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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of March 6, 2012

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 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.

Here is a summary of the agenda of the 2/21/2012 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.

Invocation by Rev. Jay Robison, Pastor, Viewmont Baptist Church - Shout Out to Harry Hipps

The Hound - A local Pastor gets in on the running joke of Hickory. The people of Hickory aren't a thankful lot... Water running, Good Roads, Emergency services keeping us safe, yada, yada, yada... We point out the things two or three things that aren't going so well instead of all of the things that are. As though Hickory's leadership is delivering the amazing miracle of running water, paved asphalt, and emergency service communications.

Sad to say that it is understandable when a local pastor doesn't understand the plight of the average ordinary citizens, belittling them, and choosing the side of government over the people, because we see it time and time again. It seems that we are looked upon as workhorses and cashcows by these ministers, instead of individuals who have hopes and dreams with desires towards fulfillment.

I hear the good words spoken during these invocations, such as constantly talking about "the least of these," and yet the actions never move us towards those words and the ministers do not seek to move us towards those words with anything other than lip service.

(It was brought to my attention by one of the Pastor's congregants that he felt I was being personal towards Pastor Robison. This was not meant as a personal attack on the Pastor. It is a criticism of those who diminish the legitimate concerns of people in the community who speak up. I removed the word constantly (as in constantly belittling), because I do have to admit that it could be misconstrued. I was not speaking of him personally in that context.)

Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Wright welcomed and introduced Boy Scouts from Troop 284 at Sandy Ridge Baptist Church, who were in attendance to work on their Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge.

Special Presentations:
A. “Life. Well Crafted.” Presentation - Members of the Business Development Committee and Communications Director/Brand Manager Mandy Pitts will present the branding and marketing presentation that will begin making its way to civic and business groups, schools, non-profits, and to any and all organizations that would like to learn more about how Hickory and its partners are moving forward with a strategy to boost economic development in our community.

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of March 6, 2012 - Addendum - Hickory Branding Initiative

B. Presentation of FY 2012-2013 Board and Commission Work Plans Board/Commission Presenter
1. Library Advisory Board - Ms. Kathy Ivey - Each board member will give at least 24 hours of volunteer time to the library annually. This will help library to offset the reduction in services due to staff shortages. This will also help board members get to know the library staff on a more personal level. The board will contribute at least one article to the Hickory daily record about the library, contribute. One article to the friends of the Library newsletter, speak to the neighborhood college classroom, and make at least one appearance on the first talk program on WHKY.

On the State level, the board will advocate for the library by attending Library day in Raleigh and by contacting state representatives about specific library related issues, will help the library without taxing existing library resources.

The library will set up a subcommittee to develop programs and other auxiliary activities in conjunction with the visit by author Nicholas Sparks at the library in September 2012. The board has pledged to keep the library technologically current in order to meet the needs of library users. There is no financial implication for this plan. Maher right stated that our library is consistently ranked at or near the top of libraries and in the state.

2. Citizens’ Advisory Committee - Mr. Todd Hefner -  Reviewing Block Grant Funds, North Carolina Housing Finance Agency Funds, and other Community Based Funding. Recommend Loan Applications related to the above to City Council. Trying to create affordable housing for the Green Park, Kenworth, Ridgeview, and West Hickory Neighborhoods. Groundbreaking will take place on June 1 in the Green Park area. Working with the WPCOG for affordable housing through First Time Homebuyer Program. Continue to investigate viable options to rehabilitating at Ridgeview area of 3rd Street Court Southwest and 8th Avenue Dr. SW.

3. Community Appearance Commission - Mr. Leroy Harris - -Requesting $52,300 1) Community Revitalization through community appearance ($30,000) and landscaping ($10,000) matching grants for aesthetic improvements. 2) Litter program for Saturday pick up ($10,000) augments the city's existing effort to clean up litter. 3) Tree City USA - Arbor Day Tree Celebration ($700) 4)Beautification awards ($100 for awards and certificates) - Adopt a Spot program. The commission is requesting an additional $1,000 this year that will be spent on a project of their choosing.

4. Community Relations Council - Mr. Edgar Hernandez - Overall plan costs $17,000. Maintain the grants program from the past, which assists private non-profits and public agencies ($12,000). Multi-Cultural event to be sponsored every year. Encourage City leaders to be educated on Human relations issues that can create better human relations in the city. Those given grants will be asked to partner with the CRC more.

5. Hickory International Council - Mr. Hani Nassar -8th time consecutive year he has presented before the City Council. 11 members represent 9 countries and a 5 person advisory board. Spoke about the annual Springfest/Unity Day at the SALT Block during the first week of May. PANGEA United Nations Conference held at Lenoir Rhyne on March 8 and 9, 2012. The budget for this event will be requested that $5000 for next year. Working in association with the Footcandle Film Society to show International Films. Community Conversations - Community Outreach at the Library and other high traffic areas. All area schools are represented at their meetings.

6. Hickory Regional Planning Commission - Mr. Brian Frazier - Implementation of  Hickory by Choice 2030 and the Land-Use Development plan. The planning commission seeks no funding. they have applied for $400,000 assessment grant for Brownfield funding and should find out sometime in late April or early May.

 7. Hickory Youth Council - Mr. Youssef Amrani - Comprised of 25 students from all of the area high school (public and private) Act as an advisory group to the City Council and liaisons to the various Boards and Commissions. Participate at State youth conference events.  Host Dialogue Circles - This year they will discuss Cyber Bullying and other social media. Promote community and general public knowledge in the hearts and minds of our youth. Requesting $3,600 for general uses, programs, and a possible Summer retreat. Touring various city departments within the city and $300 will pay for dinner for the members. Actively participate in the North Carolina youth Council in $2,200 will help with travel expenses.

8. Historic Preservation Commission - Mr. Zack Taylor - the budget is $15,100. Administer the historic preservation program. Review of applications for appropriateness. marketing for the historic preservation incentive grant program. Hope to implement a phased historic plaque program. Developing a historic preservation master plan. State grants that would help to do this would require a 40% match from local government.

9. Parks and Recreation Commission - Mr. Addison Fox - The First priority is to renovate and upgrade existing facilities. Second priority is to continue to enhance the cities efforts create greenways and trails in accordance with the 2005 greenways and trails Master plan. Number three recommend the development of the dog park within Hickory. Number four to pursue the Parks and Recreation committee recommendation of creating an aquatic facility within the city. That would serve the entire Hickory community. Support the development of the Cloninger Mill Park and its master site plan and the sandy pines Park plan. Support the development of an outdoor amphitheater at Henry Ford regional recreation Park.

10. Public Art Commission - Mr. David Baldwin - Mr. Baldwin stated that they have been doing maintenance and restoration on existing art pieces ($8,000). Whatever store the story sculpture at the library and the game structure and the base of the tower of miracles right here in downtown Hickory. They have added more benches to the collection of the art on the benches project. Their continuing efforts to work with members of the community to bring in some private funding to install some artwork at the baseball stadium. They are asking for a budget of $20,000 upcoming year. 5500 will be towards sculpture projects. In this year of they are looking to improve and create the art walk. This information will be on the Internet and in print brochures. They would like to add additional sculpture projects. The many of these come from artisans here in the community, and they will continue with phase 3 of the art on the bench project in the upcoming year.

11. Recycling Advisory Board - Mr. Andrew Ballentine - The Green Play cost will be $3000. This is provided to all third and fourth graders in Catawba County. The board will continue to promote information and education on recycling. The participation rate in the community is 79%. Alder Patton talked about encouraging the household hazardous waste program. Alder Fox asked about how they were coming along with the expansion to mixed paper. Mr. Ballantine said that the progression involves working with Republic with the expansion and retrofitting of their facility towards single stream recycling and this will many thanks to open up and be recycled at the curb.

12. Business Development Committee - Mr. Alan Jackson - The Business Development Plan for the upcoming year as presented by Alan Jackson the Chairman of the Business Development Committee.... Including the Branding Initiative, Innovative City Incentives and Grants, Microlending Function, Peer Networking designed towards collaboration - Guilds, Connecting local talent, Social Media Training for local businesses, and thr rollout of

Consent Agenda:

A. Approval of Tax Refund, as Recommended by Catawba County Tax Office, to Foothills Mortgage and Equity Inc. in the Amount of $323.12

B. Community Appearance Landscape Grant to Charis Hickory, LLC – Non-Residential Property Located at 1928, 1936, 1945, 1950, 1958 and 1960 Main Avenue SE in the Amount of $2,437.50 - This non-residential property, owned by Charis Hickory, LLC, is located at 1928, 1936, 1945, 1950, 1958 and 1960 Main Avenue SE, was previously occupied by Corning Cable Systems, and the facilities currently constitute what is referred to as the Catawba Industrial Commons. The intention is to upgrade the existing landscaping. The applicant has provided two bids for the proposed improvements which total $4,875.00 and $5,900.00. The applicant has indicated they wish to go with the lower of the two bids, so the value of the grant would be $2,437.50. On February 27, 2012, the Community Appearance Commission unanimously voted to recommend funding of the requested grant in the amount of $2,437.50.

C. Contract Renewal with Marlowe and Company for Federal Legislative Lobbying and Consulting Services in the Amount of $3,750.00 Per Month - Staff works throughout the year with Marlowe and Company staff members who provide consulting services in the form of grant assistance, legislative consulting and lobbying support for local issues at the federal level with the North Carolina Delegation. As the City prepares its State and Federal Legislative Agenda for 2012, Marlowe and Company staff will assist in reviewing it against a number of federal programs as well as make arrangements for meetings with key officials in Washington, DC, including the City’s delegation. The cost of the contract renewal remains at $3,750.00 per month and will extend until June 30, 2013. (The Hound - What do we get out of this other than an annual bill for $45,000)

D. Accept Donation of Painting of Zahra Baker from Hickory Resident Paul Wise to be Displayed at the Floyd W. Lucas Jr. Police Headquarters - The Hickory Police Department requests approval to accept the donation of a painting of Zahra Baker to be displayed at police headquarters. Mr. Paul Wise, a Hickory resident, purchased a watercolor painting of Zahra Baker at a recent auction. The piece titled, “Little Miss Baker”, is the work of Artist Tom Helfert. Mr. Wise felt it appropriate for the painting to be displayed at police headquarters as a gesture of his appreciation for all the work done by “Team Zahra” on the Baker case. If accepted, the painting will be displayed in an appropriate location, and no other costs will be needed. Staff recommends acceptance.

E. Resolutions Approving Terms of Refinancing With BB&T - The Finance Department discovered that the City can refinance current outstanding installment purchase contracts with BB&T and realize significant savings over the remaining life of the debts. Currently, two resolutions are being presented to Council to approve refinancing terms, with all terms staying the same except the interest rate. On the Henry River Sewer Lines, the rate will decrease from 3.55 percent to 3.19 percent over the remaining 14 years of the debt, saving $207,492. On the Water and Sewer Annexed Area II, the rate will decrease from 3.79 percent to 1.79 percent over the remaining 6.6 years of the debt, saving $106,220. The fee to BB&T to refinance these two installment purchase debts will be approximately $19,500. At next month’s meeting, we will bring four additional outstanding installment purchase debts, as the city may only refinance up to $10 million per month and still remain Bank Qualified, per the Local Government Commission.

F. Offer to Purchase Property From Paul Thompson to City of Hickory to Purchase Approximately 6 Acres Located at 3404 6th Street Drive NW in the Amount of $36,000.00 ($6,000 Per Acre - Catawba County PIN 3704-07-67-2574) - Paul Thompson has presented an offer to purchase approximately 6 acres owned by the City and located at 3404 6th Street Drive NW (Neill Clark Park Property). Mr. Thompson
would like to purchase the property to donate to the c urch next door for expansion of a building. Currently, the property is zoned R-2, and the exact land amount will determine the price after the survey is complete. The purchase contract states that the buyer will obtain a final survey of the land proposed for sale before closing. Staff recommends acceptance of the offer to purchase from Mr. Thompson and authorization to advertise for upset bids. Once the property is advertised, other parties will have ten (10) days to submit upset bids.

G. Acceptance of NC Department of Transportation Division of Aviation Grant No. 36237.66.4.2 – Taxiway B, Taxiway S and North Apron Pavement Rehabilitation Project in the Amount of $88,824.00 ($79,942.00 - 90% Federal Share and $8,882.00 – 10% Local Share) - This grant, in the amount of $79,942.00 (Federal share), has been awarded to the City of Hickory/Hickory Regional Airport for the design through bidding phases of Taxiway B, Taxiway S and North Apron Pavement Rehabilitation Project. This project is part of the continuing airfield improvement program, and the rehabilitation of these pavements is critical to the continued service to the based and transient customers of Hickory Regional
Airport. Staff recommends approval.

H. Talbert & Bright Work Authorization for the Design Through Bidding Phase Services of the Taxiway B, Taxiway S and North Apron Pavement Rehabilitation Project in the Amount of $85,424.00 ($76,882.00 – 90% Federal Share and $8,542.00 – 10% Local Share) – NC Department of Transportation Division of Aviation Grant No. Grant Project 36237.66.4.2 - This work authorization will provide for design through bidding phases, pre-design geotechnical investigation and report, and topographic survey for this grant project and will be paid for out of grant funds. The existing pavements are highly oxidized with cracking and are in need of rehabilitation, which will be determined by the engineer after receiving the pre-design geotechnical investigation report, recommendations, and the topographic survey. Staff recommends approval.

I. Budget Ordinance Amendment
1. To budget a $10 Library donation from the Waverly Book Club the Library Books line item.
2. To budget a $4,500 Library donation from Friends of the Hickory Library in the Specialized Equipment line item. This donation is to help fund a projection system for the meeting room.
3. To appropriate $3,205 of General Fund Balance to the Police Department Supplies line item. This appropriation is necessary to pay for DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) shirts for graduation. $3,205 represents Police State Reimbursement balances from previous years (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010) that have rolled into Fund Balance at year end, therefore an appropriation is necessary.
4. To transfer $2,548 of General Fund Contingency to the Economic and Community Development Other Miscellaneous Expenditure line item. This transfer is necessary to pay for "For Sale" signs for the Cloninger Mill property and to pay for the Business Development Committee lunches for the remainder
of the fiscal year.
5. To budget $328 of Miscellaneous Revenue in the Fire Department Maintenance and Repair of Vehicles line item. These funds were received from Mountain Recycling, Inc. for the sale of salvaged metal from surplus Engine 14.
6. To budget a $1,500 donation from the Hickory Elks Lodge in the Parks and Recreation-Recreation Supplies line item for the 2012 Easter Egg Hunt. The City of Hickory's Park and Recreation Department coordinates this annual event.
7. To transfer $39,000 of Water and Sewer Fund Contingency to the Communications operating budget for the Branding-Marketing effort. Of the $39,000 budget $8,000 is designated for Advertising through partnerships with community events, $12,000 for Departmental Supplies (promotional items and
miscellaneous supplies for presentations) and $19,000 for Other Professional Services (Trademark/Legal fees and Ad Agency costs).
8. To transfer $3,281 from the Police Department Capital Vehicle line item to the Governor’s Highway Safety Program Grant project. This transfer is for the purchase of 4 Pole Radars. The granting agency does not allow grant adjustments; therefore a transfer from the Police Department capital budget to
the Grant Project Non-Asset Inventory line item is necessary.
9. To budget a $4,933 transfer of unused revenue from the Grace Chapel/Hwy. 321 Connector project to the General Fund-Appropriated Fund Balance. This amendment is necessary to close the capital project and return $4,933 of unspent monies to the General Fund.

Informational Items
A. Report of City Manager Mick Berry’s travel to attend the Special Council Meeting in Asheville, NC on January 31, 2012 (per diem - $10.18)
B. Report of Mayor Rudy Wright’s travel to attend the Special Council Meeting in Asheville, NC on January 31, 2012 (per diem - $10.18)
C. Report of Alderman Brad Lail’s travel to attend the Special Council Meeting in Asheville, NC on January 31, 2012 (per diem - $10.18)
D. Report of Alderman Bruce Meisner’s travel to attend the Special Council Meeting in Asheville, NC on January 31, 2012 (per diem - $10.18)
E. Report of Alderman Danny Seaver’s travel to attend the Special Council Meeting in Asheville, NC on January 31, 2012 (per diem - $10.18)
F. Report of Alderman Hank Guess’s travel to attend the Special Council Meeting in Asheville, NC on January 31, 2012 (per diem - $10.18)
G. Report of Alderwoman Sally Fox’s travel to attend the Special Council Meeting in Asheville, NC on January 31, 2012 (per diem - $10.18)
H. Report of Alderwoman Jill Patton’s travel to attend the Special Council Meeting in Asheville, NC on January 31, 2012 (per diem - $10.18)
I. Report of Alderman Brad Lail’s travel to attend the Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh, NC on February 6-7, 2012 (registration - $275.00; room - $235.65; per diem - $51.00)
J. Report of City Manager Mick Berry’s travel to attend the Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh, NC on February 6-7, 2012 (registration - $275.00; room - $259.65; per diem - $8.50; mileage – $199.25)
K. Report of City Manager Mick Berry’s travel to attend the NC City Management Seminar in Durham, NC on February 1-3, 2012 (registration - $300.00; room – $232.50; per diem - $42.50; mileage - $177.05)

Recognition of Persons Requesting To Be Heard

Larry Pope - Newsletter about the City Council meeting of March 6, 2012 - Addendum Larry Pope - Citizen Requesting to be Heard

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