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 3/20/2012 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. Antonio Logan, Pastor, Friendship Baptist Church
A. Presentation of Proclamation Celebrating the Hickory Parks and Recreation Department’s 25th Annual Children’s Easter Egg Hunt to Hickory Elks Lodge No. 1654, Hickory Jaycees and Hickory Youth Council.
A. Proclamation – Fair Housing Opens Doors – National Association of Realtors Celebrates Equal Choice in Housing.
B. Transfer of Cemetery Deed from Daniel L. Espey and Wife, Debra C. Espey, Jill S. W. Crump and Husband, Kenneth A. Crump to Jill W. Crump and Husband Kenneth A. Crump in Oakwood Cemetery
C. Transfer of Cemetery Deed from Daniel L. Espey and Wife, Debra C. Espey, Jill W. Crump and Husband Kenneth A. Crump to James Lee Teeter and Wife Andrea Whitener Teeter in Oakwood Cemetery
D. Citizens’ Advisory Committee Recommendations for Assistance Through the City of Hickory’s Housing Programs - The following requests were considered by the Citizens’ Advisory Committee at their regular meeting on March 1, 2012:
Brandee L. Sample was approved for recommendation to City Council for first-time homebuyer’s assistance to purchase a house located at 3358 Treadwell Lane SE, Newton. She had 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.
Judith Jacumin, 934 8th Street NE, Hickory, was awarded a City of Hickory’s Housing Rehabilitation Loan. The Citizens’ Advisory Committee recommends approval for assistance not to exceed $10,000 for repairs to her home. Assistance would be in the form of a 3% interest loan for a 10 year period.
Tara Byrd, 712 3rd Street SE, Hickory, was awarded a City of Hickory’s Housing Rehabilitation Loan in 2005. The current balance of the loan is $4,155.91. Ms. Byrd is in need of a roof. The Citizen’s Advisory recommends loaning her an additional $5,000 for her much needed roof.
Funds are budgeted for these items through the City of Hickory’s former Rental Rehabilitation Program income received in FY 2010 and/or program income received through the City of Hickory’s Community Development Block Grant Program. Each of the following applicants is being recommended for approval for assistance under the City of Hickory’s 2011 Urgent Repair Program. This program provides qualified low income citizens with assistance for emergency-related repairs not to exceed $5,000.
Jon Huskins, 1607 1st Avenue NW, Hickory.
E. Amendment to Traffic Ordinance to Reduce Speed Limit to 25 MPH Along North Center Street Between 2nd Avenue NW/NE and 8th Avenue NW/NE Along 5th Avenue NW/NE Between 1st Street NW and 2nd Street NE (NC Highway 127) and Along 1st Street NE Between 3rd Avenue NE and 5th Avenue NE - The City received a request from Frye Hospital to enhance the pedestrian facilities which resulted in upgraded signage, pavement markings and delineators. After review of the pedestrian facilities and speed limits in the area, it was noted that there is a need for a reduced speed limit in the hospital zone to provide for a safer environment for pedestrians and emergency vehicles. Staff recommends that the speed limit be reduced to 25 MPH along North Center Street between 2nd Avenue NW/NE and 8th Avenue
NW/NE, 5th Avenue NW/NE between 1st Street NW and 2nd Street NE (NC Highway 127 and 1st Street NE between 3rd Avenue NE and 5th Avenue NE.
F. CMAQ C-5129 Signal System Project Supplement Agreement No. 3 in the Amount of $37,955.95 and Supplement Agreement No. 4 in the Amount of $8,233.59 - As part of the CMAQ C-5129 Signal System Project, supplemental agreements were needed to finalize the project construction. Supplemental Agreement No. 3 provides for new camera arms that were needed when it was noted that the existing ones were too long and interfered with the power lines. Supplemental Agreement No. 4 is necessary in order to add a wireless repeater to allow communications to the traffic signal at the intersection of Cloninger Mill Road/Kool Park Road at 16th Street NE (Sandy Ridge Road) as well as boost communication with the other traffic signals along 16th Street NE. The project is being funded by Federal Funds through NC Dept. of Transportation, and both agreements have been reviewed and approved by the NC DOT. .
G. Proposal From Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse to Provide a Coffee Bar at the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library - In its Strategic Plan for 2011-2013, the Hickory Public Library included the provision of a coffee bar at the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library to enhance the library’s role as a community center and to foster a welcoming atmosphere. The idea was enthusiastically endorsed by SALT Block agencies to serve their employees and the many visitors to their establishments. The City put out a request for proposals, and after review and analysis, recommends Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse. Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse is a wellknown local establishment with a proven track record of operating a successful business. to accept the proposal to provide a coffee bar at the Patrick
Beaver Memorial Library.
H. Award of Construction Contract to Eaglewood, Inc. to Construct Aviation Fuel Farm in the Amount of $778,252.98 (NC Dept. of Aviation VISION 100 Funds - $700,427.68 (90%); City Matching Funds - $77,825.30 (10%)) - Construction of an aviation fuel farm is needed to ensure a reliable supply of Jet-A and Av-Gas fuel for airport customers, with the addition of 24-hour self-service for Av-Gas fuel. The airport will also have the additional capacity to store more fuel which will enable the City to purchase large quantities, giving the airport the capacity to extend lower and more competitive fuel prices to its customers. This project is in direct line with the Hickory Regional Airport Task Force Report recommendations in marketing the airport’s goals and the promotion of assets including the increase of revenues through the sale of fuel to general aviation aircraft. The NC Dept. of Aviation has announced VISION 100 Funds at the 90% level in the amount of $700,427.68. The City has a matching obligation of 10%, or $77,825.30. Staff recommends award of construction contract to Eaglewood, Inc.
I. Special Events/Activities Application for Downtown Hickory Sidewalk Sales by Hickory Downtown Development Association every Wednesday from May 2, 2012 until November 21, 2012. Individual businesses will conduct sidewalk sales in the area in front of their store on Wednesdays in collaboration with the Downtown Hickory Farmers Market.
J. Special Events/Activities Application for National Day of Prayer by Committee for National Day of Prayer Hickory on Thursday, May 3, 2012 Located in City Parking Area Across From City Hall From Sunrise to 9:00 p.m.
K. Grant Project Ordinance
1. To budget a $79,942 Federal Grant award from the North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Aviation thereby establishing the Taxiway B, Taxiway S and North Apron Pavement Grant project. This Grant will allow the City to rehabilitate the existing pavements on the Taxiways and North Apron which are highly oxidized and cracking. The grant is federally funded at 90% ($79,942) with a local 10% ($8,882) required local match.
L. Budget Ordinance Amendments
1. To budget a $50 donation from the Hickory Choral Society in the Youth Council expenditure line item. This donation is made to the Youth Council for help with parking.
2. To budget a $1,350 insurance claim check from Kemper Insurance Company in the Traffic division Other Professional Services line item. The $1,350 will pay Bryant Electric Repair & Construction Inc. to repair the damaged signal fiber which was torn out during a traffic accident on Startown Rd.
3. To budget a total of $550 of Unity Fair donations in the Unity Fair expenditure line item. The Unity Fair is part of the International Spring Fest.
4. To budget a total of $8,350 of Parks and Recreation donations in their Departmental Supplies line item. These donations are designated for the Unifour Senior Games which is coordinated by the City of Hickory's Park and Recreation Department. Donations include Bayada Nurses ($100), Kingston Residence of Hickory, LLC ($250), Humana ($1,000), Catawba Valley Medical Center ($1,000), Frye ($1,000), Western Piedmont Council of Governments ($500), Affordable Dentures ($1,000), Carolina Orthopaedic ($500), Hickory Orthopaedic ($1,000), Gentiva ($1,000) and Pinecrest ($1,000). These funds will be used to conduct the 2012 Unifour Senior Games.
5. To appropriate $25,552 of the Insurance Fund Balance and transfer to the General Fund Legal Services line item. This appropriation is to pay for legal expenses related to the Glenn Edward Chapman pending litigation.
6. To appropriate $8,882 of Transportation Fund Balance and transfer to the Airport Taxiway B, Taxiway S and North Apron Pavement Grant project. The grant project is federally funded at 90% ($79,942) with a 10% ($8,882) required local match. This Grant will allow the City to rehabilitate the existing pavements on the Taxiways and North Apron which are highly oxidized and cracking.
New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Resolution Approving Authorization of a Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program - Due to economic conditions negatively impacting City revenue and with the City facing a difficult budget year in FY 2013-14, Staff would like to achieve savings through a second voluntary retirement incentive program. Council adopted a resolution authorizing a similar program in October, 2009. The program will be offered to coworkers who are eligible to retire through the North Carolina Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System between July 1 and October 1, 2012. There are approximately 84 out of 616 full-time coworkers who meet this requirement, and those coworkers will be offered a cash incentive of 50% of their base annual salary. Retirement must occur between July 1 and October 1, 2012. In addition, participants may receive City-paid individual health insurance for 6 months from time of retirement if they meet eligibility requirements. Although not everyone will choose to participate, it is anticipated that some coworkers will accept the offer, thereby creating opportunities for the City to reduce its personnel costs. Cost savings will be achieved by leaving some or all of the positions vacant. Vacancies will also provide opportunities for reorganization and restructuring as appropriate. The number of participants in the program will not be known until September 20, 2012 following the September 19, 2012 deadline; however, the program will be paid from the FY 2012-13 Budget.
Assistant City Manager Warren Wood came to the podium and opened by stating that this would be the second time that we would be offering this retirement incentives program in the last couple of years. He stated that putting together the 2012-13 city budget will be difficult .and they have been difficult for the last few years. Looking forward to the 2013-14 budget shows that it will be even more difficult, but they have put a plan together in order to offset some of what they know is coming.
In 2013-14, t he city expects to lose $425,000 in State revenue as a result of State budget cuts. That's on top of the SAFR grant that added 12 firefighters a few years ago for the addition of the new ladder company. The amount from the SAFR grant has been diminishing over the last few years and will be exhausted in 2013-14. In addition to that we don't see a way to grow ourselves out of this in the traditional way in terms of normal revenue growth, because of the slow growth related to property tax and sales tax revenues... in addition to rising fuel prices. There are a number of factors that are coming together that need to be addressed in the upcoming year; because if we don't, the alternative might include an increase in property taxes and/or a cut in core services. There is not a lot we can do on the revenue side, so we must look at the expenditure side.
Things that are being done in conjunction with the retirement incentive are debt refinancing. This was addressed at the last City Council meeting and will be addressed at the next City Council meeting. The debt percentage rate is being lowered from 3.5% to 2.5% percent. We are in a very good position from that perspective. Even with the rates we have, the debt percentage rate is being lowered from 3.5% to 2.5% percent. That will save about $700,000 of the course of 15 years. The general fund is in particularly good position when it comes to debt. We will be debt free in our general fund over the next 6 to 7 years. When the investment markets get on a more normal footing, the debt percentage will be less than what we're earning on our money in the bank.
In the upcoming budget year, we're going to have $2 - $2.5 million dollars more in expenses dedicated for our capital improvement plan, including projects such as replacing the Falling Creek Bridge, replacing the self-contained breathing apparatuses at the fire department, and improving the lighting at LP Frans Stadium to Major League Baseball standards. We have a healthy fund balance and what we're going to recommend is to take a portion of the fund balance and dedicate it to the capital reserve to fund this gap. The capital improvement plan. It is really a capital maintenance plan or a capital replacement plan. This is not about new projects. This is about replacing fire trucks, sanitation trucks, and roofs on buildings. This is a capital replacement or maintenance plan.
We are going to implement a compliance-based health insurance program to offset the significant increases in health insurance. Right now, we don't make an individual, other than a tobacco user, pay part of their cost. Every year we have a health risk assessment done and if I have high blood pressure and should be on medicine or have high cholesterol and should be on medicine there is no reason in the world to not take the medicine, because it is free under the city's current plan. If you have a number of factors that come up on your health risk assessment and over the course of a year you don't take steps and take ownership of your health to remedy those circumstances, then you will be falling into a category where you will be asked to contribute to your health care expenses. If the city is going to provide you health insurance, then you are going to take ownership of your health and do some basic things... this is a cost-containment measure. And we have been able to hold the line on our healthcare costs, and we have been very successful and we want to keep that success going.
Retirement incentives will give us flexibility as positions become vacant to eliminate or reassign some folks to reorganize and restructure some departments. This will give vacancies to allow maneuvering toward saving money on the personnel side. You're taking more tenured and higher paid employees and you don't have as high an expense when you hire new employees. This is a volunteer program, and we did it two years ago. There were 20 employees that accepted the incentives and currently there are 84 employees that are eligible for retirement. Your eligibility for retirement is determined by the North Carolina Retirement system. The city does not determine that. Plus we'll (city employees) have between July 1 and October 1 to retire. This gives employees plenty of time to set things up, if they're interested in retiring. This is more time than was available the last time to make a decision. This is the exact same plan as the last time. The city would pay one-half of the annual pay for employees qualifying under state retirement guidelines. The employees would remain on the city’s insurance plan for six months. An employee who is eligible for Medicare would not be extended city insurance. If you are eligible, you can get extended health-care benefits. To recoup the cost of the plan, departments will be asked to keep the retired position open, or an equivalent position, open in the department for six months.
In summary, this is part of a bigger plan to take steps for what we know will be a difficult budgetary year 2013-14.
Newsletter about the City Council meeting of March 20, 2012 - Addendum - Warren Wood addresses Hickory's immediate Economic Future - This link is where I placed the opinion piece related to this issue and do not feel it necessary to be redundant.
2. Second Reading - Award of Construction Contract to Eaglewood, Inc. to Construct Aviation Fuel Farm in the Amount of $778,252.98 (NC Dept. of Aviation VISION 100 Funds - $700,427.68 (90%); City Matching Funds - $77,825.30 (10%)) - This item appears on tonight’s agenda as Consent Agenda Item VII.H. Due to time constraints in meeting the project’s completion date, Staff requests approval on two readings at this meeting.
General Comments by Council
Alderwoman Jill Patton stated that she was thrilled that Taste Full Beans got the contract
to set up a coffee shop at the library. She stated that they have shown an entrepreneurial
spirit that the City keeps advocating, and she congratulated them on their vision and self
reliance, which benefits the business and the community. Mayor Wright stated he was glad to see a local business get the contract.