February 2015 Regular City Council Meeting Minutes

February 9th, 2015

The Bessemer City Council met in regular session on Monday, February 9th, 2015 at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
Members Present
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. Dan Boling excused himself from the meeting due to illness.

Call to Order, Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Smith called the meeting to order. Following the prayer, Mayor Smith led in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Approval of the February Agenda
By motion of Alfred Carpenter and unanimous vote, the February Agenda was approved.

Special Presentations
Gaston College Proclamation- Mayor Smith read aloud a proclamation in appreciation and congratulations to Gaston College for 50 years of service. After reading the proclamation, a motion was made by Joe Will, followed by unanimous vote, to adopt the proclamation. Mayor Smith presented a certificate of the proclamation to Gaston College representatives.

Student Appreciation– Students from Bessemer City High School, Bessemer City Middle 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.

Mayor Smith began with recognizing each school representative by presenting to them a Bessemer City lapel pin in appreciation of their involvement with the Student Appreciation Program.

Mr. James Montgomery, Principal of Bessemer City High School, and Mayor Smith, presented certificates to Jason Easler, Christopher Payne, Daniel Green, and Devlin Haynes.

Ms. Rebecca Wilson, Principal of Bessemer City Middle School, and Mayor Smith, presented certificates to Alyssa Jenkins, Brianna Davis, Riley Chitwood, Laura Toledo, Felicity Crain, Matthew Harris, Jazlin Whatt, John Bowlin, and Jesus Raya Cervantes.

Mrs. Beth Germain, Principal of Bessemer City Central Elementary, and Mayor Smith, presented certificates to Kristina Smart, Andrew Castro, and Elliot Bare.

Mrs. Erin Morehead, Counselor at Bessemer City Primary School, and Mayor Smith, presented certificates to Samantha “JoJo” Totherow, Lacey Greene, and Montana Niederer.

Request to Speak/Opportunity for Public Comment
This is an opportunity for members of the public to express items of interest to the Mayor and City Council. This is not a time to respond or take action. Any necessary action will be taken under advisement. Speakers are asked to use proper decorum and to limit comments to no more than five minutes.

Mr. Adrienne Stinnett of 948 Ramseur Road, Bessemer City, NC 28016- Mr. Stinnett spoke in regards to the on-going situation with the A & A Hauling and Grading, Inc.’s encroachment on city property. Mr. Stinnett stated that they are ready to resolve this issue and stated there have been false accusations made against their company. Mr. Stinnett stated that anyone is welcome to visit the site to view the encroachment.

Consent Agenda
The following items of the “Consent Agenda” were unanimously approved by motion of Howard Jones:

1. Approval of Minutes: Regular Meeting Minutes of January 12th, 2015 and Work Session Minutes of January 27th, 2015.
2. Reappointment of ABC Board Members: Otis Whitehurst was appointed by Council on 5/12/2014. Rosa Dortch was appointed on 7/14/2012. Both members new terms will expire in February 2018.
3. Request for Overnight Travel: Events and Senior Coordinator, Adora Alford, is requesting to attend the Anne Johnson Institute Senior Center Certification in Asheville, NC March 16th-March 19th.
Proclamation- Black History Month
Mayor Smith read aloud a Proclamation for Black History Month. This proclamation expresses the dedication, achievements, and role African Americans have contributed to Bessemer City and the State of North Carolina. By motion of Kay McCathen and unanimous vote, the Proclamation was adopted by Council. A copy of the proclamation is on file at City Hall.

Proclamation- Valentine’s Day and Random Acts of Kindness
Mayor Smith read aloud a Proclamation for Valentine’s Day and Random Acts of Kindness. This proclamation encourages citizens to perform random acts of kindness in the community on February 14th. By motion of Alfred Carpenter and unanimous vote, the proclamation was adopted. A copy of this proclamation is on file 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.

Ordinance Amending the Charter- Terms of Office
This ordinance will amend the Bessemer City Charter to modify terms of office as follows: Office of the Mayor to a four (4) year term and staggered four (4) year terms for City Council Members. In accordance to N.C.G.S. §160A-102, a notice will be published within 10 days of the adoption of this ordinance summarizing its content and effect. If a referendum petition is received within 30 days of this publication, procedures described in N.C.G.S. §160A-103 shall be followed.

By motion of Joe Will and unanimous vote, the following ordinance was adopted:


WHEREAS, N.C.G.S. §160A-102 authorizes the City Council of Bessemer City to amend the City of Bessemer City’s Charter to implement any of the optional forms of government set forth in N.C.G.S. §160A-102; and

WHEREAS, one of the options listed in the statute is that the Mayor and members of City Council may serve either two (2) or four (4) year terms and that all of the terms need not expire in the same year (“staggered” terms); and

WHEREAS, The City Council desires to amend the City’s Charter to provide that the office of Mayor shall have a four (4) year term and that members of the City Council shall serve staggered four (4) year terms; and

WHERAS, in order to implement staggered terms for the Council Members, it will be necessary at the next municipal election in November 2015 for three (3) of the Council members to be elected to two (2) year terms, and for the remaining three (3) Council members and the Mayor to be elected to four (4) year terms; and

WHEREAS, the City Council has complied with all of the procedures required in N.C.G.S. §160A-102 to amend the City’s Charter to implement staggered four (4) year Council terms and a four (4) year term for the office of Mayor, by adopting a Resolution of Intent on Monday, December 8th, 2014; by publishing notice of the public hearing on Monday, December 29th, 2014; and by holding a public hearing on Monday, January 12th, 2015.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY ORDAINED, by the City Council of the City of Bessemer City, North Carolina that the Charter of the City of Bessemer City is hereby amended to read as follows:

CHAPTER II. Mayor and Council.

The term of office for the Mayor shall be a four (4) year term, beginning the day and hour of the organizational meeting of the Council, and shall continue until their successor is elected and qualified.

The terms of office for all members of City Council shall be four (4) years staggered, beginning the day and hour of the organizational meeting of the Council, and shall continue until their successors are elected and qualified.

Adopted this the 9th day of February, 2015.

Mayor Smith announced that there would be a five minute intermission at this time in order to address a situation. The break began at 7:22PM. The meeting was called back into order at 7:28PM.

City Manager’s Report

A & A Hauling and Grading, Inc.
City Manager, James Inman, presented City Engineer, Doug Chapman with McGill Associates, to report on his findings at the encroached site. Mr. Chapman explain the history of the site by displaying photographs showing the changes at the property. The total acreage of property encroached is estimated to be around half an acre. Mr. Chapman examined the soil and material at the site. Items found include concrete, PCV pipe, and other related material. There is no concern for this material at the site. DENR also viewed the site and stated there are no concerns for this site to impact the City reservoir.

Mr. Inman asked if there was anything found that would cause concern for contamination. Mr. Chapman expressed there is no need for concern with the material found at the site.

Mr. Inman also expressed that there has been an offer from A & A Hauling and Grading, Inc. to purchase the encroached property at $5,000 per acre along with paying for the costs to survey the property, legal fees, and any other costs associated with the property purchase. Attorney David Smith explained to Council that this a formal offer to purchase. A 5% deposit is required to be submitted to the City Clerk.

Howard Jones made a motion of accept the offer to purchase from A & A Hauling and Grading, Inc.

David Smith explained that this bid can be upset within 10 days of the advertisement of the offer according to the procedures explained in N.C.G.S. §160A-269.

Council Member Joe Will had a question about future run off into the City’s reservoir. Engineer, Doug Chapman, explained that the topography at the site shows that run off would not impact the reservoir.

Council Member Donnie Griffin asked if the price was a fair deal. Attorney David Smith explained that is up to Council to determine.

City Manager, James Inman, expressed that it would be a good idea to include a requirement prior to closing on the property to construct a fence showing the property line so that future encroachment does not happen.

Mayor Smith asked Council’s pleasure with the motion made by Council Member Howard Jones. The vote to accept the offer was unanimous.

Sewer Bids
James Inman explained the situation with sewer bids received for an improvement project. The bids came in above what was expected. This increase for the project means that the City would have to go back to the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources (NCDENR) and the Local Government Commission (LGC) for additional funding approval. Mr. Inman recommended to Council at this time to reject all bids so that the city can get approval from the LGC.

My motion of Howard Jones and unanimous vote, all bids were rejected for the project.

Council General Discussion
Mayor Smith brought up a concern from a local business regarding the lights staying on in downtown past the Christmas season. Mayor Smith expressed she thinks the lights are inviting and welcoming. City Manager, James Inman, expressed the cost per day for the lights along with the downtown clock and a flashing caution light. The costs per day is estimated by Duke Energy to be $5.70 per day.

Mayor Smith expressed that she, along with Council Member Dan Boling, would like to pay for the lights. Attorney David Smith advised against this action. James Inman expressed his concern that by submitting to one complaint may open up other issues going forward. He also expressed the compliments he has heard from citizens and also from representatives from the new industry, Tosaf, about how inviting and attractive the lights look. David Smith stated it is possible to fund, but it should not be policy and he advises against Council engaging in funding public expenses.

Council Member Joe Will suggested that the positive responses from the lights should be communicated with the business that has concern. Council Members Howard Jones and Alfred Carpenter expressed that they do not believe one person should dictate the direction or action of Council.

Mayor Smith reminded Council of the 2015 City Council Planning Retreat.

Being not further business to come before the board, by motion of Donnie Griffin and unanimous vote, the meeting adjourned at 7:51PM.

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