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Friday, April 24, 2015

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of April 21, 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 April 21, 2015 

Hound Notes: 
Not much to comment on about this meeting. You can follow the links below related to the various items. 
I would like to comment on Cliff Moone's address to Council in relation to recruiting high income Military Veterans to the community. I think we've already been successful at doing that; as in with the retired veteran he spoke to who had moved to the community. Mr. Moone makes the point that the Hound has addressed time and time again over the years when he states that these retirees can move here and be within traveling distance (I assume for day trips) to locations such as Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and the Mountains. Exactly, these people can come here and live cheaply and go spend their disposable income in other places. Hickory will never be "THE" destination location, but we have needed more enterprises/venues that are destination entities. We need people who spend money to come here an spend it. That creates value.
When it comes to what I have espoused about attracting the younger demographic to the community, I want you to understand. For me, this has never been a completely personal mission. You haven't seen me saying that I want this for myself. This has been a community mission. I'm not out here spouting out that I want the community to actively seek to attract 40 to 50 year olds. That's my age demo. We keep seeing 60+ year olds saying that we need to look to attract 60+ year olds. Why? Because that is who they hang out with and relate to.
The mission to attract the younger generations is a mission to sow the seeds of the future. Mr. Moone latched onto the saying about 'planting trees that he will never enjoy the shade of' during the bond referendum, when it came to the proposed projects related to that referendum. Well, that is what the mission of attracting the younger generations is all about. If we don't get these younger people to live here, then they won't be enjoying the shade he portrays. Population has fallen over the past 5 years, as a whole, in this community, but has been steady (and risen) over that time period in the very demographic he seeks to attract, while falling precipitously in the very demographic the Hound has been alluding to for eight years -- the 40 and younger age group. 
We have already been successful at attracting Seniors. I just don't get the angst that always comes forward, when the obvious need to attract young people is addressed. What is the 'Me Too' mindset all about. We've already been successful at collecting the low hanging fruit. Our local population was going to age anyway due to the overall demographic shift related to the Baby Boomers. We already have the amenities for Seniors built all around us. That is the reason why the local Powers That Be can't understand why young people say, 'there is nothing to do around here'... because the community has been built around their wants and needs and what they relate to. Those aren't the desires of the younger generations. We will continue to have (maintain and upgrade) infrastructure for older people. That will attract the older people. Hate to say it, but what Mr. Moone proposed in his address of this City Council certainly seems to be unfounded.
Edit to add: One other issue about that address. The proposed projects are not "Boost Hickory" projects. They are Hickory projects that will be paid for by the people of Hickory, not just the people associated with the group, "Boost Hickory".

Invocation by Councilman Danny Seaver

Special Presentations
A. Proclamation to Hickory High School Lady Tornadoes Basketball Team.  - (per Hickory Inc.) - Mayor Wright read and presented the Proclamation, as well as a sign to Coach Barbara Helms. Coach Helms introduced each player and Mayor Wright presented each of them with a proclamation and a key to the City.

Persons Requesting to be Heard
Cliff Moone - (per Hickory Inc.) - addressed Council on his concerns of the future of the City. He discussed the 65 and over demographic age bracket of people in this area. He suggested recruiting retirees from the military to the area because these retirees are looking for areas like Hickory as opposed to the larger cities.

Consent Agenda - Item B was removed from the Consent Agenda, which was a burial plot sold from the City to Alderman Meisner. Alderman Meisner recused himself. There was no further discussion. The Council approved Item B and then the full Council approved all items.

New Business - Public Hearings
1. Consideration of Closing a Portion of Main Avenue Place SE. The City Clerk received a petition from Attorney Terry M. Taylor on behalf of the property owner Woodland Village, LLC, (Successor in interest to Center Street Crossing I, LLC and Center Street Crossing II, LLC). The petition requests the City close said portion of Main Avenue Place SE. The signature on the petition represents the owner of both of the tracts of property abutting this portion of the right of way. Chuck Hanson presentation. Council approved unanimously. Alderman Lail did ask about the sidewalk in the area. Mr. Hanson stated that a new sidewalk will be constructed parallel to Main avenue in that area.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant for 890 F Ave Dr SE, LLC. - City Council established the Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant program on September 16, 2008. The program provides grant funding up to $30,000 for project to renovate and rehabilitate vacant buildings within the Urban Revitalization Area and targeted industrial buildings in other areas of the City. 890 F Ave Dr SE, LLC has applied for a Vacant Building Revitalization Grant in the amount of $6,000 to assist in the renovation of the former Thomasville Furniture Plant located at 890 F Avenue Drive SE. The applicant plans to renovate the facility for furniture manufacturing. The applicant plans to invest approximately $40,000 in real property improvements to rehabilitate the mill building. This makes the project eligible for a $6,000 grant. The Business Development Committee reviewed the application and recommends approval. Staff recommends approval of the Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant for 890 F Ave Dr SE, LLC. Andrea Surratt Presentation. Council unanimously approved.

2. Update on Community Policing - Presentation bu Chief Tom Adkins  -  
Mission Statement 
Examples of Community Policing in Hickory
Presentations and Activities involving Current Issues
Planned Activities 
New Technology - Body Cameras
Councilman Guess asks how Body Cameras relate to Public Records laws
Alderman Seaver asked about also having Dashcams too

Matters not on the Agenda/General Comments

Alderman Meisner thanked his “City of Hickory family” for their support over the past year to his family.

Mayor Wright commented that Council had started the budget process, it is very early, but the amount to create a revenue neutral rate when joined with the evaluations is 53.95 cents. That is not a tax increase. It balances the value and the rate to bring in the same amount of dollars that we brought in last year at 50 cents. The average taxpayer will have 53.95 as the rate, and a value around 7 percent lower than it was last year. That is very early in the game, it has nothing to do with what they will ultimately agree on as the final rate to help them provide the ideal level of service at the ideal price. That is where they want to get. That number has been generated now. Alderman Meisner commented that is on an average. Some are lower and some are higher. Mayor Wright commented that there will be people who will pay more dollars and there will be people who pay less dollars. Council cannot control that.

1 comment:

Harry Hipps said...

I've come to realize that "planning" in Hickory is not planning in the same sense of the word that one would typically assume. "Planning" really means hoping and managing whatever crumbs fall our way. Year ago I asked what Hickory's "brand" was. What will our identity be now that we aren't really the furniture and textile manufacturing center we were.

That question is still unanswered, and I see no real drive towards anything. A few new restaurants have opened up and the great hope is that the bond projects will attract some great new blood here. But the mall is looking more vacant than ever and when Corning leaves even some of the restaurants around here are going to hurt.

It seems like a time warp. WSOC reports on Hickory being a city high on the misery index while our local media again had our mayor touting the same stuff we've had for years, an art museum, ball team, libraries,and so on. Nothing is happening here and I welcome veterans here as I would anyone, but the stagnation continues.