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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of October 15, 2013

I began recording the City Council late last year, because of my desire that the City do it on their own as any modern 21st century community began doing long ago. I had people tell me that they couldn't make it to the meetings, but they would like to see what is going on. I was also told by some council members that my summaries did not truly reflect the record, so having a video/audio recording cannot be misinterpreted.

So below is the City Council meeting. Beside each agenda item, you will see the minute:second. Now you can click on that minute link and it will take you to that specific point in the meeting. You can drag the marker on the video display to the point in the broadcast that you are interested in seeing.

 City Council Action Agenda - October 15, 2013

Highlighted Links below take you straight to that point in the video.

Special Presentations
A. Dave Paist, Business Development Committee, Presentation of the Business Well Crafted Award to Shurtape Technologies, LLC, Stephen Shuford - (Description from the City website Action Agenda) Mr. David Paist of the Business Development Committee, (BDC), stated that the BDC is a team of community volunteers who advise the City on business related opportunities. Their mission is to identify ideas that could directly, or indirectly, grow our economy, and make recommendations about those ideas to our elected officials and City staff. The Business Well Craft Award was established to recognize and thank those businesses and their employees that have influenced this community for generations and continue to do so today. The award honors a business that has been operating in the Hickory area for at least 75 years. He honored, Stephen Shuford, a direct descendent of a business that has been a big part of the Hickory community life for more than 130 years. Since 1880, generations of Hickory men and women have worked for Shuford Mills, somewhere in the Catawba Valley. They and their families have helped shape the community we are today. The business, Shurtape Technologies, LLC was split from Shuford Mills in 1996, and reborn as an independent business. Since the rebirth, Shurtape has grown into a global corporation of 15 facilities in eight countries with a reputation as an industry leader. They are known for their “Duck” brand of duct tape. Today, Shurtape Technologies employees 700 people locally. Together with their families they represent several thousand of our citizens. This new company is built on the roots of an old business and continues to help craft life in Hickory. There is no material award which could properly represent the value that this company and their employees bring to the community. He presented the award to Stephen Shuford, on behalf of Shurtape Technologies, LLC. Mr. Stephen Shuford commented that Shurtape has very much enjoyed doing business in the community. There has been a lot of change, a different business, a different company all together than they were. He stated that it has been the resiliency of this community and their employees that have made that possible. He thanked Council for the award.

B. Proclamation for Extra Mile Day, November 1, 2013 and Recognition of Community Relation Council’s 2013 Human Relations Award Winners: Dr. Brian Vierling, Edward Rogers, Peggy Shuford and Elaine Young  - (Description from the City Website Action Agenda)

C. Presentation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2013 by Paula Hodges, Audit Partner with Martin Starnes & Associates

Persons Requesting to Be Heard
Cliff Moone - Mr. Cliff Moone  addressed Council on broadcasting City Council meetings. During the primary campaigns it came to his attention, while attending the forums and events, that at least two of the candidates running for Mayor and several of the candidates as well, all but one, running for City Council, have expressed in those forums a desire and an interest in seeing the Council Meetings put on the Charter Cable public access channel. The audience reacted, especially at Lenoir Rhyne University, with applause for that idea. He stated that he advocates for that idea. He stated it is a desire of his and others, and Council, to make this as transparent and open a part of government as anywhere in the State and the County. He stated another reason, he could not imagine anything more uplifting and more appropriate to have out in the community, even in a larger way, than the people who were fortunate to hear about these activities that people are pursing in our City that benefit so many people. He urged Council to consider doing this and doing it as soon as possible.

Consent Agenda: 

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Approval of a Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant for Piedmont Wagon Properties, LLC for Property Located at 1020 Main Ave NW in the amount of $30,000. - Piedmont Wagon Properties, LLC has applied for a Vacant Building Revitalization Grant in the amount of $30,000 to assist in the renovation of the former Piedmont Wagon Mill located at 1020 Main Avenue NW. The applicant plans to invest approximately $2.3 million in real property improvements to rehabilitate the mill building for use as office space. (Council approved with an unanimous 6-0 Consent)

 2. Quarterly Financial Report - Assistant City Manager and Chief Financial Officer Warren Wood reports.

General Comments
Mayor Wright commented that we just concluded a very successful convention of the North Carolina League of Municipalities at the convention center. That is one of the most prestigious conventions in the State of North Carolina every year. We are proud to be in the rotation. He recognized Hamilton Ward, former Ward 1, Council Member, who got us in that rotation. Our Staff do such a good job; everyone wants to come back to Hickory. They had a wonderful time at the opening event on Sunday night, dancing to the Extraordinaires, a local Hickory group, on the lawn between the Art Museum, the SALT Block, and the Library. The Museum and the Science Center were open; people were getting tours, and getting to see what we have there. Everyone was amazed that it is almost exclusively privately funded.

Alderwoman Patton thanked the Lady Elks for their volunteer work and the Staff. She has had so many people say that everyone was just bent over backwards to make sure that everyone had a really good time. It was a great event. She thanked the Art Museum Staff, Library Staff, Fire, Police, Public Services and the Street Department, everybody.

Mayor Wright read the Host City Committee list: Mandy Pitts, Mick Berry, Terry Clark, John Crone, Yaidee Fox, Louise Humphrey, Steve Miller, Gary Lee, Derrick Martin, Chuck Hansen, Andrea Surratt, Dee Blackwell with the Council of Government (COG), a number of people from the Convention Center and the Tourism Development Authority (TDA). Liazzo’s did a wonderful job. They did a great job. They couldn’t get over what we had to show them when they took them on the Inspiring Spaces Tour. It is sort of like dominoes, someone sees what we have done, they hear how it was funded, and they say they think they will try that with their building. We are in the very early stages of that; just think what we can accomplish here. Alderman Meisner commended the Street Division, they re-mulched that interchange and it looked great.

Mayor Wright commented that the Accounting Department, the Finance Department, the Budget people doesn’t get any recognition; no one writes a letter to the editor talking about the great service they get out of the Accounting Department. They also don’t get the other kind of letters  He was at West End BBQ at 5:30 in the morning, and he opened the paper, and there was a letter about getting potholes fixed. He stated that the Street crew came in and he asked them who was in charge of the potholes. The Street Department made it to the newspaper.

Alderwoman Patton commented that the Carolina Cycle Challenge was a huge success, two Sundays ago. There were over 700 registered riders. The Street Department did a super job, Police, and Fire, and the collaboration with the YMCA. It is a form of Brett’s ride with tremendous support from the Gosnell family. They appreciate the City’s involvement in it with the Rotary Groups in Hickory; it was a fantastic Sunday morning, great weather as well.

Mayor Wright stated that part of the story about the street crew was they were out at 5:30 am, having breakfast, which was really their lunch, because they had already worked three or four hours. They were out getting everything in shape for the “big shots” coming into town. They had a great exchange. We have wonderful staff at every level, and we can be proud of them, they make the Council look good.

Alderman Guess commented that Oktoberfest was a huge success. He stated it was jammed packed, with cars and people everywhere. The Police and Staff did a fine job in making  sure that everything went smoothly. He heard good comments about it.

Alderman Seaver stated that the Greater Hickory Classic is in full swing this week. He stated he would be out on the weekend on hole number eight with the Kiwanis Club.

Mayor Wright commented that there is still room for volunteers. Alderman Seaver commented that generates approximately 15 million dollars in income for the Greater Hickory Metro area.

Mr. Mick Berry stated it does and he was disappointed that the newspaper did not report on the  impact of the North Carolina League meeting in Hickory as well. Every single hotel room was  booked in Hickory for three and a half or four days, depending on how some people came in.  Alderman Seaver stated he heard it was very difficult to find one.

Mayor Wright stated that a lot of these people are decision makers in business, as well as politics in their communities. When they come here, and they see what we have, and they go back, only good things are going to happen for Hickory. He is glad we have the convention center and he is glad that Hamilton Ward got us in the rotation, and everyone would have been proud to hear the comments this week.

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