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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hickory City Council Audio - 4/2/2013

A.Presentation for National Public Safety Telecommunications Week Presented to Shelley Davis and Nicole Sain, Telecommunicator Supervisors for Hickory Police Department.

B. Proclamation for Fair Housing Month Presented to Lois Leonard from the Board of Realtors.

Several people spoke during Citizens Requesting to be Heard

1) (11:30) - Bob Anderson speaks about televising City Council

2) (14:10) - Dr Joseph Inglefield - The need for an Aquatics facility

City Council members and staff:

A Vision for Aquatics Well-Crafted:

It is time to jump in the pool with a splash! The door to the pool is open and the water feels great. Now is the time to embrace the opportunity that has been presented to the City of Hickory, a time for Aquatics well crafted. According to your own survey the entire city of Hickory embraces this central aquatics facility. 82 % of residents, whom you represent, who voted for you want this facility. Thirty thousand dollars worth of community input should be persuasive?

The Rudy Wright Memorial competition pool would be a fitting name for the showcase venue of the Aquatics center. Imagine the cannonball splashes at the ribbon-cutting?

Imagine swim teams from the area, potentially nationwide, in competitions, family members splashing, playing, enjoying the water. Imagine all the children of Hickory learning the lifelong skill of swimming and water safety. Since Mayor Wright has said and promised on many occasions every child in Hickory should be a swimmer. Imagine Hickory could produce more college-level swimmers with full scholarship rides to universities like Virginia Tech, Harvard, Yale, Duke and UNC. Lenoir Rhyne University swimming teams hosting local collegiate competitions, Hickory High swim team hosting regional and state championships. Hickory has a proud history of swimming success with great coaches like Paul Schiffel with his LRU and CVAC teams, Jon Jolly and the Seahorses at the Y , and Cathy Hitchcock at Hickory High Red Tornados or should it be Typhoons for the watery setting? Imagine what they can do with a facility that meets their talents and those of the swimmers???

Let's think even bigger maybe some Olympians? Yes, Hickory Aquatic Olympians well-crafted. I challenge the Park and Rec to produce Olympic athletes in any sport, but especially in the aquatic arena. This would be an inspiration to all the citizens of Hickory. Sails in the Square could lead to Sails on Lake Hickory with sailing regattas, paddleboard competitions, open water swims, but this all starts with a aquatic facility.

This is not an "amenity"! Look at the statistics for deaths from drowning versus deaths from fires. We have a fine fire department with a great record, what we need is a Department of Water Safety. This is a public health issue. This is an economic issue, with jobs springing from training of fire and rescue personnel, lifeguards, recreational professionals, jobs that lead to healthier lifestyles and less Misery. Sorry the HDR missed reporting it but we are the 5th most miserable place to live in the country, and we all know misery loves company, so let's snap out of it City Council be leaders well crafted, be city staff well crafted.

The citizens of Hickory want an aquatic facility that meets the same standards of being well-crafted that City Council has set. You, City Council, have set the bar high so now is the chance to show us what you are made of. Don't be petty, be crafty, embrace it! Enjoy it, revel in it, and remember it is for all of us but especially the kids. Imagine if little Zahra Baker had been on the city's swim team? Just maybe someone would have noticed the bruises and abuse. Let's honor her and build a swimming facility and provide the programming that can make this swimming facility a home for all our citizens and future Olympians.

3) (19:00) - Slade Kosova - The need for an Aquatics facility

4) (22:35) - James Thomas Shell - Unfair Assessments and Unethical Practices

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

I would like to start out by speaking to you about Jesus Parables of Minding your own business and Looking out for number one.

Have any of you heard those? You haven't, because they don't exist. And yet it is the advice that has been prevalently given to me over the years in this community and is one of the biggest problems that we face. A community that looks out towards everyone's interests is a community with a more solid foundation. The resilient community that we wish to be.

The first issue that I would like to address is the property that was 1859 Cafe. This was my Aunt's Restaurant. This property was assessed for $184,200 in 2003 and in 2007 the assessment was raised to $205,100. She is in the process of closing on the property and selling it for... $35,000.

I have learned a lot about the predatory aspects of the local economy through this process of my Aunt shedding herself of the burden that 1859 became. She wanted to sell the restaurant when my Grandmother was in the process of passing away, because she was putting all of these hours of work into the place and she was losing money. She has been paying hundreds of dollars a month at the commercial rate to Hickory Inc. and Duke Power even after she had closed the business and y'all hadn't even picked up the garbage in months.

My whole family sacrificed blood, sweat, and tears in that place for 27 years. My Uncle died while running an errand for items Jane needed on the morning of March 31, 2007. We buried him six years ago tomorrow.

This city has sat back and allowed that side of town to become run down. We never felt like y'all were on our side. That area used to have several viable businesses that have all left one by one over the last decade and now all that is left are rundown buildings and thrift stores and other non-profit endeavors related to poverty.

This woman was contracted to sell my Aunt's property as an agent and auctioneer, including the building, and she did not operate in my Aunt's best interest. She really made no attempt to sell the building and the items inside the building were literally sold for pennies on the dollar and she stripped the hood and ansul system and a walkin cooler from the kitchen and sold them for scrap to one of the local recycling businesses, destroying the viability to use the place as a restaurant any longer. That drastically reduced the options to market the place and thus cost my Aunt a lot of money. Basically my Aunt was robbed in plain daylight.

I personally contacted the North Carolina Auction Licensing Board and this woman has been reprimanded and sanctioned for what she did, but the damage has been done to my family and pardon me for not chugging from the Fountain of Optimism I hear in here on a continuous basis. Oh and that is the Link House, the second oldest building in Hickory, and it will be demolished by the new owners.

My mother owns a Townhouse in West Hickory and it is on the books assessed at $53,000 by Catawba County. She is in charge of the homeowners association where she lives. She knows what is going on. This is not conjecture. The last couple of properties sold where she lives have sold for less than $40,000. A property there has currently gone through the foreclosure process and the agent placed in charge of its sale told my mother that they hoped to get $35,000 for that property.

Better yet, there are people that have fallen way behind on their Homeowners Association dues including the properties that have been foreclosed on. The banks say that they aren't going to pay the Homeowner's Association dues in arrears, present, or future. These people have walked away from their obligations and the other homeowners are going to have to eat these amounts in arrears at the same time that they are paying taxes on assessments that clearly aren't valid.

What is my solution? Reality. I will talk to Catawba County about this, but it is high time that these property assessments match the realistic value of these homes. I can go on and on about unrealistically assessed properties in this community.

We need to get real. Anyone with a clue understands that two factors go into the local property tax bills. The assessed property value x The Property Rate = The amount owed. You basically claim that you haven't gone up on property taxes in 18 years, when I think everyone here would say that their taxes have gone up over that span. It is a disingenuous claim. Fix the assessments and raise the rates if you have to, but it is high time to be honest about the realities of the marketplace and it is high time to be more vigilant about these unethical practitioners that I have mentioned. It is time to stop turning a blind eye towards this stuff.

I have a Long Memory. This is my family that has been taken advantage of, don't think it can't happen to you.

The anger, the bitterness, the resentment that I feel towards some of what I have witnessed in this community has been honed and forged in steel. It is a feeling that many have in this community, but instead of sitting back in hopelessness and despair, I have resolved to take a stand, with the help of a few, to move this community forward into dealing with reality. As long as I am here, I will continue to do my part.

Matthew 25:40 talks about looking out for the "Least of These." It is time to start looking out for our neighbors. I am not the Judge. There is a higher Authority.

5) (30:05) - David Zagaroli - Public Arts - World Renowned Studio of Clay Structures designed by John Hare

6) (31:40) - John Hare - Official Sculptor for the Olympics in the past and he wants to create a sculpture park here in Hickory.

7) (36:05) - Cliff Moone - Speaks about Video Taping the meetings and speaks about North Carolina House Bill 150. We need to have an educated citizenry. The Legislature is moving towards usurping local government authority.

8) (40:25) - J. Franklin Davis - Speaks about the Gallup-Healthway study and other studies and obesity and health in this community.

Public Hearing -
1. (52:10) - Consider Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice and Plan to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing.

2. (1:01:20) - Consider Amendment to the City’s Community Development Block Grant Budget and Action Plan

Departmental Reports

1. (1:10:45) - Consideration and Approval of a Facility Lease Agreement with Hickory Music Factory. Inc.

2. (1:22:20) -  Present Offer in the HUD Housing Discrimination Complaints, Billy Sudderthet al vs the City of Hickory

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sadly good sir, yours is not the only family that has been leveraged in such a manner. I regret and lament the fact this has been done to you and yours, but I'm not surprised.

No, they don't raise the tax rate, they inflate the value of the property. Except on those that own vast tracts classified as 'farmland'. That hasn't felt the bite of the plow in decades.

Strange isn't it how when you need help, the line is non-existent, but the line to take advantage of extends down the block and around the corner.

Strange isn't it how in a community that professes such a devout following of Christ and Christian principles that will take from their fellow man in such a fashion you almost feel raped and borders on criminal?

"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God." Mark 10:25. Many in this town are banking on that needle being the size of the Washington Monument.