NORWOOD TOWN COUNCIL
Monday, January 4, 2010 – 7:00 p.m.
Attendance: Mayor Harry Beeker, Mayor Pro Tem James Lilly, Commissioners Beverly Johnson, Henry Thompson, Sr., Harold Thompson (left meeting at 8:15 p.m. for funeral home visitation), Town Administrator Dwight Smith, Town Clerk Pam Lisenby, Police Chief Randy Smith, Fire Chief Tim Huneycutt, SNAP Representative Dexter Hinson
The regular monthly meeting of the Norwood Town Council was held on Monday, January 4, 2010 at the Norwood Town Hall. Mayor Harry Beeker called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m., welcomed the visitors and prayed.
The following public concerns were voiced:
1) Sam Songer of 1509 Berry Hill Drive asked Board members to think about what they were voting on this year and not to vote for something just because Administrator Smith wanted it. He asked Board members to think about the people who put them there.
2) Fleet Wall of 318 Dock Street stated his water bill was normally around $45.00 per month, but in September, it jumped up to $238.00 for 38,500 gallons of water. He added that in October, the meter used 17,000 gallons. Wall said Town employees changed the meter out and now his water bill was better. He added that he did not know if the first meter was broken or if it was being read wrong. Wall stated he was at the meeting trying to get some relief on his water bill.
Administrator Smith distributed Wall’s consumption history and Board members reviewed it. Smith said the meter was taken out, tested at the maintenance shop and proven to be correct. Smith said he could not explain why the bill jumped up except it was under-read one month and caught up the next month.
A discussion followed, after which Mayor Pro Tem Lilly stated he felt the two large bills should be cut in half. Commissioner Harold Thompson made a motion to cut the two large bills in half and waive the penalties. Commissioner Johnson seconded the motion which passed 4-0.
Mayor Beeker called for a motion to accept the Consent Agenda as follows:
1) The minutes of the December 7, 2009 regular meeting of the Norwood Town Council were approved on a motion by Commissioner Harold Thompson, seconded by Commissioner Henry Thompson, and passed 4-0.
2) The minutes of the December 18, 2009 special meeting of the Norwood Town Council were approved on a motion by Commissioner Harold Thompson, seconded by Commissioner Henry Thompson, and passed 4-0.
3) A budget update was accepted on a motion by Commissioner Harold Thompson, seconded by Commissioner Henry Thompson, and passed 4-0.
NORWOOD TOWN COUNCIL
4) A treasurer’s report was accepted on a motion by Commissioner Harold Thompson, seconded by Commissioner Henry Thompson, and passed 4-0.
Mayor Beeker called for a motion to enter a public hearing. Commissioner Henry Thompson so moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Lilly. The motion passed 4-0.
AGENDA ITEM #1 – PUBLIC HEARING – GRANT FOR NORWOOD MEMORIAL PARK
Administrator Smith stated that this was the second of two required public hearings in order to apply for a PARTF grant to make improvements at the Norwood Memorial Park on West Turner Street. Smith reviewed the proposed improvements included in the first round, stating that the preliminary cost was $400,000.
Commissioner Harold Thompson asked if this figure included lighting the softball fields. Administrator Smith said that it did.
James Russell and another representative of the girls’ softball league were present. Russell stated he did not know about the first public hearing. He said he appreciated what the Town and the Board and Mike Thompson had done in the past for the softball league. Russell stated that the softball league would do anything they could to help push the grant forward. He said he had seen a lot of ball fields and could suggest some good ones for the Board to go see. Russell said he felt recreation was very important in the development of youth as it was an investment in the future.
Sam Songer asked if the concession stand would be designed so it could be used for all three softball fields. Administrator Smith said that was the plan.
James Russell stated that Norwood hosted the 2005 district girls’ softball tournament and “everybody liked it here”, adding that the park was centrally located in their district and had easy access to convenience stores and restaurants. He said improvements to the park would be a good economic tool for Norwood.
Dillon Frick was present and stated he had done a lot of research and interviewing of people regarding Norwood Memorial Park. Frick said softball was the 10th most popular sport in America, while tennis ranked 3rd and volleyball 4th. Frick added that people interviewed at the park wanted a volleyball court and the tennis courts rebuilt. Frick said he had ten friends who played tennis and had to go to Albemarle to do so. Frick continued that people at the park wanted basketball courts, tennis courts, volleyball courts and that softball fields were “debatable”.
Mayor Beeker stated that there was a lot of interest in getting a church softball league started back up at Norwood Memorial Park.
Matt Irvin spoke in favor of the grant, stating that the economic benefits were great for children and adults. Irvin stated the park improvements “could only be good for our town.”
Commissioner Johnson asked if the plans had to be in place when grant application was made.
NORWOOD TOWN COUNCIL
Administrator Smith suggested the Board have a special meeting before January 31 to approve the plans. Smith added the plan would need to include several recreational opportunities.
Dillon Frick discussed a possible skate park, stating he had talked to a skate park manufacturing representative who said Norwood had the perfect area for a skate park. Frick added he was in Raleigh last week and talked with State insurance representatives who said liability was not a concern.
Mayor Pro Tem Lilly said a place had been designated for the skateboarders in the past, but they preferred to stay on the streets.
Frick said neither Norwood nor Stanly County was “youth-friendly” and that young folks needed a place to meet.
With no further comment, Mayor Beeker called for a motion to close the public hearing and return to regular session. Mayor Pro Tem Lilly so moved, seconded by Commissioner Henry Thompson. The motion passed 4-0.
Regarding Agenda Item #1, Commissioner Harold Thompson asked if the plans would include only what Norwood wanted in the first phase if the Board chose to continue with the grant application. Administrator Smith confirmed this and reminded Board members that this was a “hard match” grant, adding he was hoping the land could be considered in the match since Norwood already owned it. Smith said it would probably take two rounds of funding in two budget years. Smith said a disadvantage was that Stanly County did not have their Comprehensive Recreation Plan ready yet (worth 15 points on application).
Commissioner Harold Thompson made a motion to authorize Administrator Smith to pursue the PARTF grant for improvements at Norwood Memorial Park. Commissioner Johnson seconded the motion and it passed 4-0.
AGENDA ITEM #2 – ANNEXATION OF PROPERTY ALONG SHORE OF LAKE TILLERY INTO TOWN LIMITS
Administrator Smith stated he had met with the Stanly County Tax Supervisor who had requested that Norwood take the property along the lake containing the boathouses into the town limits. Smith urged Board members to give this some consideration as it did not involve that much land.
Commissioner Harold Thompson asked if boathouses would be included in future annexations on the lake. Administrator Smith said this would have been a good thing to do from the beginning.
Mayor Beeker asked how land could be annexed with no residents on it. Administrator Smith said because the property with the boathouse was tied to the main property.
Smith added that Norwood’s attorney was not in favor of this move and reminded Board members that the land in question belonged to Progress Energy.
NORWOOD TOWN COUNCIL
Smith said if the Board decided to annex this property, a consultant should be hired.
Mayor Pro Tem Lilly said he needed more information.
Sam Songer asked Mayor Beeker if he could speak. He was granted permission. Songer said the land was leased from Progress Energy by the landowners to build the boathouses. He asked how Norwood could charge tax on it.
Frances Russell asked Mayor Beeker if she could speak. She was granted permission. She asked who would regulate what could be built.
Administrator Smith said Norwood might tax Progress Energy for the land and the homeowner for the boat. He added that Town zoning would “play into the picture”.
Commissioner Johnson asked why the County wanted Norwood to annex this land. Administrator Smith said, “To make their job easier”.
Commissioner Harold Thompson asked what a consultant would cost. Administrator Smith said, “Up to $1,000.”
Commissioner Harold Thompson made a motion to hire a consultant to investigate the situation. Commissioner Henry Thompson seconded the motion and it passed 4-0.
AGENDA ITEM #3 – WATER TO BERRY HILL AREA
Administrator Smith stated that he and Mayor Beeker met with State Representative Justin Burr and two NCDENR representatives recently regarding the grant restrictions on the water line to the Berry Hill area. Smith said that when the grant was closed, the understanding was that water could be provided to anyone with a lot in a subdivision or an existing lot anywhere in the area.
Smith said he left the meeting “with a good feeling”. He reminded Board members that if permission was granted to use the water line, only lots that were platted at the time the water line was laid would be eligible to hook on.
Commissioner Harold Thompson said he had seen Representative Burr yesterday and thanked him for his help with this situation.
AGENDA ITEM #4 – VOLUNTARY ANNEXATION TO INDIVIDUAL LOTS
Administrator Smith distributed copies of a recently-adopted sample annexation petition process and policy, adding that fees needed to be added to the policy.
Smith reminded Board members of the following conditions:
1) All expenses of the annexation would be charged to the applicant.
2) The sewer tap would include the $3,500 that Rex Stephens gets as a result of the sewer line agreement.
3) The applicant must provide the E-1 pump for the residence at an approximate cost of $4,500.
NORWOOD TOWN COUNCIL
4) The applicant must sign a letter of intent to be annexed in June, but will get a letter to pass on the Stanly County Environmental Health giving the applicant permission to hook onto Norwood’s sewer.
Smith suggested the zoning fee be set at $150, the nonrefundable process and review fee at $200, and the legal, notification and advertisement fee be billed to the resident at cost.
Smith reminded Board members if the resident failed to follow through with annexation at the proper time, sewer service would be terminated.
Commissioner Harold Thompson asked if residents would pay double utility rates until such time as they were annexed, to which Administrator Smith answered, “Yes.”
Mayor Pro Tem Lilly made a motion to establish the voluntary annexation rates as suggested by Administrator Smith above. Commissioner Harold Thompson seconded the motion and it passed 4-0.
AGENDA ITEM #5 – ZONING ISSUES
Administrator Smith stated there were several zoning issues in Norwood’s business district that needed to be addressed, such as warehousing, outdoor storage and old truck beds. Smith said he and John Ganus identified three sites.
Commissioner Harold Thompson said several people had discussed with him “the look of downtown”. Thompson said the Town did not own the buildings and could not tell the owners to improve their buildings unless zoning violations existed. Thompson suggested trying to encourage reinvestment in some of the properties by waiving or reducing taxes for a set number of years in exchange for renovation. Administrator Smith said this idea had come up before and that he was going to a meeting next week regarding help with downtowns.
It was the consensus of the Board to proceed with the three identified cases involving zoning violations in the business district.
AGENDA ITEM #6 – MAPS
Administrator Smith presented a proposed Norwood map to Board members to review, adding that the map showed only one park and did not show the water and sewer plants. Smith stated this map was prepared by John McHenry and would be sold to those requesting a town map.
Commissioner Harold Thompson suggested shifting everything over so that
Edgewater would show and placing an insert on the left showing a picture of downtown or The Fork Farm.
Commissioner Johnson stated the map needed some decoration.
Mayor Beeker suggested adding phone numbers for town and county offices.
Commissioner Johnson and Mayor Beeker will work on the map.
NORWOOD TOWN COUNCIL
Commissioner Johnson stated the Rock Haven Drive road sign was down. Administrator Smith said this had been reported.
Commissioner Johnson said the duck hunters were “out in force”.
Commissioner Johnson attended the dedication of the newly-built City Hall in Albemarle, stating the building was “very nice”.
Mayor Pro Tem Lilly said a big load of debris had been dumped on West Whitley Street on the sidewalk at the “old Skidmore house”.
Administrator Smith presented the following items to the Board:
1) Approximately 100 sidewalk improvements will be made soon by a company met by one of the Board members at the NCLM Conference in October.
2) An Arbor Day meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 6. The covered stage from Oakboro will cost $1,700. Commissioner Johnson said, “go for it”.
3) Recycling bins are being built and will be placed outside the fence at the Maintenance Shop and on the road to Clifford Hurt field near the C&A pump station.
4) Smith said a special Board meeting needed to be held to work on the Loss Control Policy and to have Tommy McVicker in to discuss the park improvements. Commissioner Harold Thompson said January 21 would not work for him.
5) Smith said the Board had experienced a “great loss” in the death of Commissioner Alphonzo Rush and Board members should be considering a replacement.
6) Regarding the sidewalk to Mary Branch Road, Norwood is waiting on the “go ahead” from the State.
7) Duke Energy will hold Norwood up 30 days on getting power to the Lake Shore pump station.
8) Eastover pump station repairs have been made.
9) The Arrowood Road area is requesting sewer. Approximate cost is $115,000—to be paid by the residents.
10) Prospective business operator at old “Something Unique” building on Main Street has requested permission to paint the outside of the building. Color samples will be submitted to the Norwood Planning Board. Smith asked if Norwood Town Council members would accept the decision of the Planning Board so that the owner would not be held up another month.
NORWOOD TOWN COUNCIL
It was the consensus of the Town Council that the decision of the Norwood Planning Board would stand.
11) Norwood will host the Stanly County Council of Governments meeting on February 23. Smith asked Robbie Cohen about using the Edgewater clubhouse, but “did not get a good feeling”. Cohen said he would have to ask Rex Stephens.
12) Smith stated that the Town was paying for septic tank pumping for Al and Beverly Price on Lake Head Road (with the Prices paying monthly sewer charges). Smith said the Prices had submitted a bill to the Town to pay one-half the charge to replace their septic tank lid, adding the repair was not authorized by the Town before it was done.
It was the consensus of the Board that this bill would not be shared by the Town.
Mayor Beeker then called for a motion to enter a closed session to evaluate personnel. Commissioner Johnson so moved, seconded by Commissioner Henry Thompson. The motion passed 4-0.
When the business to be discussed in closed session was completed, Commissioner Henry Thompson made a motion to re-enter open session. Commissioner Johnson seconded the motion and it passed 4-0.
With no further business to discuss, Mayor Beeker called for a motion to close the meeting at 8:43 p.m. Mayor Pro Tem Lilly made the motion, seconded by Commissioner Henry Thompson. Motion passed 4-0.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Norwood Town Council will be Monday, February 1, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.
HARRY BEEKER, Mayor
PAM LISENBY, Clerk
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