January 12th, 2015
The Bessemer City Council met in regular session on Monday, January 12th, 2015 at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
Mayor Becky Smith, Council Members: Dan Boling, Kay McCathen, Joe Will, Howard Jones, Alfred Carpenter, and Donnie Griffin. Also present was Attorney, David Smith. City Manager, James Inman, was absent due to school.
Call to Order, Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Smith called the meeting to order and introduced Pastor Cindy Spicer from Concord United Methodist Church, who then led us in prayer. Following the prayer, Mayor Smith led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of the January Agenda
By motion of Alfred Carpenter and unanimous vote, the January Agenda was approved.
Student Appreciation- Students from Bessemer City High School, Bessemer City Central Elementary School, and Bessemer City Primary Schools were recognized by their principals/counselors and City Council as part of the Student Appreciation Program.
Ms. Andrea Myer, Assistant Principal of Bessemer City High School, and Mayor Smith, presented certificates to Markese Simmons, Austin Teague, Carmen Falter and Diamond Burris.
Bessemer City Middle School did not have any students this month.
Mrs. Beth Germain, Principal of Bessemer City Central Elementary, and Mayor Smith presented certificates to Madison Smith, Parker Williams, and Justin Burgess.
Mrs. Kristi Gornto, Principal of Bessemer City Primary School, and Mayor Smith presented certificates to Payton Chaplin, Jake Holcombe, and Ean Miller.
Duke Energy Neighborhood Program– Casey Fields with Duke Energy spoke to Mayor Smith and Council about Duke Energy’s Weatherization Neighborhood Program. This program works to educate customers about energy saving needs and also gives them the opportunity to take advantage of free services and products. An information session will take place at the community center. The program is free and is for residents living south of the Norfolk Southern Railway in Bessemer City.
Chief’s Performance Award- Chief Tom Ellis presented awards to Nancy Robinson and Shannon Ramsey in appreciation for their service, commitment, and dedication to the Bessemer City Police Department’s ‘Operation Christmas Program’ held in the month of December 2014. Chief Ellis expressed how Mrs. Robinson and Mrs. Ramsey devoted their personal time to this project. The program worked to feed shut-ins, to provide Christmas present and food for those in need. Mayor Smith, City Council and all that were present applauded Mrs. Robinson and Mrs. Ramsey for their service.
The following items of the “Consent Agenda” were unanimously approved by motion of Kay McCathen:
1) Approval of Minutes: Regular Meeting Minutes of December 8th, 2014.
2) Appointment of BCDD Board Members: Carter Ellis and Jonathan Bowman have both reapplied to be considered for another 1 year term with the Bessemer City Downtown Development Board (Main Street Committee).
3. Request for Overnight Travel: Parks and Recreation Director, JoD Franklin, is requesting overnight travel to attend the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Directors Conference in Durham, NC from January 21st-23rd. City Manager, James Inman, and City Clerk/HR/Economic Development Officer, Joshua Ross, are both requesting overnight travel to attend the Annual North Carolina City and County Manager’s Meeting (NCCCMA Winter Seminar) in Durham, NC from February 4th-6th.
Proclamation- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Mayor Smith read aloud a Proclamation for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. By motion of Dan Boling and unanimous vote, the Proclamation was adopted by Council. A copy of the proclamation is on file at City Hall.
Council Member Mr. Dan Boling recognized Mr. Michael Meeks who was recently awarded the Martin Luther King Legacy Award by the Community Empowerment Crusade Community Service Ministry on January 10th, 2015.
Resolution Supporting CMAQ Funded Project
Mayor Smith explained that the resolution supports Phase 1 of the Highway 161 Sidewalk Project. This project will include installing sidewalks from 13th Street to the Bessemer City Park. Phase 2 of this project will include installing sidewalks along 161 toward Bessemer City Middle School.
City Planner, Mr. Jeffrey Kirchner, explained to City Council that this was the highest scoring sidewalk project in the City’s Pedestrian Plan. Mr. Kirchner also explained that he had to estimate the costs associated with this project.
By motion of Donnie Griffin and unanimous vote, the resolution was adopted. A copy of this resolution is at City Hall.
Resolution Approving Financial Terms
Mayor Smith explained that this resolution is for financial terms with BB&T for vehicles and equipment purchases. By motion of Kay McCathen and unanimous vote, the resolution was adopted. A copy of this resolution is at City Hall.
Budget Amendment- General Fund
Mayor Smith explained this amendment is for the purchase of the property at 113 West Washington Avenue which was approved by City Council at the Regular Meeting in December 2014. The budget amendment is as follows:
BE IT ORDAINED by the governing body of the City of Bessemer City that the following amendment for the purpose of purchase of property made to the annual budget ordinance for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015 as follows:
Section 1. To amend the General Fund appropriations as follows:
Acct. No. Increase Decrease
10 00 3991 991 Fund Balance Appropriated $ 83,000.00
This will result in a net increase of $30,000.00 in the appropriations for the General Fund. To provide the additional revenue for the above, the General Fund Balance will be appropriated.
10 10 4340 500 Capital Outlay $( 83,000.00)
Section 2. Copies of this budget amendment shall be furnished to the Clerk, to the Governing Board, to the Budget Officer and to the Finance Officer for their direction.
Adopted by Council, this 12th day of January, 2015.
By motion of Alfred Carpenter and unanimous vote, the budget amendment was approved. Mayor Smith explained that the plan for obtaining this property is to expand the Bessemer City Fire Department and/or other City facilities in the future. Initially, a Bessemer City Police Officer will be renting the property. Mayor Smith explained it will be beneficial to have the property income producing before any new construction begins and also beneficial to have a police officer close by the station. Attorney David Smith confirmed that the property transaction should close soon.
Budget Amendment- Community Center Capital Project
Mayor Smith explained that this amendment reflects the changes to the Bessemer City Community Center Capital Project from new construction to renovation of the existing community center. A public hearing was held in November 2014. The amendment is as follows:
BE IT ORDAINED by the governing board of the City of Bessemer City, North Carolina, that pursuant to Section 13.2 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes of North Carolina, the following capital project ordinance amendment is hereby adopted:
Section 1. The project authorized is the design/engineering/remodel of the Bessemer City Community Center.
Section 2. The officers of this unit are hereby directed to proceed with the capital project within the terms of the budget contained herein.
Section 3. The following amounts are budgeted for the project:
Construction $ 929,200
Design &Permitting 83,600
Construction Administration 55,800
Administration and Planning 50,000
Section 4. The following revenues are anticipated to be available to complete this project:
Kiser Fund $ 356,000
CDBG – Catalyst Grant 500,000
Fund Transfer Water/Sewer Fund Balance 177,750 Fund Transfer Water/Sewer Fund Balance 177,750
Section 5. The Finance Officer is directed to report, on a quarterly basis, on the financial status of each project element in Section 3 and on the total revenues expended.
Section 6. Copies of this capital project ordinance amendment shall be furnished to the Clerk to the Governing Board, and to the Budget Officer and the Finance Officer for direction in carrying out this project.
Adopted by Council, this 12th day of January, 2015.
By motion of Dan Boling and unanimous vote, the budget amendment was approved.
Public Hearing Pursuant to NCGS 160A-101- Term Changes
Mayor Smith explained that the public hearing was for members of the public to speak about the proposed Charter Amendment that would change Council Terms in Office as follows: City Council- 4 year staggered terms, Office of the Mayor- 4 year term. A Resolution of Intent was adopted by Council at the December 2014 Regular Meeting. This public hearing was advertised in the Gaston Gazette. After this hearing, Council will consider the adoption of an ordinance for this Charter Amendment at the Regular Council Meeting in February.
By motion of Kay McCathen and unanimous vote, the public hearing opened at 7:30PM.
Mayor Smith asked if there was anyone to speak in favor of the term changes. There was none. Mayor Smith asked if there was anyone to speak in opposition of the term changes. There was none.
By motion of Dan Boling and unanimous vote, the public hearing closed at 7:31PM.
Setting Council Planning Retreat Date
Dole Fresh Vegetables has been contacted to host the Council Retreat once again at their facility. Their board room is available on Friday, February 13th, 2015. By consensus, Council approved the date. Mayor Smith thanked Dole Fresh Vegetables for hosting the City for the planning retreat.
A & A Hauling and Grading, Inc.- Property Discussion
Attorney David Smith presented to Council the issue of A & A Hauling and Grading, Inc. encroaching on City property. Attorney Smith explained the options for the City to take going forward. One option would be to have the business remove all items off of the City’s property. Another option would be to sell the property that is currently encroached to the businesses. Attorney Smith also expressed he has not been able to find any information that would convey the property back to the original owners if the City was to sell the property.
Discussion was held in regards to the property’s zoning violation and upset bidding if the City moves to sell the property.
A motion was made by Howard Jones to have Attorney, David Smith, negotiate a price with A & A Hauling and Grading, Inc. Council Member Joe Will discussed taking into consideration the number of years the business has encroached on the property when developing a price per acre. Council Member Dan Boling stated that regardless if the property is sold or not, it needs to be cleaned up. Mr. Boling also expressed his concern to save tax payer dollars dealing with this situation.
Council Member Howard Jones removed his motion from the table. Consensus was made by Council to give Attorney David Smith direction to start property sell negotiations. The discussion with A & A Hauling and Grading, Inc. will be brought back to Council for a final decision.
Ellis Property Case
Attorney David Smith also reported on the status of the Ellis Property case. Attorney Smith asked Council if they desired to pursue the lawsuit regarding the Ellis property at 440 Costner School Road. In 2014, the Ellis property was out of compliance with Chapter 93, Animals, of the Bessemer City Code of Ordinances. Discussion was held amongst Council. The property is currently in compliance with City Ordinance. Authority was given to Attorney David Smith by consensus of Council to settle the Ellis case by pursing an agreement that the ordinance will not be violated again and to recoup as much legal cost as he can negotiate.
Request to Speak/Opportunity for Public Comment
Mr. John Allen Carpenter of 918 Ramseur Road spoke about his family’s property located near the A & A Hauling and Grading, Inc. property. Mr. Carpenter discussed his concerns about the items he believes is being dumped on the site including petroleum products, building products, asbestos and other harmful material. Public Works Director, Jamie Ramsey, advised that the runoff from the property does not impact Bessemer City’s reservoir. Mr. Ramsey and Attorney Smith stated there is no indication of these products being dumped at this time.
Mr. Carpenter also expressed his interest in making a bid towards the property that A & A Hauling and Grading, Inc. has encroached on if the City decides to sell that portion of land. Council Member Joe Will expressed his concerns about having the soil tested at the site. Attorney David Smith advised Council that environmental testing could be conducted but any findings would be the City’s responsibility because it is on City property. Damages related to any environmental contamination could result in having A & A Hauling and Grading, Inc. clean up the property where they have encroached. Attorney Smith also advised that if the City still desires to sell the property, a covenant could be added to the contract that calls for environmental testing and explains the responsible party of any environmental issues going forward with the encroachment. Council Member Donnie Griffin thinks the testing should be done to protect property owners around the site.
Council Member Dan Boling made a motion to wait until City Manager, James Inman, comes back to explain what was previously discussed about the property being checked. Mr. Boling removed his motion from the floor. Attorney Smith advised that he will discuss this matter with the City Manager. By consensus of Council, Attorney Smith was advised to speak to City Manager, James Inman, in regards to what has been checked at the site and to explore if any additional testing should be conducted.
Council General Discussion
Council Member Kay McCathen asked where Public Works puts brush and debris. Jamie Ramsey, Public Works Director, advised that it is currently placed off of West Maryland Avenue.
With no further business to come before the board, by motion of Alfred Carpenter and unanimous vote, the meeting adjourned at 8:05pm.