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 6/16/2009 meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below.
Invocation by Rev. Cindy Jordan of Spiritual Care Catawba Valley Medical Center
A. Presentation of Retiring Members of Volunteer Boards and Commissions - The mayor made these presentations
B. Presentation and Update of the “Best Tennis Town USA” Competition by Mandy Pitts, Communications Director - Mandy Pitts Presented, She wants you to go vote. Tennis Town USA presentation / Tennis Town USA site (go vote).
C. Mandy Pitts, Communications Director to Present to City Council a Medallion Received From the National Civic League During the 60th All-America City Awards in June. Mandy said that Hickory is one of very few cities that have been award this status more than once.
The Hound says, I like Tennis and I used to play informally when I was younger. Bjorn Borg was my favorite. I have never been one to get excited about these things, but I do understand their purpose and I think you should go vote for the Tennis Town title. We've had some pretty dog-gone good state championship tennis teams in this region. I think we should be happy to receive recognition and I think no one should be subversive to these causes. I have never intended subversion towards these causes. Go find a quote where I have been subversive towards these causes and wanted us to lose at any of this.
What I have said, and meant, is that you cannot build a city on these awards. The awards are symbols and we have to have substance. Just because I can't be enthralled in supporting the party line, does not mean I am against it. I want to see city officials support some of my, and other citizen's, causes. Just because ideas aren't proposed in the Whitener building, doesn't mean they are bad. The City doesn't have to be giddy with joy over my issues either, but we all need to separate the politics from the policy.
Acceptance of Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Funds in the Amount of $198,536 for the Purchase of Operations Equipment - The City of Hickory and Catawba County have received notification to receive a combined allocation of $266,031 under the 2009 Recovery Justice Assistance Grant Program. These funds are based on Uniform Crime Reports. The Hickory Police Department is eligible for a direct award of $198,536 with no match required and has agreed to serve as the lead agency in the grant application process. The Hickory PoliceDepartment wishes to use the grant funds to enhance current operations by purchasing a Sky Tower, the addition of twopart-time Telecommunicators, the purchase of two Polilight Flare and a video analysis system along with improvements to the firing range.
Proclamations - Declaring the Week of August 1 – 7, 2009 as “International Clown Week”
Resolution - Petition of Adrian and Arabela Balan to Close 1st Street, NW Between 36th and 37th Avenues, NW (Authorize Public Hearing for August 18, 2009)
Accepting Catawba County Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan Update - is a 3-year update to the 10-year Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan. This plan has been approved by Catawba County and it requires each unit of the local government to develop a 3-year update to the 10-year plan. The City of Hickory Solid Waste Division participated in the development of this plan.
Acceptance of Grant From North Carolina Department of Energy and Natural Resources (NCDENR) for Pallet Recycling in the Amount of $20,000 - This is a Community Waste Reduction and Recycling Grant from NCDENR for procurement of a hook lift mechanism to be mounted on an existing truck and to purchase containers for pallet recycling. The grant requires a 20% match from the City. Effective October 1, 2009 the State of NC will ban the disposal of pallets from landfills and large generators of pallets will be required to recycle them. The City currently has a fee based system in place for construction material through our hook lift construction dumpster program and proposes to make this same service available to pallet generators. Pallets can be ground into mulch at either the County’s or City’s facilities. A used truck was procured in FY 2008-09 to mount the hook lift on and will also be used as a self contained leaf machine. Bulk pallet recycling by the City provides an outlet for our businesses as well as a revenue generator for the City. Having two hook lift trucks will enable the City to omit four part-time seasonal positions resulting in an approximate $20,000 annual savings. Total capital expenditures, not including the $20,000 grant are expected to be approximately $75,000 budgeted in FY 2009-10.
Renewal of Taxicab and Other Passenger Vehicles For Hire Franchises
Company (Taxicabs/Other Passenger Vehicles For Hire)
Select Car Service (0/1)
Yellow Cab (10/4)
Mile High Enterprises dba Hickory Hop (0/5)
Diamond Cab of Hickory (3/0)
A Chauffer 4U (0/1)
Annually, these companies apply for a renewal of their taxicab and other passenger vehicle for hire franchise. The fee for FY 2009-10 is $22.50 per vehicle. A total of $540 (24 vehicles) has been collected.
Approve Purchase of an Automated Side Loader Solid Waste Truck in the Amount of $231,662 - The purchase of this equipment is a “piggy back” bid with the City of Cary, NC. This truck is used for providing services to residential customers and servicing the City’s roll-out containers. They operate approximately 800-900 times a day and need to be replaced in five year intervals. The low bid for this equipment came from Amick Equipment at $109,303 (packer body) and Southern Truck Service at $122,359 (cab & chassis), totaling $231,662. This truck will replace Unit No. 3726 which has become costly to maintain.
Approve Purchase of Rear Loading Refuse Truck in the Amount of $198,464 -“piggy back” bid with the City of Raleigh, NC. The City uses this truck for collection of residential yard waste and junk and is used on a daily basis. The low bid for this truck is from Carolina Environmental Systems in the amount of $198,464 and will replace Truck No. 3518.
Approve Community Appearance Grant to Philip Schmitt for Property Located at 200 2nd Street, NW in the Amount of $1,211.59 - The proposed upgrade is to install awnings on all of the windows, which will be visible from both roads. The Community Appearance Grant guidelines allow for 25 percent of awning reimbursement. During the commission’s regular meeting on June 26, 2009, the commission unanimously recommended approval of this grant.
Approve Community Landscape Incentive Grant to Jane Moore, Owner of 1859 Café for Property Located at 443 2nd Avenue, SW in the Amount of $2,500 - for a Landscape Incentive Grant for property located at 443 2nd Avenue, SW. Ms. Moore proposes the removal of existing chain link fence between her property and her neighbors and to install a more decorative fence along with replacing trees, shrubs and landscape material. The Community Appearance Commission unanimously recommended this grant request during their June 22, 2009 regular meeting.
Amendment to Traffic Ordinance by Reducing the Speed Limit From 35 mph to 25 mph Along 38th Avenue, NE From the Intersection With Falling Creek Road to 6th Street, NE, 37th Avenue, NE From the Intersection With Falling Creek Road to the Intersection With 6th Street, NE, 36th Avenue, NE From the Intersection of Falling Creek Road to 5th Street Drive, NE, 5th Street, Drive, NE From the Intersection of 37th Avenue, NE to the Dead End, 6th Street, NE From the Intersection of 36th Avenue, NE to 38th Avenue, NE From the Intersection of 36th Avenue, NE to 37th Avenue, NE
Accept NC Governor’s Crime Commission Inter-Agency Gang Grant in the Amount of $135,629.31 - will pay for a crime analyst position. The funds requested for the first year of the grant are $135,629.31 with 75% funded by the NC Governor’s Crime Commission. A local match of 25% ($33,907.33) will be divided by the eight participating law enforcement agencies in the county. Each of the law enforcement agencies will split the cost of the match based on a population formula. The Crime Analyst will work in collaboration with the eight law enforcement agencies of Brookford, Maiden, Long View, Catawba County, Newton, Conover, Claremont, Catawba and Hickory and the HPD Gang of One Coordinator. The project’s primary focus will be to identify potential gang members and criminal offenses, which may be gang related in order to identify potential at-risk youth. In addition, it will unite a network of community resources; probation, law enforcement, schools, mental health services, employment agencies, community and faith based organization.
Approve Railroad/Highway Crossing License and Maintenance Agreement With Caldwell County Railroad Company (CCRC) Regarding the Clement Boulevard NW Extension Project in the Amount of $ 15,365 Annually - required for the CCRC to allow the City to construct a road across the existing railroad tracks for the Clement Boulevard NW Extension while accepting the expenses associated with the cost of maintenance and associated costs of gates and lights of CCRC’s eight other existing crossings in the City. The City’s costs will be seen overtime as improvements to the existing eight crossings along the CCRC rail line. Any Federal or State grants that CCRC receives associated with crossing improvements for the crossings in the City will be credited to the City’s cost of the crossing improvement. The City and CCRC will meet annually to discuss plans for future maintenance or improvements to crossings covered by this agreement. The estimated annual cost to maintain the track and road crossings for the existing eight and the new Clement Boulevard NW crossing is estimated at $21,020 for a 20 year period of which the City is already responsible for $5,655 annually. Therefore, it is estimated the new additional annual cost to be $15,365.
Approval of Citizens’ Advisory Committee Recommendations for Assistance Through the City of Hickory’s Housing Programs (N)
The following applicant is being recommended for approval for assistance under the City of Hickory’s First-Time Homebuyers Assistance Loan Program:
Pamela Y. Shade 226 3rd Avenue Court, SW Approved for up to $6,500
The following applicant is being recommended for approval for assistance under the City
of Hickory’s Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program:
Charlton Seaver 836 7th Avenue, SW Approved for up to $12,000
Approve Professional Services Agreement Supplement with Utility Advisor’s Network, Inc. to Perform Feasibility Assessment Required for Revenue Bond Sale Regarding the Northeast Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade (NEWWTP) in the Amount of $10,000 - The City is required to furnish a full Feasibility Assessment due to the City’s Public Utility System never selling Revenue Bonds. Due to the delays this project has faced, we are required to add the current year financial position in the model. This assessment will provide the Public Utility Department and the Finance Department with a clearly defined status of the financial strength of the Utility System and define the method of future financing capabilities. This supplement is at a substantially reduced fee due to staff negotiating the fees in-concert with ongoing work by Utility Advisor’s Network, Inc.
Approve Contract Amendment with Clark and Associates, Inc. Regarding the Cripple Creek Outfall Replacement Project - The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) has very specific criteria to ensure that each project meets the requirements established by the Federal Government for job creation, fair wages, Buy American Act and other criteria for job posting and record keeping. This Amendment is to ensure that the contract is in compliance with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Therefore, since the City has been approved for $1,938,000 in ARRA funds for the Cripple Creek Outfall Replacement Project, the original contract with Clark and Associates, Inc. needs to be amended to include all criteria. Clark and Associates, Inc. has already agreed to meet these criteria through the bid process and will result in no additional expense to the City nor will it extend the contract time.
Approve Contract Amendment with Hickory Sand Company, Inc. Regarding the Cripple Creek Outfall Replacement Project - The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) has very specific criteria to ensure that each project meets the requirements established by the Federal Government for job creation, fair wages, Buy American Act and other criteria for job posting and record keeping. This Amendment is to ensure that the contract is in compliance with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Therefore, since the City has been approved for $1,938,000 in ARRA funds for the Cripple Creek Outfall Replacement Project, the original contract with Hickory Sand Company, Inc. needs to be amended to include all criteria. Hickory Sand Company, Inc. has already agreed to meet these criteria through the bid process and will result in no additional expense to the City nor will it extend the contract time.
Distribution of Property From the George L. Lyerly, Jr. Trust - The Patrick Beaver Memorial Library is one of sixteen beneficiaries of the Will of George L. Lyerly, Jr. The library receives 4.5% undivided interest of any assets of the trust. There is property located on four contiguous lots located on 3rd Street, SE and efforts have failed to find a buyer. A previous appraisal of the property in 2006 and 2007 in the amount of $44,000 was made, but did not take into consideration the pedestrian overlay district. Therefore, should the property be sold “as is” and subject to the overlay, a significant discount from the appraised value would be considered. There has been an offer of $8,000 and Wachovia Bank is requesting the beneficiaries to declare their wishes of the sale of the property. Wachovia has presented the beneficiaries with two options and if the responses are not received by July 17, 2009 or if there is no consensus, Wachovia will proceed with distribution of the property. Staff requests Council to consider the second option to proceed with property distribution and to reject the offer of $8,000 for the sale of the property to Reggie Durhman.
Approve Agreement With the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) for a Congestion Management and Air Quality (CMAQ) Grant in the Amount of $2.5 Million (S) - This CMAQ Grant is for the replacement of obsolete traffic signal equipment, upgraded software and to bring isolated signals into the traffic control system. The NCDOT has approved the grant in the amount of $2.5 million for the upgrade of the master computer system and software that controls the traffic signal system as well as field controllers at intersections. By accepting this grant, the City’s Traffic Division will have more control to manage congestion, reduce delays and therefore, improve air quality. This will not update the City’s entire traffic signal system, but will address the majority of the major roadways. This is a 100% funded grant if plans, specifications and estimates are completed and turned into the NCDOT for their approval by August 29, 2009 and the amount is reduced to 80% DOT, 20% City match if not met by August 29, 2009. This is a reimbursement type project and the time frame for this project is one year for preconstruction requirements with a two year project completion date.
Appropriate a total of $535 of General Fund Balance and budget in the International Council line item. The International Council received $535 of Springfest Donations too late in the fiscal year to budget; therefore funds rolled into General Fund Balance.
Appropriate $4,142 of General Fund Balance and budget in the International Council line item. The International Council had $4,142 remaining in their expenditure line item in FY08-09 which rolled into the General Fund Balance at year end. Therefore an appropriation is necessary to budget the funds in the current fiscal year.
Decrease the Catawba County Library revenue line item by $3,867 and the Library's Natural Gas expenditure line item by $3,867. This is to reflect the projected Catawba County Revenue for FY09-10.
Appropriate a total of $8,994 of General Fund Balance and budget in the Library Department's Books line item ($3,994) and Departmental Supplies ($5,000) line item. The Library Foundation provided funds in FY08-09 to purchase library books and departmental supplies however; the balances on two purchase orders lapsed at year end and rolled into General Fund Balance.
Therefore an appropriation is necessary to budget the funds in the current fiscal year.
Re-appropriate a total of $3,291 of General Fund Balance and budget in the Library Department's Non-Asset Inventory line item. Funds were budgeted in FY08-09 for the purchase of a hand held RFID wand from SirsiDynix (self check equipment) however; staff postponed the purchase because a newer less expensive version is available this fiscal year.
Appropriate $6,301 of General Fund Balance to the City Clerk's Contracted Services line item. This transfer is to provide funds to pay for the Conservation Treatment for Minutes Books 1-3, 5-10, 11-A. Funds rolled into General Fund Balance at year end, therefore an appropriation is necessary.
Appropriate $403 of General Fund Balance and budget in the Police Department's Overtime and Holiday Pay line item. (T-7) A March payment of $403 was received from Catawba County Mental Health for a portion of an Officers time spent when accompanying involuntary commitment patients. Rolled over to 09-10 budget.
Appropriate $1,808 of General Fund Balance and budget in the Police Department's Overtime and Holiday Pay line item (T-7). A June payment of $1,808 was received from Catawba County Mental Health for a portion of an Officers time spent when accompanying involuntary commitment patients. . Rolled over to the 09-10 operational budget.
Transfer $45,000 of materials for storm drain maintenance and repair from the General Fund and budget in the Stormwater Fund.
Budget $314,000 of City of Claremont revenues in various Water and Sewer operational line items for the Wastewater System Operations Contract with the City of Claremont. The contract with the City of Claremont is to provide for operation maintenance and management of two wastewater treatment plant facilities and five collection lift stations in the City of Claremont. Claremont will be responsible for all Capital expenditures.
Transfer $37,761 from Water and Sewer Contingency to the Water and Sewer Capital Vehicles line item. This transfer is to pay for the purchase of two trucks to be used at the Claremont facility.
Grant Project Ordinance Amendment No. 1
Decrease a $7,550 transfer of General Fund Balance for funding the professional services of The Louis Berger Group, Inc. for the Grace Chapel/US 321 Connector project and increase Caldwell County Miscellaneous Revenue line item by $7,550. The NCDOT entered into a municipal agreement with Caldwell County to pay The Louis Berger Group, Inc. for limited subsurface exploration and analysis.
Items Removed from Consent Agenda - N, S, T-7 were removed from the agenda.
N - Alderman Seaver recused himself fro voting because his son was a party
S - Alderman Lail wanted clarification tthat it will cost the city $500,000, if the project is not completed within the timeline
T-7 - Alderman Lail wanted clarification on this issue
Report of Alderwoman Hoyle’s Travel to the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Spring Steering Committee Meeting in Palm Beach, FL From June 4 – 7, 2009; hotel - $331.17; airfare - $467.70; per diem - $128; mileage - $57.20; airline baggage fee - $30; shuttle - $40 The NCLM is to reimburse the City $400 pursuant to the League’s adopted budget regarding NLC Committee Meetings
New Business - Public Hearings
1. Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Funds in the Amount of $48,250 to be Approved and Awarded to the City of Hickory Police Department Hickory City Council previously approved the Police Department to file an application for this grant on June 15, 2009. The City of Hickory and Catawba County applied jointly for this grant based upon their Uniform Crime Reports. The City of Hickory is eligible for $48,250 and it is a no match grant. These JAG funds can be spent on virtually any purpose that benefits law enforcement. The Hickory Police Department plans to use these funds to enhance current operations within the department to include workout equipment, speed measuring devises, additional shotguns, tasers and tactical equipment. Unanimous Approval
2. Petition 09-05 – Rezoning of the Property Located at 2330 Springs Road, NE From R-5 Residential to NC-2 Neighborhood Core Commercial. This 0.52 acre property is located at 2330 Springs Road, NE and is owned by Tony Odell Lafone and Ruth Lafone Deitz. The property owners petitioned to have the property rezoned from R-5 Residential to NC-2 Neighborhood Core Commercial. The Hickory Future Land Use and Transportation Plan classifies the property as Primary Residential. The Land Development Code states that rezonings to NC-2 are inconsistent with the Neighborhood Core future land use classification. Given that there are commercial uses immediately to the north of the property, NC-1 zoned property across the street and the subject property is located along Springs Road, the uses allowed in the NC-2 district would be suitable for this property. The Hickory Regional Planning Commission on June 24, 2009 conducted a public hearing and voted unanimously in favor of the rezoning. Staff finds the request to be inconsistent with Hickory by Choice, but recommends approval. Alderman Meisner recused himself, because he appraised the property. Unanimous Approval
New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Quarterly Financial Report _Warren Wood went over the report of the City's last Quarter and included a report on the entire year (April, May, June). Mr. Wood stated that he didn't have all of the final numbers yet, they will be reported when the audit is presented in a couple of months. He gave a summary of Council approvals throughout the year. He stated that 08-09 started on the heals of the city rebuilding it's fund balance. For 3 years the city was able to put money away, but times slowed this year.
As of June 30th, the city has received 85% of budgeted revenue. The 5 year average shows that the city should be at 93%. The economic conditions have the city down about 8% from where they should be. The General Fund is $45 million - more than half of the city's budget. The expenditure side shows that the city has spent 94.16% and the 5-year cycle shows that the city normally has expended 94.76% by this time. That is slightly better. The good news is the city has a full year to ratchet down on spending in the upcoming year. The bottom line is that expenditures over revenues equal $3.7 million. The city will not end up with a $3.7million hole in the fund. There are more revenues to come in (sales tax, investment earnings, miscellaneous fund, and unfunded balance). We don't know where we will end up yet. We should know by August.
The city has received 89% of its water-sewer revenues for the year, compared to the 5 year average of 90%. Considering the drought restrictions he is pleased. On the expenditure side the revenues are at 89% compared to the 5-year average of 86.5%. The bottom line is a $335,000 surplus. He feels good about that.
The investment portfolio. They have $47 million invested. The City tries to keep close to a balance of 1/3 - 1/3 - 1/3. They have moved more money to long term. Can't do more because of cash flow. Property tax revenue grew by 1.36%. The last time we were in a recession (2001) it didn't really take hold until 02 and 03. If the trend continues, we will see losses next year or the year after. Last year, the city did $52 million in permitting. The year before they did twice that. It looks like the city will have half the growth in property tax revenues. We could see a flat line or loss in property tax revenue. That is a major source of revenue and they need to take action earlier.
Alder Fox asked about Business Licences (effects on Revenunue) - Wood stated that priviledge license revenue means about $1.2 million and most of it comes from Big Boxes (stores). It isn't a fair system. The state needs to look at it. The city is following what the state is going to do with that very closely.
Alder Lail said he was incredibly thankful that the state has kept numbers in Line.
The Hound says ding-ding-ding, we have a winner: As I have said all along, we have trouble on the horizon with our tax base. from my article two weeks ago, The Relevant Issue: 34,294 JOBS lost since July 2000 in the Unifour,
"The local governments have done an excellent job of keeping costs of services in order and taxes low, but unless we soon see a very drastic turnaround, taxes are going to have to be raised or services are going to have to be slashed. The recession means that we are going to see a reduction in sales tax revenues coming into local governmental coffers. Unemployed people do not spend money and also fewer people are coming to the area to buy furniture at local shops, as we have all seen in the past. We are also going to see less property tax revenue contributions from commercial and industrial properties, because so many companies have gone out of business and so many commercial properties are now sitting vacant. Yes, the local government has kept your tax rate low, but this ought to show you that they can't honestly tell you that they are going to be able to keep doing that."I never have stated this with glee. I have personally been very much effected by this city's malaise. We must start thinking outside of the box. On the radio the other morning, the mayor stated that he wanted people to come to him with ideas, but then he proceeded to begin putting qualifiers on what they should present to him. I understand his desire for risk-aversion and tangibility, but please do not limit our opportunities by demanding narrowly crafted specifics.
Innovation will come from out of nowhere. You can create an environment conducive to innovation, but you cannot force it. I agree that we can't take a scattered approach, but I truly believe that we cannot afford limit the scope of this function.
Maybe the city can foster some seed money towards invention and innovation in this community. We must change our momentum and the people's mindset. Get people to start thinking in new and innovative ways. Set up a contest, with rules, and a prize (say $10,000 and help in obtaining the patent) to anyone from the area, who can present to the City of Hickory an innovative project and have area businessmen mentor these people, vie to contract the people if they are worthy, help produce the project, and get it up and running. That sure seems like it might change the paradigm and get one or more ideas on the table.
Request to Address Council: John Henson addressed the council about the business license issue and he opposed to the renewal of the license for Gold and Silver Exchange. He hopes that the staff will recommend that the license not be renewed. He is glad to see that the police department has removed its sticker from the window and the company's wen page. He believes that the business has not been in conformity with the city code.
The Hound believes that these types of operations, along with pawn shops, need to surely be watched vigilantly during these hard times. We could see a lot of fencing taking place at these places if the operators are looking to make a quick buck. I'd just like to ask, why are these places always on the poorer side of town? I hate seeing the poor preyed upon.