Tuesday, September 8, 2009 – 7:00 p.m.
Attendance: Mayor Larry McMahon, Mayor Pro Tem James Lilly, Commissioners Beverly Johnson, Henry Thompson, Sr., Harold Thompson, Town Administrator Dwight Smith, Town Clerk Pam Lisenby, Police Chief Randy Smith
Absent: Commissioner Alphonzo Rush (illness), Director of Field Operations Mike Thompson
The regular monthly meeting of the Norwood Town Council was held on Tuesday, September 8, 2009 at the Norwood Town Hall. Mayor Larry McMahon called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m., welcomed the visitors and prayed.
There were no public concerns voiced.
Mayor McMahon called for a motion to accept the Consent Agenda as follows:
1) The minutes of the August 3, 2009 regular meeting of the Norwood Town Council were approved on a motion by Commissioner Henry Thompson, seconded by Commissioner Johnson, and passed 4-0.
2) The minutes of the August 10, 2009 special meeting of the Norwood Town Council were approved on a motion by Commissioner Henry Thompson, seconded by Commissioner Johnson, and passed 4-0.
3) A budget update was accepted on a motion by Commissioner Henry Thompson, seconded by Commissioner Johnson, and passed 4-0.
4) A treasurer’s report was accepted on a motion by Commissioner Henry Thompson, seconded by Commissioner Johnson, and passed 4-0.
Mayor McMahon called for a motion to enter a public hearing concerning a community development block grant. Mayor Pro Tem Lilly so moved, seconded by Commissioner Harold Thompson. The motion passed 4-0.
AGENDA ITEM #1 – PUBLIC HEARING FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT
Administrator Smith stated that the Town of Norwood was applying for a community development block grant that would fund housing and infrastructure renovations for low to moderate income families in the target area of Eastover Avenue, Atkins Avenue, Poplin Street and Wall Street. Smith said there would be a minimum of six houses involved with the remainder of the grant being applied to infrastructure. Smith stated that the Eastover pump station in the target area had been condemned and was operating on a moratorium disallowing any more growth in the area, and a “big part of the money” would go toward repairing the pump station.
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Smith stated that the Norwood Town Council would choose a consultant who would assess the target area and select the six best qualified houses for renovation.
Smith added that this type grant was normally funded at 80% with towns contributing the 20% match but, because of federal stimulus funds, this grant would be 100% funded.
Jerry Frappier of Eastover Avenue stated he had been trying to get Piedmont Natural Gas Company to extend their line on down Eastover Avenue with no success. Frappier asked if Norwood would cooperate with Piedmont Natural Gas to get this done.
Administrator Smith answered that Norwood would cooperate with Piedmont Natural Gas on such a project but none of the grant money could be used for this.
Dianne Frappier asked if the two vacant, deteriorated houses on Eastover Avenue had been condemned. Administrator Smith stated that the white house would be torn down and removed if the grant “falls through”. Smith added that the brick house was not deteriorated enough yet to qualify for removal.
Walter Levi Lee stated he wanted to know about the grant to fix up houses. Administrator Smith said Norwood was also trying to get a scattered housing grant and told Mr. Lee this was the grant he would need. Smith told Mr. Lee to keep in touch with him about this.
Commissioner Harold Thompson asked how much of the grant money would go toward house renovations and how much would be used for infrastructure. Administrator Smith said he was working with Hobbs, Upchurch & Associates and thought $100,000-$200,000 would go toward house renovations and $600,000 toward infrastructure repairs, adding that infrastructure repairs would affect more people than house renovations.
With no further discussion, Mayor McMahon called for a motion to close the public hearing and re-enter regular session. Commissioner Johnson so moved, seconded by Commissioner Henry Thompson. The motion passed 4-0.
Back in regular session, Mayor McMahon stated there would be another public hearing regarding the community development block grant on Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 12:30 p.m.
AGENDA ITEM #2 – PRESENTATION BY STANLY COUNTY EDC DIRECTOR
Kevin Gullette, Stanly County Economic Development Director, had a conflict and could not attend the Town Council meeting.
AGENDA ITEM #3 – DIXIE YOUTH SOFTBALL TEAM
James Russell was present, along with two other coaches and eight members of the Belles softball team who won the State championship and were runners-up in the World Series for their age group. A plaque was presented by Mayor McMahon and the Town Council to the team and coaches. Russell presented the Council with a picture of the team along with words of appreciation.
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AGENDA ITEM #4 – PETITION FOR ANNEXATION INTO NORWOOD TOWN LIMITS
Ricky and DeLoris Taylor were present regarding their petition for voluntary annexation into the Norwood town limits in order to get sewer services.
Administrator Smith stated that the Town was expecting eight or ten of these applications and asked Board members if they would prefer to wait and annex them all at the same time—perhaps the first meeting of each year—or continue to take them in one at a time.
Commissioner Harold Thompson asked the Taylors if they were ready to build now. They answered that they were ready to begin.
Administrator Smith suggested getting a legal document allowing property owners that had petitioned to be voluntarily annexed to go ahead and build, adding that liens would be taken against properties unless the owners followed through on the voluntary annexations.
Administrator Smith stated that he would be receiving a petition in a few days for the whole subdivision where the Taylors wanted to build to be voluntarily annexed.
Commissioner Harold Thompson asked if this petition was granted, would the sewer be extended from Indian Mound Road or would a line be extended down Polly Road off Indian Mound Road. Administrator Smith answered that the line would have to be a service line off Indian Mound Road to avoid engineering and State approval of the plans.
Mr. and Mrs. Taylor stated they would like a letter to take to the permitting office stating they would be voluntarily annexed into the town limits of Norwood and sewer services would be available.
The Taylors were told to come in and Administrator Smith would draft a letter and send it to the town attorney, if necessary.
AGENDA ITEM #5 – SIDEWALK TO MARY BRANCH ROAD
Administrator Smith stated he had met with a representative of the Stanly County Inspections Department who was agreeable with the Town’s plan to erect a bridge on Town property for the sidewalk to Mary Branch Road. Smith said some people from Wadesboro who work for NCDOT in the bridge department would be coming to Norwood next Tuesday to give some advice. Smith said Norwood would only be responsible for the metal on the bridge and anchoring it down and Robbie Cohen had promised to donate the wood and all other materials.
AGENDA ITEM #6 – RURAL CENTER GRANT
Administrator Smith stated that work had begun on the Eastover pump station and The Rural Center had agreed to reimburse Norwood for one-half of all the money that was being spent now plus the engineering costs. Smith stated that was the “good news” and the “bad news” was that no refunds would be issued by The Rural Center until the grant was completely closed out. Smith said Norwood would have to spend the entire $848,000 before any funds came back and there would be two years from October to close out the grant.
Smith explained that this was why Norwood really needed the community development block
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grant. He also stated that Norwood may have to come up with a way to borrow $450,000 for a short time.
Commissioner Johnson asked how soon the community development block grant was expected to be funded. Smith said someone from Hobbs & Upchurch would be here at the special meeting on Tuesday, September 15 at 12:30 p.m. and they would do a study.
Smith stated Norwood would owe David Hartigan $10,000 and this would come from the grant.
AGENDA ITEM #7 – REPORT FROM CHIEF SMITH ON ORDINANCE #135
Police Chief Randy Smith stated he had sent the proposed Ordinance #135 – AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING DISCHARGING OF FIREARMS to the Institute of Government for review. Chief Smith said the representative changed and few words and said it should be “OK”.
Board members requested an updated copy of the proposed ordinance with the changes made by the Institute of Government.
Commissioner Henry Thompson made a motion to defer the matter until the special meeting on Tuesday, September 15. Commissioner Johnson seconded the motion and it passed 4-0.
AGENDA ITEM #8 – BUDGET AMENDMENT
Administrator Smith presented a budget amendment to move $375,000 from a certificate of deposit at Bank of Stanly into the Enterprise Fund budget to pay for the Edgewater sewer line. Smith reminded Board members that $10,000 of this money would be used for the Eastover pump station repairs since there were “no strings attached to Stephen’s money”.
Commissioner Johnson made a motion to accept the attached budget amendment. Mayor Pro Tem Lilly seconded the motion and it passed 4-0.
AGENDA ITEM #9 – DOWNTOWN NORWOOD
Administrator Smith stated that Norwood’s downtown business district seemed to be going in the “wrong direction” and said, “We’d better get some things in place now to get the central business district in order and attract others.”
Smith stated he had talked with some consultants about this and would like to get them to attend a special meeting of the Board and discuss their ideas.
Smith gave a few examples of things that were going on in the central business district that were not allowed, such as warehousing and mechanical repairs.
Administrator Smith asked for permission to pursue this.
Mayor Pro Tem Lilly asked, “Is this something we’re going to talk about or do something about?”
Administrator Smith stated that three or four items were being worked on now.
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Commissioner Johnson and Mayor Pro Tem Lilly stated it was time to get started.
Commissioner Harold Thompson suggested starting with the consultant and then having a meeting with the Town Board, Planning and Zoning Boards and business owners. Thompson added that the Planning Board should then steer the project.
It was the consensus of the Board that Administrator Smith be authorized to line up the consultant.
AGENDA ITEM #10 – NEW FIREMEN
Administrator Smith stated that the following individuals had been voted on and approved by the Norwood Fire Department and were now being presented to the Town Board for approval: James Ingram, John Coley, Terry Blalock, Eric Blalock, Terry Smith and Phillip Smith. Administrator Smith continued that these individuals were all members of the Aquadale Fire Department and, if approved, would be serving with dual memberships and their training at Aquadale would count. In addition, Smith said, Norwood’s firemen could train at Aquadale.
Administrator Smith added that Mrs. Massey did not work out as the Norwood Fire Department secretary and Charles David Harris had agreed to do the job.
Mayor McMahon asked if the Board had not previously agreed that when members were added, some of the “undesirables” would be removed. Administrator Smith said Fire Chief Huneycutt had notified two or three present members of the Norwood Fire Department that they had been removed from the roster.
Commissioner Henry Thompson made a motion to accept the above-listed individuals as members of the Norwood Fire Department and name Charles David Harris as secretary. Commissioner Johnson seconded the motion and it passed 4-0.
Commissioner Harold Thompson asked about the South Main Street accident on Sunday that took down a power pole and fire hydrant. Administrator Smith assured the Board that the replacement cost of the fire hydrant would be made a part of the report.
Commissioner Harold Thompson asked Administrator Smith if he had been in the Norwood Water Plant lately, adding that the drying beds appeared to be in “bad shape”. Thompson continued that many people had complained to him abut the color and taste of town water.
Administrator Smith said he tried to go to the water plant once a month and Harry Lee went more often than that. Smith said it appeared that repairs needed to be done. Smith said there was an inspection four weeks ago by NCDENR and he was expecting a letter any day requesting that Norwood work on the blow-off line on top of the intake line. Smith said as long as David McKew was here, he felt sure the maintenance was being done, but things were not going as well now since McKew was gone.
Mayor McMahon said he had received several calls today from residents of the Acorn Acres Road area about brown water. Administrator Smith stated there were also complaints about
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brown water from South Stanly High School and a house at the end of Allenton Street.
Mayor McMahon asked about the break-ins on Anson Avenue. Police Chief Smith said there was another report filed today.
Administrator Smith presented the following items to the Board:
1) The sewer line that transports sewer from the Eastover pump station and travels behind First Baptist Church on Anson Avenue to Turner Street collapsed and will have to be repaired. There was a spill three weeks ago when the line completely caved in. Smith is getting a price on doing part of it at the time and completing in three years.
2) A clarification needs to be made in the Personnel Policy regarding death leave and immediate family members. This will be looked at more.
3) Regarding fire service to Edgewater, there has been no progress with Center Rural Fire Department. Smith stated that, although Center Rural has gotten more new equipment, only the equipment in their possession at the time of the annexation would be considered in the agreement.
4) Regarding the Edgewater water line, Norwood’s part is ready and $100,000 has been paid on it. This money will be reimbursed by Rex Stephens. Smith said the County had not yet gotten under Jacob’s Creek but, once accomplished, their line would be complete.
5) Regarding the Edgewater sewer line, Smith said the work was “looking good” and Rex Stephens was well pleased.
6) Regarding the Eastover pump station, Smith stated he had already discussed this.
7) Regarding Lake Shore pump station, equipment is on the lot and the wet well digging will begin tomorrow. There will be 100 days from August 10 for substantial completion and 130 days for final completion.
8) Regarding the purchase of a new police car, Smith suggested letting Police Chief Smith choose the car he wanted and then hold him responsible. Commissioner Harold Thompson said he did not like that idea because Norwood would be “stuck” paying for a car that might not fit the Town’s needs.
Commissioner Thompson asked Chief Smith why the Explorer had no cage. Chief Smith said such a cage would have to be custom built. Thompson said he saw an Explorer recently with two cages, but they may have been custom built.
Chief Smith said he had been looking at the cheaper Chevrolet—trying to save the Town some money.
Commissioner Thompson said he wanted a car that would meet all the Town’s needs.
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Chief Smith said the Chevrolet was $19,000 and the Ford $23,000 (both with no lights, cameras, etc.).
Commissioner Thompson asked if any of the hardware on the car being taken out of commission could be transferred to the new car. Chief Smith said some of the equipment could be used. Thompson asked how much more money would be needed to buy the extras for the Chevrolet than the Ford. Chief Smith said, “$1,500”. Thompson said, “So here your $4,000 savings on the Chevrolet went down to $2,500.”
Chief Smith and Administrator Smith talked about a “chip” that had been placed in one of the cars to get better gas mileage.
Mayor Pro Tem Lilly suggested that Chief Smith be allowed to use his discretion in the type car to purchase.
Chief Smith said he would check the warranties and go with whichever car had the better warranty. If the same, Smith will go with the Chevrolet.
9) A letter has been mailed to the Stanly County Manager requesting the promised $350,000 on the Edgewater sewer line. There has been no response yet.
10) Picnic in the Park will be held on Sunday, October 18 from 2-5 p.m. It was suggested that a tent be put up so that the food could be closer to the band.
11) The newsletter will be ready next week.
12) Norwood’s water usage has increased by 100,000 gallons per day from 2003 to 2008. Smith said United Water has a “good case” for not decreasing their contract charges, but he will continue to negotiate.
13) NCDOT is paving and patching streets.
14) Smith presented a letter of endorsement for Susan Taylor for U.S. Attorney. Mayor Pro Tem Lilly made a motion that the Norwood Town Board sign the letter. Commissioner Henry Thompson seconded the motion and it passed 4-0. A copy of the letter of endorsement is attached to these minutes and made a part thereof.
15) Street signs for Cohen Street are completed, as well as the state baseball champion signs. Stanly County will hopefully correct the street signs from the Island Cove area.
16) A draft letter to residents about mandatory utility connections was presented for review. Commissioner Johnson pointed out a contradiction between the letter and the ordinance.
17) Lane Bowles was asked several years ago about selling four acres of land to expand the Darrell Almond Community Park on the back side. At that time, Bowles did not want to sell, but now he does. The cost would be $50,000-$75,000. Smith said he did not see where it would help.
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Mayor McMahon said the Town needed to spend money on the Turner Street park since lots of money had been spent on the Darrell Almond Park.
18) John Morgan who lives in the house in the curve on Ray Lee Street was told by the former homeowner there (Buddy Lee) that the Town had promised a free sewer tap. Administrator Smith said he thought the Town owed him this tap (E-1 pump).
19) Smith asked Board members if they wanted to apply for a PARTF grant for the Turner Street park, adding that the project could be designed by a draftsman who would not be paid unless the project was funded. Smith added that this park needs lots of work.
20) A request has been made for speed bumps on East Pine Street.
With no further business to discuss, Mayor McMahon called for a motion to close the meeting at 8:37 p.m. Commissioner Henry Thompson so moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Lilly. The motion passed 4-0.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Norwood Town Council will be Monday, October 5, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
LARRY McMAHON, Mayor
PAM LISENBY, Clerk
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