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Friday, July 20, 2012

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of July 17, 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 7/17/2012 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. Mark Andrews, Lead Pastor, St. Lukes United Methodist Church

Special Presentations:
A. Presentation of Retiring Members of Volunteer Boards and Commissions - The Mayor passed out plaques to the retiring members of the boards and commissions as he does annually about this time. He stated that we get valuable input through these organizations. 1/2 percent of Hickory citizens serve in these organizations.

B. Presentation by Court Hogan regarding Purple Heart Homes and the work they are doing
For a Hickory, NC veteran - Derek Pope a veteran of the Marine Corps and National Guard was awarded money to help with his house. Mr. Pope was injured while serving. A group of carpenters from Goldston, NC helped with construction on Mr. Pope's roof. Mr. Hogan is asking the City to help with veterans in the community who need assistance. They can help with contacts. Hickory can become a Purple Heart Homes Community. This group has been approved by the League of Cities. Mr. Pope served in Desert Storm and Desert Shield and spoke about how he wanted to get the word out to Hickory of what this group does.

Consent Agenda:
A. Request by Hickory Police Department for Approval to Apply for a Grant from the US Department of Justice to Assist in Funding the Purchase of 30 Bulletproof Vests - Hickory Police Department requests permission to apply for a grant from the US Department of Justice to assist in funding the purchase of bulletproof vests for police officers. If awarded the grant, the City will receive up to 50% of the cost (30 vests @ $675 each). Hickory Police Department is committed to improving officer safety and has a “mandatory wear policy” in effect, with monies being budgeted annually to purchase vests. HPD will be notified after July 1, 2012 if awarded the grant.

B. Renewal of Taxicab and Other Passenger vehicles for Hire Franchises Company Taxicabs Passenger Vehicle for Hire
Mile High Enterprises - 0 - 5
Yellow Cab - 12 - 1
Diamond Cab Company - 3 - 0
Select Car Service - 0 - 1
Hickory Limousine - 0 - 3
Total - 15 - 10
Annually, these companies apply for a renewal of their Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for the operation of taxicabs and other vehicles for hire.

C. Special Events/Activities Application for United States Flag Retirement Ceremony by Gene Baker, Commander of Post 544, Sandy Ridge American Legion Post 544, on Saturday, September 22, 2012 at L.P. Fran Stadium from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Veterans Groups in Hickory will dispose of flags.

D. Special Events/Activities Application for NC Nursery & Landscape Association/ NC Urban Forest Council Networking Dinner by Cody Lewis, NCNLA Director of Operations, on
Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at Ivey Arboretum Carolina Park from 8:30 am to 10:00 pm

E. Approval to issue a pyrotechnic display permit to Hickory Motor Speedway - Kevin Piercy, General Manager of the Hickory Motor Speedway, has submitted a request to obtain permission to have a public fireworks display on Saturday, July 28, 2012, with a rain date of July 29, 2012. Zambelli Fireworks Company will conduct the fireworks display.

F. Offer to Purchase Contract between Clay H. and Jennifer Gosnell and City of Hickory for the Purchase of Approximately 0.7 Acres of Property Adjacent to the Northeast WWTP Located on 1st Street Place, NE in the Amount of $30,500.00, City Council approved the purchase of this property in the Regular Council Meeting held on June 5, 2012.

G. Consideration and Acceptance of a $2000 Grant from the National Recreation and Park Association and the Coca-Cola Company to Refurbish the Outdoor Basketball Court at Southside Heights Park - The NRPA partnered with the Coca--Cola Company to manage the “2012 Sprite Spark Parks with Lowe’s Promotion.” The program is a grant opportunity to refurbish outdoor basketball courts in public parks. After voting took place by shoppers at Lowes Foods throughout May and June, staff was notified on June 28th, 2012 that Southside Heights Park is a potential $2000 grant winner. Official notification will be given upon NCRPA’s receipt of a Memorandum of  Understanding from the City of Hickory within 30 days of June 28th. The funds must be used to construct, refresh, and/or refurbish the outdoor basketball court at Southside Heights Park. No matching funds are required. The project must be completed by December 31, 2012.

H. Request from Hickory Police Department to Award Police Badge and Service Weapon to
Retiring Lieutenant Floyd Yoder - By authority of NC General Statute §20-187.2, City Council may award the service weapon and police badge to retiring Lieutenant Floyd Yoder upon his retirement from Hickory Police Department on August 1, 2012 after completing 30 years of service with Hickory Police Department. Upon approval from City Council, the police badge and service weapon will be declared surplus and removed from the city’s fixed asset inventory.

I. Offer and Acceptance and Resolution for State High Unit Cost Grant Account of the Water Infrastructure Fund for Random Woods, Sherwood Forest and East Woods Subdivisions Sanitary Sewer Lines - This project includes construction of approximately 25,100 linear feet of 8-inch PVC sanitary sewer lines. Serving three subdivisions, Random Woods, Sherwood Forest and East Woods consisting of approximately 226 homes. The application requesting $2,946,043 which represents the entire anticipated construction cost including contingencies was approved for award. Maximum award available for project from this program is $3.0 Million. The Engineers estimate for the project is $2,780,000. This grant offer represents award of grant funds with no match required.

J. Resolution for Three year update to the Solid Waste Management Plan - In accordance with NCGS § 130A-309.90A, The Board of Commissioners adopted an updated Ten Year Solid Waste Management Plan, as submitted to the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources originally in FY 1989-90. The Plan must be updated every three years. The Plan update runs July 1, 2012 to July 1, 2022. A copy of the plan can be found at Catawba County Utilities & Engineering Department and the County’s eight incorporated municipalities have prepared this three-year update. Its purpose is to meet Catawba County’s solid waste disposal and waste reduction needs as well as protect the public health and environment. The planning areas include Catawba County and the Cities/Towns of Brookford, Catawba, Claremont, Conover, Hickory, Long View, Maiden and Newton. The ten-year Solid Waste Management Plan update presents a look at recent and current solid waste disposal and waste reduction practices in the County and provides for the future management and reduction of solid waste.

Informational Items
A. Report of City Manager Mick Berry’s travel to Town Hall Day, in Raleigh, NC on June 6, 2012 (Meals - $9.83, Gas in city vehicle - $37.41) (Exhibit IX.A.)

New Business - Public Hearings

1. The Historic Preservation Commission’s Design Review Guidelines - The Design Review Guidelines assist staff and the commission in determining whether projects are in general harmony with adjacent properties and the district as a whole. The update aims to clarify the document and address unforeseen situations where there is no guidance in the current document. The Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously to approve the proposed changes.Presentation by Dave Leonetti. Planning Department has been working on this for 6 to 8 months to update these Guidelines that came into existence in 1994.

The Guidelines were created to ensure that changes to historic properties are in harmony with the district and the particular property. One new section is being created to deal with additions to historic homes. Current guidelines have 8 pages pertaining to new construction and building new homes within historic districts. Currently there are 6 vacant lots within historic districts. Much of the guidance will be tailored towards the "additions" issue. Currently there are 115 designated historic properties in the city (Claremont, Oakwood, and Kenworth along with 14 historic landmarks). This will take guidelines down from 13 sections to 6 - Introduction, Site and Setting, Changes to the Building Exterior, Changes to the Building and new Construction, Relocating and Demolishing Historic Structures, and an Appendix. This will be easier to navigate.

The first section is a basic overview of Historic Hickory and the design review process. Site and setting is everything that happens outside the building walls. They have changed issues about signs and fences to be more contextual in nature. They should be in Harmony with properties in the vicinity. Changes to building exteriors. There is basically one change pertaining to utilities and retrofitting that addresses applying artificial siding to a historic home and additional guidance pertaining to utilities retrofitting - storm doors, awning condition. Additions and new Construction - Current Guidelines address decks and additions. New Homes must meet setbacks and placement of homes. In Relocating and demolishing the issue of salvaging building materials is addressed. Demolition cannot be prohibited, but guidelines help to delay that demolition, up to one year, to negotiate and try to save the structure for sale or relocation. Appendix has resource info with maps and a work matrix. Minor work can be approved by staff. Major Work has to go through the Commission.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Appointment of Inspiring Spaces Plan Advisory Committee Members - To appoint members of the community to the Inspiring Spaces Plan Advisory Committee. This is the first step in a city-wide planning process to develop a list of construction projects, their associated costs and implementation schedule for improving the appearance and functionality of streets, parks and public areas of Hickory.

City Manager Berry went over the Initiative. This was addressed earlier in the year by City Council and is related to the junkets they made late last year. He says that these communities have done a lot with their public spaces that the city has control over. He talked about a plan to make these areas more appealing and aesthetically pleasing. He talked about attracting people and economic development. 13 individual were named and they will meet once a month over the next 6 to 8 months. He says the plan will address specifics and budget numbers and the council will know the price tag of things. Judy Harris, Elvie Shuford, Meg Jenkins Locke, Mary Boone, Mike Johnson, Nancy Zagaroli, Paul Kercher, Scott Mitchell, Steve Shuford, Steve Mull, Thelma Harold, Rick Berry, and Don Norwood. It was added that a couple more members could potentially be added. It was basically admitted during the comments that they came up with a big list and each approached a couple of people.

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of May 1, 2012  - No. 2 Departmental Report

The Hound can't wait to see how this Worm turns. I have always found Great Leaders/Mentors to be more Inspirational than Streetscapes, Light Poles, and Benches. None of these people are commoners. Don't shoot the messenger. I just think having some regular citizens and some younger people whose future is at stake on board with initiatives such as these helps with perspective and buy in. Sorry, but I get the sense that this is going to be another shove it down your throats, Good Ole Boy/Gal, process.

Recognition of Persons Requesting To Be Heard
A. Natalie Carroll requests to speak to Council regarding recreational services for people with developmental disabilities. Ms. Carroll has lived in Hickory for 10 years. She is a Special Ed teacher and an advocate for people with developmental disabilities. She has worked in this endeavor for 32 years. She has a Bachelor's degree in special education from Appalachian State, a Master's from Western Carolina, and is national Board Certified. She would like to see more Recreational activities for people with Developmental Disabilities. She Grew up in Brevard County Florida and they have had such activities for 50 years. It is for regular citizens as well. She provided a calendar to the City Council. She was seeking information and asked if there has ever been any such recreational activities here in Hickory. She stated that her church (Northminister Presbyterian) has provided outreach for these activities, but they haven't had a large turn out.She would like to use Neill Clarke Recreation center for this endeavor. She talked about Brevard County Florida's website and how easy it is to navigate. She has tried to find such information at the Hickory Website and Catawba County Website and you find fragmented pieces of information. The Mayor wanted her observation on the website issue and wanted her to meet with Parks and Rec. Alderman Guess talked about Zahra Baker's playground and the Police department involvement in Special Olympics.

B. Harry Hipps on Council's Leadership role
At the end of the regularly scheduled City Council meeting,  Harry Hipps addresses the City Council by asking about where they stand on the Ward Specific Voting issue. He talked about this process being Participatory Democracy Well Crafted. He thinks it is time for Council to take a stand. Political bodies are here to debate and inform the public. He doesn't see the intellectual rigor and things are done in a southern genteel way that never allows issues to see the light of day. He wants to see a vote by council on this issue. He hopes there is a diversity of opinion on this issue. Hickory's issue isn't frivolity. It is apathy and disenfranchisement. Council should weigh in on this issue so that there is a public record for the council to be accountable to.

Oops! - Caption says Hal Row Show, but it is the Harry Hipps presentation to Council

Link below to the Special Meeting on the "Ward Specific Voting" Referendum issue:

Special Meeting on Ward Specific Voting Referendum

City Council should arrange forum on ward issue - Hickory Daily Record - July 18, 2012

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