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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of March 17, 2015

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 March 17, 2015


The Hound's Notes: Another week being sick and under the weather is the reason why it has taken me a while to get this out. A couple years ago in July, I had some water seep into the basement when we had that flood. That wasn't long after my grandmother had passed, so I never have gotten the room fixed back the way I wanted to. The carpet down there had some dry rot like sandy stuff underneath it and I should have worn a mask, but didn't. I think there was some mold in it and pretty much by the next day I wasn't feeling too great. I thought I could deal with it, but it pretty much took over and I went to the doctor and am finally getting back to recovery. Lesson, if you are going to clean something old, musty, and/or dusty, even if it isn't visible, wear a  mask. It will save you a lot of hassle.

As far as this meeting went, I read the article from the Hickory Daily Record wondering if Tenet was looking to sell Frye Hospital. I was in the chambers and listened to the new CEO Mark Benz address the Council and I didn't come away with any thought that tenet was looking to sell. What I came away with was that Tenet is looking to strategically partner with Non-Profits and Educational/Research facilities. I spoke about this six years ago in the Time to put the Puzzle together series. Because of out geographical location, we need to partner with Wake Forest University (Baptist Hospital), The UNC Hospital system, and/or Duke University Medical Center. Those facilities can provide the personnel and resources that we need in our area. Scott Millar, of the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation,  has been working on these connections. Lenoir-Rhyne University and CVCC have been creating new facilities and programs related to the medical field and industry. Whether you like it or not, the Medical system is a social issue. On average, we have an aging and obese population in our area. I spoke about this in the 21st century platform for Hickory series -- an Agenda on Health and Wellness. It is going to have to be dealt with on a multitude of levels. Tenet is only looking to maximize its resources. I didn't hear a checkers conversation the other night from Mr. Benz. I heard a chess conversation.

The Hound believes that the Downtown infrastructure is going to cost more to revitalize than what we are seeing below. Kevin Greer says as much when he basically states that they won't know what all the issues are until they get into it. I believe/speculate that this is where some of that Bond Referendum money is going to be spent.

Warren Wood is going to be hard to replace. He is a Hickory native and he did a very good job directing the budget in this lean decade. I haven't heard much about a search for a replacement. Many may not know that Mike Bennett left back in October to take a job as a town manager in Colorado. He was a quasi- Assistant City Manager. The only current Assistant City Manager at the end of this month will be Andrea Surratt. 


Invocation by Rev. Antonio Logan, Friendship Baptist Church

Special Presentations
A. Mark Benz, CEO Frye Regional Medical Center

B. Presentation of the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the Fiscal Year Beginning July 1, 2014. This is the twentieth consecutive year the City has received this recognition.

Consent Agenda
Item N was removed from the Consent Agenda by Alderman Lail with the consent of the Council, the rest of the Agenda passed unanimously - N. Approval of a Resolution Supporting the Water Supply Master Plan as Developed by the Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group. - The Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group (CEEMG) was formed in 2006 and later incorporated as a 501C-3 non-profit organization in 2007 as a result of Duke Energy relicensing of the Catawba River as a series of power supply reservoirs. The CWWMG was formed by 18 public water supplies and Duke Energy to create a group whose sole interest was in benefiting and extending the useful life of the precious resource known as the Catawba River. This group has commissioned several studies to better understand the overall health of the Catawba River and what things could be done to extend the useful life of the Catawba River. The Water Supply Master Plan is a comprehensive study that was undertaken by the CWWMG with the goal of updating the basin wide water model to understand current conditions and evaluating future strategies that will assist the basin with extending the useful life of the Catawba River past year 2100. Staff recommends Council’s approval of this Resolution supporting the Water Supply Master Plan as developed by the Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group.

Alderman Lail asked that this item be removed. He wants a full presentation made about this agreement at one of the next two City Council meetings. The Council agreed unanimously.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1.  Kevin Greer presentation regarding Central Business District Infrastructure Replacement (Sewer, Water, and Storm Runoff)...
    (a) Approval of an Agreement for Consulting Services with Gavel & Dorn, PLLC in the amount of $268,000.
    (b) Approval of an Application for State Revolving Loan Funds from NC Construction Grants and Loans for Sanitary Sewer Lines to Serve the Central Business District and Approval of a Resolution Approving Provisions of Required Assistance and Agreements and Designating the Authorized Representative.
    (c) Budget Ordinance Amendment Number 15. - 1. Transfer $268,000 of W&S Capital Reserve - Appropriated Fund Balance to the Water and Sewer Capital Project Fund. This transfer is necessary to pay for Engineering Services for the Central Business District Waterline, Sewer Line and Storm Drainage Rehabilitation Project.
    (d) Capital Project Ordinance Number Two. - 1. Accept and budget a $268,000 transfer from W&S Capital Reserve-Appropriated Fund Balance to the Water and Sewer Fund Central Business District Waterline, Sewer Line and Storm Drainage Rehabilitation Project. These funds are necessary to pay for Engineering Services for the Central Business District project.

2. Consideration of a Priority Use Agreement with the Greater Hickory Tennis Association for Tennis Complex Improvements at Hickory City Park. - Mack McLeod presentation

3. Community Appearance and Landscape Incentive Grant Guidelines. - Presentation by Andrew Straw, Chairman of the Community Appearance Commission.

General Comments
Several comments were made to Assistant City Manager Warren Wood related to his departure to the City of Waxhaw where he will be the Town Manager.

Mayor Wright advised that Mr. Warren Wood was attending his last Council meeting as Assistant City Manager of the City of Hickory. Mr. Wood had been with the City for 22 years, and Assistant City Manager for 16 years. He was also a sworn Police Officer, and supervisor over the Police Department. Mr. Wood had an undergrad from Chapel Hill, graduate school from Appalachian State. Mayor Wright commented that Mr. Wood had done a great job with the City of Hickory, saving the people of Hickory a lot of money. The City is going to miss him, and Waxhaw has a tremendous gain. Waxhaw will achieve even more than they have in the past.

City Attorney Crone commented born here, raised here. Grammar school, middle school and high school in Hickory, North Carolina. Mayor Wright commented that he and Council appreciated Mr. Wood. Alderman Meisner wished Mr. Wood well, commenting that he had been with Mr. Wood all 22 years and he had been a tremendous asset to the citizens of Hickory. Alderwoman Patton commented on the level of integrity that Mr. Wood possessed, and total commitment to the community. She thanked him for his service. Alderman Lail jokingly commented about how tight Mr. Wood was. Mayor Wright asked how many consecutive years without a rate increase. Mr. Wood advised 20 years.

City Attorney Crone commented that Mr. Wood was a master of making bad news sound like good news.
Mr. Berry commented a master of making bad news sound like worse news. Mayor Wright thanked Mr. Wood and his family. Mr. Wood was given a standing ovation. Mr. Wood thanked Mr. Berry for allowing him a tremendous amount of latitude to do a lot of the things that he had done while at the City. He stated that Mr. McGee had done the same thing. He commented that he had worked for two good managers, and now he is giving it a shot. He thanked Staff and stated that he had enjoyed working for the citizens of Hickory.

Alderman Seaver commented that the Hickory High School Varsity Girls are the State 3A Champions in basketball. The Hickory High School Key Club won its 13th Diamond Level Award, which is the highest award in Key Club International. Mayor Wright commented that the girls had finished undefeated, the only high school team to finish undefeated, boys or girls. They won 29 games and lost none. In the 12 years that Barbara Helms has been Coach they have won 326 games, and lost 26. That is absolutely amazing.

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