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.
City Council Agenda - August 5, 2014
Thoughts about the Hickory City Council meeting - August 5, 2014
The Hound's Notes:
1) Long Agenda, but they rolled through it pretty quickly, other than the Hickory Housing Authority Grant issue and Warren Woods presentation on the Quarterly Financial Report.
2) Want to reiterate my initial thought about this meeting from the other night that you can find in the link above.
3) Quarterly Financial report may look good in a static and targeted fashion, but when assessed within the current overarching environment it sure looks like a Dead Cat Bounce to me. Please factor in inflation in the numbers. The CPI may be showing 2% to 3% inflation over the past 7 years, but that isn't what we are experiencing in the real world. You've been to the grocery store... You've paid your utility bills... Warren shows deflation in the housing market = 6% decrease in assessments in the upcoming year, but think about people who bought their houses before the Real Estate Depression. Many are paying mortgages based upon those bubble prices at the same time that their income is stagnant or declining... and Hickory Inc. and Catawba County Inc. will raise taxes to achieve Revenue Neutrality... speaking of which, have you seen the number of homes on the market around here and it has begun to swell in Northwest Hickory now. In Hickory, we have been claiming that Fast Food restaurants = Economic growth. That is idiocy.
*** I will re-edit to put in the direct links to the different parts of the meeting this evening. I've had delays in producing this material due to other obligations, including the situation with my maternal grandmother. I will do my best to provide information as soon as possible, but there may be delays for now and the immediate future. Peace and Thanks!
Invocation by Alderman Danny Seaver
Alderman Zagaroli had Item I removed from the Consent Agenda - I. Approval of a Contract with Varrow, Inc. in the Amount of $367,114.50 for Data Center Upgrades to the City’s Network. - his question related to how the bidding process worked and was awarded. There was a limited discussion before the Council voted unanimously to approve this contract along with the rest of the agenda.
New Business - Public Hearings
1. Resolution Confirming and Levying Assessment Along a portion of 8th Street Drive NW, Petition Number 01-14 (Curb and Gutter). - The City Clerk received a petition from the owner of property along 8th Street Drive NW to install curb and gutter along a portion of their street per Section 29-2 of the Hickory Code of Ordinances. The City Council adopted a Resolution Directing that Street Improvement Project be Undertaken on April 1, 2014, and the project was completed on June 12, 2014. The Preliminary Assessment Roll for Petition No. 01-14 has been prepared based on the curb and gutter constructed along 8th Street Drive NW. Staff recommends that Resolution Confirming and Levying Assessment be approved. This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on July 18, 2014.
2. Consideration of Rezoning Petition 14-01 for Property Located at 1218 Bugle Lane, Newton. - The City of Hickory has petitioned for rezoning of .479 acres of property located at 1218 Bugle Lane. The petition is to rezone the property from Catawba County R-20 Residential to City of Hickory Low Density Residential – 1 (R-1). The requested rezoning has been put forth to assign City zoning to a property that was recently annexed. Hickory Regional Planning Commission held a public hearing to consider the petition on June 25, 2014, and voted unanimously to forward a recommendation of approval to Hickory City Council. This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on July 25, 2014 and August 1, 2014.
3. Consideration of Adoption of ABC Permit / Local Opinion Ordinance. - Hickory Police Department requests adoption of an ordinance authorizing access to State Bureau of Investigation / Division of Criminal Information (DCI) system for the purpose of obtaining criminal history information on ABC permit applicants to determine their suitability to be an ABC permit holder within the City of Hickory. North Carolina Administrative Code requires the City of the local law
enforcement agency to have an ordinance in place authorizing access to criminal record information on all persons applying for ABC permits for proposed locations within their jurisdiction for the agency to be granted access to computerized DCI information for this purpose. This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on July 18, 2014.
4. Issuance of General Obligation Bond Order for $25,000,000 of Streets and Sidewalks Bonds. - The public hearing is conducted to authorize the issuance of each general bond order and to discuss all matters concerning the proposed general obligation bond orders. The proposed bond referendum consists of $25,000,000 of Streets and Sidewalks Bonds. Funds will be used to construct, enlarge and improve certain streets, roads and intersections including the costs of studies, plans and designs. The improvements will include streetscape and pedestrian improvements, signage, landscaping, pedestrian/bicycle paths and relocation of utilities. Funds will be used to acquire land, rights-of-way and easements as necessary for each Inspiring Spaces project. Authorize the issuance of a general obligation bond order for $25,000,000 of Streets and Sidewalks Bonds. This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on July 25, 2014.
a. Request City Council adopt the Bond Orders without change or amendment and direct the City Clerk to publish a notice of adoption, as prescribed by the Local Government Bond Act, of the general obligation streets and sidewalks bond order entitled, “Bond Order Authorizing the Issuance of $25,000,000 General Obligation Streets and Sidewalks Bonds of the City of Hickory, North Carolina,” which was introduced at the meeting of the City Council held on July 15, 2014.
5. Issuance of General Obligation Bond Order for $15,000,000 of Economic Development Bonds. - The public hearing is conducted to authorize the issuance of each general bond and to discuss all matters concerning the proposed general obligation bond orders. The proposed bond referendum consists of $15,000,000 of Economic Development Bonds. Funds will be used to provide land and improvements suitable for industrial and commercial purposes, including the acquisition of land rights-of-way and easements for industrial and commercial purposes and providing public infrastructure and facilities in order to make land and improvements suitable for industrial and commercial purposes. Authorize the issuance of a general obligation bond order for $15,000,000 of Economic Development Bonds. This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on July 25, 2014.
a. Request City Council adopt the Bond Orders without change or amendment and direct the City Clerk to publish a notice of adoption, as prescribed by the Local Government Bond Act, of the general obligation economic development bond order entitled “Bond Order Authorizing the Issuance of $15,000,000 General Obligation Economic Development Bonds of the City of Hickory, North Carolina,” which was introduced at the meeting of the City Council held on July 15, 2014.
New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Approval of a Resolution Setting a Special Bond Referendum, Directing the Publication of Notice of a Special Bond Referendum, and Providing Notification to the Catawba County Board of Elections. - The bond orders will be submitted to the voters of the City of Hickory, North Carolina for their approval or disapproval in order to comply with the constitution and laws of North Carolina at the November 4, 2014 Special Bond Referendum. A Notice “City of Hickory, North Carolina Notice of Special Bond Referendum” will be published in the Hickory Daily Record at least twice by the City Clerk to notify qualified voters of the November 4, 2014 Special Bond Referendum. The City Clerk will deliver a certified copy of the Resolution setting the Special Bond Referendum to the Catawba County Board of Elections. The Board of Elections will print and distribute the ballots and provide equipment to hold the November 4, 2014 Referendum. Staff recommends approval of a Resolution to set a Special Bond Referendum, publish notice of a Special Bond Referendum, and notify the Catawba County Board of Elections.
2. Consider Hickory Housing Authority’s request to have the City of Hickory make Application for a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. - Hickory Housing Authority contacted City Staff June 30th about applying for a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant. This Federal program through HUD provides up to $500,000 in funding to eligible municipalities to develop comprehensive neighborhood transformation plans in areas that contain distressed public housing. The project will emphasize revitalization of public housing sites, develop a plan for new mixed income housing in the target area and in other locations across Catawba County, and address other needed infrastructure improvements. Hickory Housing Authority has contracted with the Wooten Company to assist in the preparation of the grant application. The required grant match will be provided by Hickory Housing Authority. The City of Hickory would be the main applicant for the grant with Hickory Housing Authority as the co-applicant. The grant is for planning services only. A future application would need to be made to HUD for implementation of funds. Andrea Surratt Presentation.
Dr. Myles, member of the board of the Hickory Public Housing Authority, allowed to address the City Council.
Larry Pope, former member of the board of the Hickory Public Housing Authority, not allowed to address the City Council and ruled out of order by the City Council.
3. Park 1764 Option Payment. - With County Commissioner approval of zoning of the 178 acres, Park 1764 progresses to the step of the first payment of the option agreements. The option costs are shared 50-50 with Catawba County and tie up the property for seven years. Hickory’s share of the first year option payment is $103,189 and is recommended to be transferred from General Fund Contingency.
4. Quarterly Financial Report - presentation by Warren Wood
Mayor Wright commented that he had been in D.C. over the weekend visiting his son, in a multiuse neighborhood. His son lives on the third floor of a multiuse building, and on the first floor is a 7-Eleven. Next to the 7-Eleven is a Verizon store, and then down the street is an entire city block that is a shopping mall with Target, Best Buy and a number of other large names. That area is considered a success story because in addition to the mixed use, they have greatly changed the proportion of low income to middle and high income people. A pretty decent place.
Mr. Berry recognized students in attendance, Thomas McBrayer and Cole Lackey. Cole will be doing an internship with the City and is a rising senior at Hickory High, a bright capable young man that is interested in local government and politics. Cole will receive High School credit for his internship with the City this fall.
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