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Friday, May 9, 2014

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of May 6, 2014

I began video recording the City Council in 2012, 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 May 6, 2014

Thoughts about last night's Hickory City Council meeting - May 6, 2014

Invocation by Rev. Whit Malone, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church


Special Presentations
A. Proclamation for National Police Week May 11-17, 2014. -
Mayor Wright read and presented the National Police Week Proclamation to Chief Tom Adkins, and other members of the Hickory Police Department.

B. Proclamation for Lupus Awareness Month May 2014. - Mayor Wright read and presented the Lupus Awareness Month Proclamation to Ms. Angela Berasa.

Mayor Wright recognized Scouts in attendance from First United Methodist Church, Troop 234, and Scouts from Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Troop 300.
Mayor Wright also recognized students from Ms. Davis’, St. Stephens Honor Civics class.

Persons Requesting to be Heard 
Cliff Moone addressed Council on Inspiring Spaces. He commented that he is for Inspiring Spaces and for letting the people have a referendum to let Council know how they feel. He believes in referendums, and he also believes in Council making decisions. He knows that when we do things, when we go up, and standup, and start doing something, new people will come. It will be a good thing. He has served on Inspiring Spaces Committees and on Innovate Catawba, and he has seen the ideas. He is not for every idea that is put out there, and he will challenge them when he feels the need. He is with Council, he if for this, and he hopes Council is for it, and fully behind it. He thinks it will make our City a better place to live work and grow.

Larry Popeaddressed Council on Inspiring Spaces. He stated he was taking a different position than Reverend Moone took on Inspiring Spaces. He has been disappointed within the last several years about how money, City Council has spent, and City Council not accounting for the expenditure of that money. He stated that City Council had disbanded the Inspiring Spaces Committee because, when they went to Charlotte to meet with the consultants, they found out as a City Council that Committee could not exist, and Council will do a referendum for the funding that Council feels is needed for the Inspiring Spaces. He stated that once a referendum is done the same Committee will be reappointed, because that is the only legal way that Council can do it. He is tired of Council playing games with the City to accomplish the things that Council wants to accomplish that may not be the best for this City. He referenced survey’s done regarding the swimming pools, and commented that it was voted by citizens in Northeast, Northwest Hickory, that they wanted a swimming pool in every quadrant of the City, and a centrally located swimming pool. Council paid for that survey, and for those consultants to do the work. Council turned around, because they got bit in the backside, because they did not expect those citizens to vote that way, and put that on the shelf, and it is somewhere on a shelf collecting dust. If Council can’t raise the taxes, then they are talking about doing a bond referendum to have every citizen in this City to pay for a bond. That work may not be done within their communities to improve their communities, but they are going to have to pay for that bond. He stated that he will be the most outspoken person that ever existed to encourage citizens to vote against that bond. He will also be very vocal to encourage citizens to raise cane if Council tries to raise their taxes, because we have so many senior citizens in our City that are property owners, that cannot afford to have their taxes raised. Council spent, they claim, $500,000 plus dollars for the Sails on the Square, Council took the money that was designated for a parking deck and used it. When that money was raised for that parking deck, which was much needed downtown, what is going to happen now to folks that come downtown for events and there is nowhere to park. We are going to have to quit telling citizens that we are raising money for one thing, and then turn around and do something else with those funds. Bond referendum, no. Raising taxes, no. Council can find another way to do what they want to do.

Consent Agenda:

Item L was removed from the Consent Agenda and discussed - Release of Bond Claim and Assignment of Claims Executed by the City of Hickory to Westchester Fire Insurance Company. - Council previously declared American LaFrance to be in default of a contract to build a ladder engine truck for the Hickory Fire Department after American LaFrance closed its operation and failed to deliver the truck to the City. American LaFrance had purchased a performance bond from Westchester Fire Insurance to cover such instances of default. Notice was given to Westchester in March that the City was making a claim on the bond for the amount paid to American LaFrance for the ladder truck in the amount of $729,864. Westchester has investigated the City’s claim on the bond and made the determination the claim is valid. Westchester will pay the claim in full subject to the City executing a release form. The release form was received and reviewed. Seeing no issues with the release’s provisions, staff executed the release and returned to Westchester to expedite the process. Staff requests Council to ratify the execution of the release and assignment of claims.

Informational Item
A. Report of Mayor Wright’s travel to Asheville, North Carolina

New Business - Departmental Reports
1. Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant for 56 3rd Street SE - Dave Leonetti Presentation - Unanimous Consent

2. Street Resurfacing - Public Services Director, Chuck Hansen will present an analysis of the City’s street program resurfacing.  - Chuck Hanson - Unanimous Consent

General Comments
Alderman Seaver stated that he was substituting at Hickory High School and had attended the Academic Awards Banquet and Dr. Blake Brandes was the speaker. He was a former Key Club President of Hickory High in 2002. He works in a Champions for Kids program raising money to help kids. He has helped over a million kids in three years. At the Key Club Banquet, the year that he was President, Graylyn Scholarship Committee was present there to observe him, and interview him after the banquet. He received that prestigious scholarship through Wake Forest. While at Wake Forest he received the Marshall Scholarship, which paid for his Masters, and his PhD at Kent University in England. While there, he was operating a business, he was making albums while he was in High School. Alderman Seaver tried to get Mr. Brandes to attend the Kiwanis meeting to speak but he was busy with some other schools in the Rowan Salisbury School District, and some others around the State. He is moving from New York City to San Diego as well. Alderman Seaver commented that maybe we could get him to attend a Council meeting to speak.

Alderman Seaver also commented that he had Kiwanis pancake tickets for sale. The event would take place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.

Mayor Wright commented that it is good breakfast and the money is for the kids.


Hound's Notes: Not much to add to the notes. Go read my thoughts about the meeting. The next meeting will be the City Manager's recommended budget. I saw in the Hickory Daily Record that Newton raised its tax rate to cover operational costs and also spoke about the loss in revenue due to loss of property value. That is exactly what I was addressing in my notes. Just to remain revenue neutral, Hickory Inc. is going to have to raise the property tax rate; add to that the monies they want to spend on their proposed projects and there should be a substantial increase in the property tax rate. 

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