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 11/20/2012 meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below:
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All materials and maps for this meeting are provide at this link: City Council Agenda - November 20, 2012
Invocation by Rev. Whit Malone, Pastor First Presbyterian Church
A. Transfer of a Cemetery Deed from Judy K. Eldridge, unmarried to Billy Dean Buckner in Fairview Cemetery
B. Transfer of a Cemetery Deed from Judy K. Eldridge, unmarried to Annie Sue Hicks in Fairview Cemetery
C. Transfer of Cemetery Deed from Judy K. Eldridge, unmarried to Charles Ray Buckner in Fairview Cemetery
D. Transfer of Cemetery Deed from Judy K. Eldridge, unmarried to Jack Wayne Buckner in Fairview Cemetery
E. Transfer of Cemetery Deed from Judy K. Eldridge, unmarried to Judy K. Eldridge in Fairview Cemetery
F. Transfer of Cemetery Deed from Judy K. Eldridge, unmarried to Elvis Ray Darrin Buckner in Fairview Cemetery
G. Transfer of Cemetery Deed from City of Hickory to Geraldine Propst and Cindy Propst in Southside Cemetery
H. Special Joint Meeting of Hickory City Council and the Advisory Committee for Inspiring Spaces, Tuesday, November 27, 2012 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Mike Johnson’s Hickory Toyota Board Room. - A special joint meeting of Hickory City Council and the Advisory Committee for Inspiring
Spaces to be held on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Mike Johnson’s Toyota Board Room at 435 US Highway 70 SE. The purpose of this special joint meeting is to update and receive input from City Council and the Advisory Committee on Inspiring Spaces.
I. Approval of a Proclamation for Small Business Saturday, November 24, 2012.
J. Certificate of Sufficiency and Preliminary Resolution Relative to Street Improvements Along a portion of 304 and 336 10th Avenue NE – No. 02-12 (Authorize Public Hearing for December 18, 2012)
K. Certificate of Sufficiency and Preliminary Resolution Relative to Street Improvements Along a portion of 304 10th Avenue NE – No. 03-12 (Authorize Public Hearing for December 18, 2012)
L. Resolution of Intent for Petition of Robert Lee Combs Jr., Cynthia C. Combs; Kenneth R. Abernethy, Linda Yvonne McCall Abernethy; Patricia Abernethy Bolch and Alan C. Bolch to Close an Unopened Portion of 10th Avenue Place NE. (Authorize Public Hearing for December 18, 2012)
M. Call for Public Hearing – Amendments to Hickory City Code Chapter 16 – Junk and Secondhand Dealers, Regarding how Pawnbrokers, Precious Metal Dealers and Secondary Metals Recyclers record and report their purchases from the general public. (Authorize Public Hearing for December 4, 2012)
N. Consideration of a Contract of Services with AMEC Environmental and Infrastructure, Inc., for environmental engineering services, pursuant to the USEPA Brownfield Assessment Grant. - The City of Hickory was awarded two Brownfield Assessment Grants, each in the amount of $200,000. As part of the federal cooperative agreement, the City of Hickory is required by the USEPA to contract environmental assessment services with a licensed environmental engineering firm. AMEC is a well-known and respected regional environmental firm, with a wealth of experience with both the USEPA and NCDENR brownfield programs. AMEC was selected after the review of nine consultant qualification statements. Professional contractual services will be provided by AMEC in an amount not to exceed $370,000 which is fully covered under the USEPA Brownfield Assessment Grant. No City monies will be expended pursuant to this contractual service.
O. Approval of a Quitclaim Deed for Recombination of Properties to be known as the Hickory-Catawba Wastewater Treatment Facility (HCWWTF).- Additional property was purchased by the City of Hickory from the adjoining property owners in December of 2010 for the proposed HCWWTF Upgrade and Expansion. In accordance with the Town of Catawba Planning regulations, the City of Hickory is required to recombine the properties since the property is required for the purposes of constructing and operating the proposed HCWWTF.
P. Special Event/Activities Application, applicant Connie Kincaid, Hickory Downtown Development Association, for Downtown Hickory Art Crawls 2013, Thursday, May 16, 2013 and Thursday, September 19, 2013, from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Union Square, 3rd St NW, 2nd St NW, 1st Avenue NW, 1st Avenue SW and Government Avenue SW.
Q. Special Event/Activities Application, applicant Connie Kincaid, Hickory Downtown Development Association, for Swinging Under the Stars, Sunday, May 26, 2013, from 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the Union Square Flag Court.
R. Grant Project Ordinance No. 5
1. To budget a 2012 Urgent Repair Program Grant awarded to the City of Hickory by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency in the amount of $37,500 with a local required match of $3,750. The required match is provided by the Consortium HOME Program Income.
S. Grant Project Ordinance Amendment No. 3
1. To transfer $3,750 of Consortium HOME Program income to the 2012 Urgent Repair Program Grant. This transfer provides the funds necessary for the required local match for the 2012 Urgent Repair Program Grant.
T. Budget Ordinance Amendment No. 7
1. To budget $828 of General Fund 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 scrap metal from the shop.
2. To budget a $55,000 check from the State of North Carolina Department of Commerce (One North Carolina Fund Disbursement to Turbocoating Corporation) in the Economic and Community Development Incentives line item. A grant was approved by the Department of Commerce One North Carolina Fund in the amount of $110,000. This budget amendment represents the first partial grant disbursement.
3. To appropriate $4,696 of General Fund Balance and budget in the Residential Sanitation Non Asset Inventory line item. This amendment is to budget a $4,696 insurance claim check from Trident Insurance Company for a truck radio replacement which rolled into General Fund Balance at year end.
1. (4:10) Filming City Council Meetings - Per City Council directive, City Staff is exploring the feasibility and cost of filming Council meetings. The City Manager will update the council on the findings thus far.
● Current lighting in Council chambers is inadequate and will need to be augmented.
● Current audio does not provide for output to a video camera. The system also has adequacy issues both at the dais and the podium.
● Live feed of the meeting would require a fiber optic cable run from Council chambers to Charter Communications head end. Staff and equipment would also be required to manage a live feed. Costs for this option are not currently being explored. As these items are defined and costs estimated, staff will provide Council with a recommendation for implementation.
The recorded meetings will be available on Charter Channel 3 and on the Hickory City Website. Manager Berry talked about wanting to have dual feeds to show presentations, display names, and the feed of Council Members at the dais. Alderman Lail brought up the subject of promoting the televised council meetings. Manager Berry said they are looking into the promotion of these meetings... They would likely have meetings ready for showing on Thursdays. They should be back in December with recommendations to the council unless technical issues cause this to be delayed until January.
The Hound is glad to see this moving forward. This is one of the five requests made by the Citizens for Equity in Government. The CEG has never asked that these meetings be Broadcast Live. The point of this process is to make meetings more accessible to the community. Having a live feed isn't going to create better access for people who are busy at work or doing other activities at 7pm on 1st and 3rd Tuesdays. One of the major reasons for doing this is the same as time with a DVR. It is all about time shifting so that people can pay attention to community issues when time is available for them to do so. It is our contention that the CEG has not made any unreasonable requests and the CEG does not intend to ever make any unreasonable requests. We believe that once this is implemented that the community will wonder why it took so long.
New Business - Public Hearing
1. Approve Revised Sewer Use Ordinance - The City of Hickory is required to operate under a NC Department of Environment & Natural Resources (NCDENR) approved Sewer Use Ordinance due to the size of the Wastewater Treatment Facilities and the presence of Industrial customers on the City of Hickory wastewater system. The adoption of an approved Sewer Use Ordinance is a requirement of the Clean Water Act of 1972 and subsequent revisions. The proposed revisions to the existing City of Hickory Sewer Use Ordinance are to address recent environmental regulation changes. This version of the City of Hickory Sewer Use Ordinance is intended to ensure that the City of Hickory Pretreatment Program operates in compliance with the appropriate State and Federal regulations, A NCAC 2H.0900 and 40 CFR 403 respectively. This public hearing was advertised on November 9, 2012 in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area.
Matters not on the Agenda
(26:55) - Mayor Wright spoke about the League of Municipalities meeting he attended last week. He talked about transportation cost issues in the State and problems with revenues. Because of the recession and efficiencies the amount of money has gone down. There is a mention of taxes on tires and toll roads. He talked about the possibilities of stickers being sold to allow people to use HOV lanes (High Occupancy Vehicle). He next talked about 50 agenda items from a League Board meeting. Governor Elect McCrory is talking about modernizing the tax structure.. He talked about the Inter-Basin transfer issue.
(30:30) - Alder Sally Fox had several comments about the community Inspiring Spaces meetings. She said it was exciting to see the new faces and at every meetings she found out new information and it was a learning experience. She next talked about the Christmas tree downtown and that it was the most beautiful tree and this year's activities were the most wholesome in a long time.
Citizens Requesting to be Heard
(34:00) - Jesse McArthur - speaking about videotaping meetings - he said that in light of the discussion at this meeting that he did not feel it necesary not to speak at this time.
(34:45) - Cliff Moone - Spoke about his request and the City's granting of a Bill of Right's Proclamation and this year he would like a Human Rights proclamation given to the library.
He addressed the issue of Citizens being allowed the question items on the agenda at the beginning of the meeting. He discussed what occurred at the City Council meeting on October 2, 2012.
Cliff went into Alderman Lail's proposal from the end of that meeting to study the issue of allowing Citizen's Requesting to be heard back to the beginning of the meeting. Alderman Lail saw potential problems with what had been passed earlier in that meeting. Alderman Lail's motion and proposal failed for lack of a second motion.
At the following City Council meeting of October 16, 2012, the opportunity for Citizens to speak as provided for in the motion passed unanimously on October 2, 2012 was not extended. Later in the meeting, a citizen with a specific grant proposal was allowed to speak. Cliff then spoke of the Council meeting of November 6, 2012, which was chaired by Alderman Seaver and during that meeting he asked if anyone would like specific items removed from the Consent Agenda, when the Council has previously determined that Citizens do not have such a right. This was confusing and was not in keeping with the Council's motion of October 2.
Cliff wants the Council to address Alderman Seaver's point made at the October 2 meeting about arranging or tweaking the agenda so that the action can be appropriately implemented so that citizens will find it consistent and fair and clear in all future meetings so that they can operate within the Council's rules of Decorum. Cliff said he didn't want to be picky, but the motion was not part of the agenda should have been a motion (matter) not on the agenda. Staff Attorney Crone apologized saying that that night he had something else on his mind and he should have jumped in. Mayor Wright said there are capital R rules and little R rules. Cliff said he wasn't sure what the Mayor meant by that. Cliff stated that he would like to somehow or another see this be on the agenda. When you make a motion and pass something on the Agenda.. that that was a continuing thing. Now you can undo that as y'all so rightly said when, as you said, this is not a good exercise in Democracy... but would this not just continue from meeting to meeting? Attorney Crone began an answer, I don't understand.. I don't understand..." and Mayor Wright expressly cut him off saying, "We will get back with you at the next meeting Mr. Moone."
The Hound: Like Cliff, I do not want to nit pick about this. Why is the Council insistent on these contortions? Why not just put this on the Public Agenda and take all of the motioning per meeting out of this process? This all goes back to the Consent Agenda issue and us paying attention to what the rules on the agenda stated and allowed us to do.
So far no one has had an agenda item to inquire-ask about, but it is a matter of time until this will occur and the ambiguity should be taken out of the process. Look at the tent issue. I might be wrong, but I don't think Hickory Inc. is going to be putting multi-hundred thousand dollar projects in the Consent Agenda any more, so hopefully we won't have to travel back down that road again -- Hopefully (fingers crossed).
I don't agree with the Mayor about his Big R - Little R statement when it comes to rules. Rules are rules and they should apply to everyone. They should apply to Council, City Staff, and everyone participating in City processes equally -- across the board. If they expect us to follow "decorum," then they should follow decorum and quit making things up on the fly to suit their own fancy.
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