March 12, 2024 Special Meeting Minutes

VILLAGE OF ALAMANCE

Special Meeting Minutes

Village of Alamance Town Hall

March 12th, 2024

6:00 p.m.

 

Attending: Mayor Tichy, Mayor Pro Tem Isley, Alderman Crouse, Alderman Hunt, Alderman Andrews, Alderman Cheap.

Absent: Alderman Tichy

Invocation: Alderman Cheap

Motion made by Alderman Crouse to approve agenda, seconded by Alderman Hunt.

Personnel Policy

There were some questions regarding how the holiday time, vacation, and sick time off were counted. Mr. Farmerie told the board that there would be two State holidays, which fell on a Friday, that would give himself and Clerk Folwell 2 floating holidays to use over the calendar year. The holiday time of 20 hours would be kept separate from the vacation and sick time and would not roll over. A motion was made by Alderman Hunt to adopt the personnel policy, seconded by Alderman Andrews. Motion carries 4-1.

Water and Sewer Rate Increases

The water and sewer rate increase was discussed. Mr. Farmerie had several options prepared for the Board along with graphs and visuals of the water and sewer fund financial information. He recommended options one and three for raising rates, which would use a volumetric rate structure which would keep the base rate lower for everyone. These two options would put the largest water consumers in a higher rate category after a certain amount of water was used.  It is estimated that the use of the recommended volumetric rate system would have the water and sewer fund solvent again within 4 to 5 years and keep rates as low as possible for average users. Mr. Farmerie explained that the need for rate increases was due to increases in operational costs, increased frequency of system breakdowns and being cited by the State this year with a letter to the Village about the negative net operating ratio within the fund. The Board asked Mr. Farmerie to find out how the irrigation would be calculated for that type of billing.

There was some question about how much funding for salaries came out of the General fund and the water and sewer fund and if those amounts could be adjusted.

The Board requested more information on the different rate increases, the salary portions coming out of water and sewer, and how to monitor irrigation before making a decision.

 

 

Presentation for 4035 S NC 62 Burlington NC 27215

Mr. Farmerie read the following aloud:

 

Notes on Water Tower

4035 S NC 62 Burlington NC 27215

 

State Code Enforcement Opinion

Eric (Clem, State Code Enforcement Officer) communicated with me that he believes State Code Enforcement could pursue nuisance abatement actions against the Tower citing the Minimum Non-Residential Code.

Legal Opinion

At this time, Paul (Koots, Village Attorney) does not believe that the Village would be liable for any damages that may occur with any events that might involve the water tower. This is due to the land and the water tower being owned by a private individual and the Village being unaware of the structural integrity of the Tower. Paul said that if the Village learned that the Tower was not structurally sound then the Village could possibly be liable for negligence.

Paul recommended against nuisance abatement for a variety of reasons including the fact that the Tower predates our zoning ordinance so it could likely be claimed as grandfathered status.

 

County’s Opinion (Assistant County Manager)

The County has grant funding available to identify brownfield sites. This property owner is currently eligible for this grant. If an application is put in today, it would likely be months before we would find out if the Tower was awarded the grant. The Assistant Manager did recommend against any direct ownership or responsibility of the Tower.

 

PTRC’s Opinion

PTRC has grant funding available for Brown Field remediation. The site would first have to be deemed a Brownfield to qualify. Once it qualifies then a grant request can be put in. The max award the Village could expect to receive would very likely not cover the entire cost of either demolition or rehabilitation.

 

Known Facts

The Village does not have an independent report that shows the structural integrity of the Tower at this time.

The Village has a report from 2019 that identifies the Tower as having high levels of Lead and high levels of Chromium on the Tower. At that time, the Village was quoted between 175k-250k for rehabilitation work. We can confidently predict that that figure is closer to 500k-750k now.

The Tower has never been used as a part of the incorporated Village’s water system.

This Tower is very similar to hundreds of other small, former NC mill-town water towers.

A lot more state resources are available for demolition of these types of structures compared to rehabilitation work.

 

Unconfirmed facts (at this time) from property owner

The property owner has told me that they have a pending written report from an architectural firm in Kentucky that identifies the Tower as having no structural issues and no lead present.

The property owner is not seeking the Village to provide direct local funding towards rehabilitation of the Tower.

 

Recommended options available to the Board

  1. Have the Village act as a catalyst to help get the property owner in the room with the appropriate private/ non-profit organization to help demolish or rehabilitate the structure.
  2. Create a legal agreement between the property owner and the Village to transfer ownership of the Tower in the event that the Village receives either funding to rehabilitate the tower or to demolish the tower.

 

 

Mr. Farmerie noted that in August of 2012, the tower was brought before the Board to purchase, and they declined. The Board has remained consistent in its decision to decline ownership of the tower since then, with two more opportunities since 2012 to take ownership of it.

The Board discussed the options of acting as a catalyst to help the property owner find private or non-profit funding for the structure. It was ultimately decided that it would not be in the best interest of the Village to be involved in any process as it could be seen as preferential treatment or even hold the Village liable for anything to do with the tower.

 

Motion to adjourn made by Alderman Cheap, seconded by Alderman Crouse. Motion carries 5-0

 

Mayor Tichy____________________________

Misty Folwell, Clerk _____________________________