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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of December 3, 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. With each agenda item, you can click on the links and it will take you to that specific point in the meeting. You can always drag the marker on the video display to the point in the broadcast that you are interested in seeing.

Agenda about the City Council meeting of December 3, 2013

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

Invocation by Rev. John Duncan, Pastor Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Senior Chaplain – Hickory
Fire Department

Oaths of Office Ceremony

Recognition of Retiring Ward 5 Alderwoman Sally Fox
Hound: Thank You Mrs. Fox for your years of service. There are issues that I disagree with you on and there are issues I agree with you 1,000% on. The issues where we differ, I believe that your heart is in the right place and you want to see the city progress. Myself and others just have a different idea about how to get there. Thank You for the stand that you and Mrs. Patton took in bringing Citizens Requesting to be Heard back to the front of the Agenda and making it relevant again.

Election of Mayor Pro Tempore for Calendar Year 2014 Pursuant to NC General Statute §260A-
70 and Section 2-54 of the Hickory City Code.

Appointment of a City Attorney for Calendar Year 2014 Pursuant to the Hickory City Code, Section 4.151 of the Charter.

Special Presentations
A. Community Appearance Commission’s 2013 Beautification Awards Presentation -

Persons Requesting to Be Heard
Larry Pope speaks about the Municipal election system in Hickory and the grievances that the people in Ward 4 have against it.

David Crosby speaks about issues on Old Lenoir Road including the speed limit and he speaks about taxes being returned to the local businesses. (From the beginning - City Version)

Consent Agenda:

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Inspiring Spaces Update - Staff will review the last Inspiring Spaces Steering Committee discussions and outline the next steps.

I addressed this in my Initial thoughts about the meeting.

2. Approval of a Recommendation from Parks and Recreation Commission Establishing a Tobacco Free Parks Policy. - There is a current initiative underway between the Catawba County Public Health Department and the North Carolina Community Transformation Grant Project in a unified effort that would establish tobacco free parks in all local governments within Catawba County. Municipalities in the county currently have smoke free policies in place for buildings. All City of Hickory buildings have been smoke free since 1993. Additionally, discussions have been underway for several years to establish tobacco free grounds policies across the county as well. Staff presented two (2) tobacco free parks policies to the Parks and Recreation Commission for consideration at their October 8, 2013 meeting. The first policy option would prohibit the use of tobacco products in all park areas. The second policy option stipulates that tobacco products may be used only in the paved parking lots located in the parks. Whichever policy is adopted would become effective January 1, 2014.

The City Council passed the policy that states that smoking will not be allowed anywhere on park property. Initially it seemed that they would follow the Parks and Recreation Commissions recommendation that smoking would be allowed in the parking lots. The vote was 4-3 with Meisner, Guess, Zagaroli, and Patton supporting a total ban. Lail, Wright, and Seaver voted against the measure, but seemed that they would support the ban with a provision allowing people to smoke in the parking lot.

Hound: I don't smoke, but this isn't enforceable and is another arbitrary administration of government power. If someone is in their car smoking in the parking lot is someone going to tell them they can't do so? And this could get testy. They say the police won't be involved, but someone (in a position of authority) is going to be involved. We deal with this in the restaurant business all the time and sometimes people do get testy about it.

3. Analysis of City Manager’s Employment Agreement - At the November 19, 2013 City Council meeting, Mayor Wright asked that at the next meeting staff provide explanation of how the City Manager’s pay is determined. The manager will review the employment agreement and salary history since his employment in August 2004.

Hound: The City Manager makes $165,000 a year not including benefits. That is over 5x what the median income is in Hickory $27,866 (2010).

General Comments
Alderman Lail speaks about Lenoir Rhyne University being in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II football playoffs

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