Julian Whitener building.
At the bottom right of this page under main information links is a Hickory's Local Government link. If you click on that link, it takes you to our city’s website, at the bottom of the page you will see the future dates for meetings scheduled for this year.
At the top of the page, if you click on the “Documents” link, 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.
Here is a summary of the agenda of the 2/3/2009 meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below.
Invocation by Rev. Pat Pearce, Retired from First Baptist Church
Several Boy Scout groups attended tonights meeting from the Church of God, St. Aloyisius, St. Lukes, Church of Ascension. The Hound is happy to see this kind of participation and believes that the city is served well when youth are brought into the fold at a young age. The future of our city may well have been in attendance tonight. I only wish that we would see this along with other civic organizations more often. Maybe the city should promote this idea?
A. Call for Special Meeting – Council-Staff Planning Meeting to be Held at the Catholic Conference Center on 2/24/ 2009 and 2/25/2009 at 3pm
B. Call for Public Hearing – Voluntary Contiguous Annexation of the Property of amp Creek Home Builders Located at 1938 Wallace Dairy Road and Two Vacant Tracts to the East (Authorize Public Hearing for 2/17/2009)
C. Approve Future Annexation Agreement From Roman & Victoria Procop for Property Located in Hickory Woods at 2615 36th Avenue Court, NE - requested to be connected to the City of Hickory’s water and sewer system without being annexed into the City limits and agree to be annexed in the future when the City finds it economically feasible.
D. Budget Ordinance Amendment No. 12 - To budget $6,579 of Parks and Recreation Department donations in the Parks and Recreation Special Events and Supplies line items - Donations are for the annual Easter Egg Hunt and for Track and Field supplies. To budget an $18,265 donation to the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library from the Lyerly Foundation Trust to help pay for the second self-check system, library brochures, senior outreach audio visual materials and replacement of dvd/cd security cases.
To transfer a total of $21,000 of Contingency. $18,000 is needed for the purchase and installation of new T-8 lighting throughout the Public Services facility. $3,000 is needed for a 2-year extended roofing warranty package for the main offices and shop areas rooflines at the Public Services facility. Transfer $880 from the Engineering Department to the Stormwater Fund - provides the balance of funds needed to pay Jewell Engineering Consultants ($1,985.71).
E. Grant Project Ordinance Amendment No. 6 - To decrease the Federal revenue-2008 Entitlement Block Grant by $19 and decrease the Community Development housing rehab expenditure line item by $19. The $19 decrease in revenues and expenditures will bring the City’s computer system software back in line with the Housing and Urban Development IDIS grant software.
New Business - Public Hearings:
Resolution and Order for Petition Filed by Attorney Steve Austin on Behalf of Timothy D. and Teresa P. Lail to Close a Portion of Riverside Drive Extension That Intersects With Lakeshore Lane - On 12/4/2008, a representative submitted a petition to close a portion of Riverside Drive Extension that intersects with Lakeshore Lane. This portion of right-of-way is no longer necessary for public use and appears that its closing is not contrary to public interest. It is recommended that the City retain a 25’ easement for any existing water and sewer utilities. Chuck Hansen addressed this issue. He stated that they property is outside of the city limits, but inside of the city's ETJ (Extended Territorial Jurisdiction). Unanimously Approved
New Business - Departmental Reports: Assistant to the City Manager Mike Bennett addressed the council in 5 specific areas and some comments on each.
1) Economic Growth and Transportation - Operation No Vacancy is an initiative set up to encourage entities to use vacant buildings. 2 Brownfield Grants that have been awarded to the city are under the review of a advisory group that is looking at 8 priority sites including the old Piedmont Wagon Building. Mr. Bennett addressed development at Fairgrove Business Park. He also addressed the redeveloped website. As far as transportation he addressed McDonald Parkway and 13th ave SE. He also addressed the issues involving the Clement Blvd project.
2) Natural Environment and Quality of Life - Striving to protect the quality and environment of Lake Hickory through the NorthEast Wastewater and Sewer project along with the Cripple Creek project. Code Enforcement fully moved to the Police Department and the staff has received full training on policies and procedures.
3) Operational Excellence - continue to reengineer service delivery, such as with radio meter readers to check water usage. Will cut down on labor hours. The city is also using compressed natural gas vehicles for some transportation needs, such as with the meter readers.
4) Vision and Leadership - 22 member Catawba River Coalition based on the interbasin water transfer and application issue.
5)Communication and Marketing - The new interactive website has received good reviews and cut down on phone calls to the city. City uses website, along with City Snippets, and Communication releases to broaden its communication with the Public. Working on an update of the city services guide. Over 3,000 hits to the new website, which constitutes over 30% more usage of the Hickory.gov website.
Council Questions: Ms. Hoyle asked about the decreased calls and Mr. Bennett said he believed that it could possibly be due to the Frequently Asked Questions section of the website. Mrs. Fox asked about colored brochures that have been released that discuss successes of the Hickory development. The Mayor asked about burying of lines. Chuck Hanson addressed what lines were feasible to bury and which were not. (Paraphrasing) He said the Embarq lines are feasible, but the Duke power lines are not at this time.
The Hound Knew that this was going to be a mundane meeting going in, but it still had some interesting points in this presentation. I believe that this interactive website will be vital to Hickory's development moving forward into the city's future.
We have to get this city moving towards a younger demographic. That doesn't mean that we are going to set the codgers out to graze in the pastures, but we cannot afford to let them hold us back. The future is ours and we will either grab ahold of it or we will see the risk averse older generation run over us and run this community into the ground. They could make it impossible to modernize this city, if we aren't more aggressive about demanding modernization.
Look at this website and all that it can do to make government more accessible, streamlined, efficient, and cost effective. Times change and we must embrace it. We cannot yield to those who are afraid of that change. We cannot run this city by the least common denominator. We must lift people up, not pull people down.
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