30 Aug JULY 19, 2023 Special Meeting Minutes
THE FIVE HUNDRED AND FORTIETH SESSION OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMAN
VILLAGE OF ALAMANCE
July 19, 2023- 7:00 PM
Present: Mayor Tichy, Mayor Pro Tem Isley, Alderman Andrews, Alderman Hunt, Alderman Cheap, Alderman Tichy, and Clerk Farmerie
Absent: Alderman Crouse
Invocation and Call to Order given by Phil Cheap.
Clerk Farmerie starts the presentation discussing the most urgent needs of the Village. He explains that the zoning map has not updated since 2006 and there have been divisions within larger plats that are not reflected in the current map. Clerk Farmerie then explains that an asset inventory list of the Village’s sewer lines that exist outside of Heritage Glen will help the Village understand what is in the group. Mayor Tichy asks Clerk Farmerie to speak with Mark Riec to confirm what sewer lines have been CCTV’ed in the past.
Clerk Farmerie continues by identifying the need to create an auto-draft billing function for Village Water bills. Alderman Tichy asks if there is an ability to create electronic copies of bills that can be sent out to residents. Clerk Farmerie explains that he is worried that if the ACH bank transferred occurred there would not be a way to track this within the current utility billing software. Mayor Tichy says that this is something that can be found out from the Village’s bank account. Mayor Tichy says that updating the Village’s accounting software can provide the opportunity to employ a more user friendly program.
Mayor Pro Tem Isley asks if there is a way to streamline the signing of checks. Mayor Pro Tem Isley says that he would like to see a system where approve of checks can be granted virtually without having to physically sign the checks. Mayor Tichy agree with Mayor Pro Isley and says that there are systems where invoices can be reviewed and approved virtually. Mayor Tichy continues by saying that he would like to see the Village pay more bills online without using paper checks. Mayor Tichy suggests looking into NCLM and/or LGC for examples.
To conclude the immediate goals, Clerk Farmerie explains that the finance room and virtual files will need to be reorganized.
Within the fiscal year Clerk Farmerie says that he would like to develop a capital improvement plan for sewer lines, roads, and possibly stormwater lines. Clerk Farmerie explains that the Village has traditionally used an ‘as needed’ approach to infrastructure construction and the creation of these plans will develop a schedule that can be planned for future years. Mayor Tichy explains that the Village has an ongoing understanding that $100,000-$140,000 can be spent each year on paving to maintain the roads regularly.
Mayor Tichy presents that the Village will need to look into Babtist Church Loop RD because the road is not in the right of way in some sections. Alderman Cheap ask to clarify that the road is in private property. Mayor Tichy says yes. Clerk Farmerie says this is something he would like to figure out quickly.
Mayor Tichy says that a stormwater line capital improvement plan is low priority but something that should be looked into. Clerk Farmerie says that he is concerned that we do not have stormwater maps but that this is not an extremely pressing need.
Clerk Farmerie explains that the radio antenna for water reading is something that can save the Village a day and half of work. He explain that there will be a large one time cost of purchasing the technology but afterwards the ongoing costs associated with the antenna would be the lease agreement from the tower owner. Mayor Tichy says an added benefit to this is that the Village will not have to purchase their own tower to place the technology on since it would be using the existing tower. Clerk Farmerie adds that the company who sells the technology can take the coordinates of the cell tower and the feet that it would be off the group and give the Village a projection for the area that the technology will cover. Clerk Farmerie continues by saying this would improve the services offered from the Village because he could research water leaks much quicker than the current system. Clerk Farmerie adds that this technology has the ability to detect a main water line leak within the hour, improving the Village’s response time. Alderman Cheap asks why did Administrator York say that it takes an hour and half to ride the Village? Clerk Farmerie responds by saying that is the timeline if everything goes exactly perfect.
Clerk Farmerie continues by saying that he would like to update the website by including access to all the ordinances, permits, and forms. Mayor Tichy adds that he would like to see all the previous minutes uploaded to the website at some point. Clerk Farmerie says that he would like to get Alderman specific emails.
Clerk Farmerie then moves onto midrange goals of the Village and presents adopting a new land use plan. He says that the current land use plan is expiring in 2025. Mayor Tichy explains that this takes around a year to fully complete.
Clerk Farmerie then says he could see the Village creating an asset inventory list of all stormwater lines.
Clerk Farmerie comments that during a heavy rain there was a lot of sitting water on the road and comments that this is something the Village can look into. Mayor Tichy says this is something Clerk Farmerie will have to work with DOT to accomplish.
Clerk Farmerie then transitions into goals of the Village over the next five to ten years. The first of which is to create a ordinance database. The next item is creating a session plan for future transitions. Clerk Farmerie then talks about creating a comprehensive transportation plan. This item would be important to understand how transportation occurs and is used in some grant applications.
Clerk Farmerie then opens the floor for Alderman to present what they see as needs. Mayor Pro Isley says that emphasis should be placed on creating direct bank transfers and streamlining the approval of payments. Mayor Tichy says that he would like the Village to collect email addresses of Village residents. Clerk Farmerie says that collecting emails from new people is no issue but getting emails from existing residents will be challenging. Mayor Tichy says we could also use mass text messaging to communicate with residents as well.
Clerk Farmerie then moves onto discussing having a second full-time position. He presents the Board with the time spent doing financial information and the proposed division of duties. Alderman Andrews asks if Clerk Farmerie is still requesting a full-time position. Clerk Farmerie says yes. Mayor Pro Tem Isley asks how we would pay for this position. Clerk Farmerie explains that this expense would come from capital outlays. Clerk Farmerie explains that he is concerned that hiring a part-time employee will not allow him to get the type of assistance with finances that he is requesting with the full-time position. Mayor Tichy says that if we contracted accounting help it would need to be a different firm than the firm that conducts our audit. Alderman Hunt asks how involved our accounting is. Clerk Farmerie says that governmental accounting is more demanding than private sector accounting because of double entry requirements. Alderman Andrews says she believes it is right to replace Clerk Farmerie’s previous position once Administrator York officially leaves. Mayor Pro Isley says that a full-time position involves benefits and other expenses. Mayor Tichy says that the basic question comes down to how much assistance is needed to conduct financial work. Clerk Farmerie says that he understands two full-time positions is a big ask currently and that be believes the board is more comfortable using a part-time position and contracting out some financial work. He explains that a good path forward could include holding a review in 6 months to determine how the Board feels work is getting done and what Clerk Farmerie has experienced from being the administrator in reference to hiring a second full-time position. Mayor Tichy suggests holding this review in January. Alderman Tichy says that there are benefits to having a second position but notes that budgets are set by salary. Alderman Cheap asks if there’s a possibility to share an employee with another smaller municipality. Clerk Farmerie explains that he would be opposed to this practice because he does not believe proper accountability will be able to be maintained through sharing workers.
The board moves to go into closed session to discuss personnel issues.
Alderman Andrews moves to return to public meeting, Alderman Cheap seconds, unanimous decision.
Alderman Tichy moves to adjourn, Alderman Cheap seconds, unanimous decision.
____________________________________________ Don Tichy, Mayor
____________________________________________ Nicholas Farmerie, Village Clerk
THE FIVE HUNDRED AND THIRITY NINTH SESSION OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMAN
VILLAGE OF ALAMANCE
June 26, 2023- 7:00 PM
Present: Mayor Tichy, Mayor Pro Tem Isley, Alderman Andrews, Alderman Hunt, Alderman Cheap, Alderman Tichy, Alderman Crouse, Village Administrator York, and Clerk Farmerie
Invocation and Call to Order given by Mark Reich
Alderman Tichy motions to approve the May 22, 2023, minutes, Alderman Hunt seconds the motion. The motion carries 6-0.
Public Hearing FY 2023-2024 Budget
Mr. York explains that the Village will be going revenue neutral to a tax rate of $.145 per $100 valuation. Mr. York explains that the Village will be raising water rates to $6.42 per 1,000 gallons of water and $7.60 per 1,000 of sewer. The Village will also be raising the flat rate of water to $9.50 and the flat rate of sewer to $10.00. Mayor Tichy explains this also applies to personal property such as car registration and boats so citizens can expect a 25% decrease in these payments. Alderman Tichy motions to approve the FY 23-24 budget, Mayor Pro Tem Isley seconds the motion, motion carries 6-0. Alderman Tichy motions to approve the budget amendments, Mayor Pro Tem Isley seconds, motion carries 6-0. Alderman Tichy motions to approve fee schedule, Alderman Cheap seconds, motion carries 6-0.
Naydine Sharpe remarks that items are discussed vaguely at Town Meetings. Mrs. Sharpe asks when items are discussed outside of regular scheduled meetings. Mrs. Sharp says that the public is uniformed as to what is being presented to the Board. Mayor Tichy says we’ve been discussing multiple items on the agenda for months. Mayor Tichy says he sometimes talks with Board members outside of meetings but does not try to change Board members’ opinions. Mrs. Sharpe then asks about issues in the past. Mayor Tichy explains that unless there is a specific issue from the past, he will center his discussion on the current agenda. Mayor Tichy explains that many of the issues Mrs. Sharpe presents are administrative in nature and are part of the day-to-day decision making of the Town. Mayor Tichy explains that the Village will commit itself to posting the agenda online one week before the Town meeting is scheduled. Mayor Tichy reminds the room that the Board is committed to only conducting Village business in public. Mayor Tichy gives an example of the location of speed sign placement being of an executive nature and not a question that would be appropriate to present to a legislative board.
Cardinal Lane outfall
Mark Reich explains that Breece Construction won the lowest bid at $357,695 and explains that the second lowest bid was only a $300 difference. Mr. Reich explains that the bid was as high as it was because of demand for service. He recommends awarding the bid due to the Village needing to assign General Assembly ARPA funds by Friday June 30th, 2023 or having this taken back by the State. Mr. Reich explains that DWI requires a 5% contingency fund and that he recommends using direct federal ARPA funds to cover. Clerk Farmerie clarifies questions on the location and totals of ARPA funds being allocated.
Precision Safe Sidewalks
The report from Precision Sidewalks shows a total of 66 total hazards. Mr. Reich explains that there are portions of the sideway that are so damaged that they will need to be completely replaced and are not included with this service. Mr. Reich is concerned with cutting around 2.5 inches precast curbs. Mayor Pro Tem Isley asks if we can utilize foam to raise the sidewalks. Mr. Reich explains that there might be a possibility to use epoxy to raise the sidewalk. Mayor Pro Tem Isley is concerned that the sidewalk could continue to settle and make this work irrelevant. Mr. Reich believes this is not a concern. This topic is tabled until next meeting.
Radar speed signs have been installed.
Mr. Reich explains that there are three options for paving within Heritage Glen. Option 1 exceeds the budgeted amount so option 2 or 3 are recommended. Option 2 is $108,000, option 3 is $93,100. Alderman Cheap commented that this is not a continuous need, and this section of street has not been paved in 20 years. The Board agrees that paving part of Cornerstone Drive will be included along with all of Londonderry CT, St. George CT, and part of Freedom St. The Board chooses to wait to repave small sections of Liberty Dr. and Cornerstone Dr. Alderman Cheap motions to approve $121,000 in paving authorization, Mayor Pro Tem Isley seconds, motions carries 6-0.
Mr. Reich explains that he and Mr. York will need to get together to build the invoice for Duke Power. He also notes that the sewer connections for 4122 and 4130 S. NC 62 are completed.
Mr. York explained that the original budget for Cardinal Lane project was $222,400. The new construction cost will be $375,000 and the total cost of the project will be $414,000. Mr. York explains that this will require the Board to amend both sets of grant project ordinances. Alderman Cheap clarifies how the funding structure works. Mr. York explains that all of the ARP funding from the General Assembly will be allocated to this project, the remainder will be paid for using direct federal ARP funds. Alderman Andrews motions to amend the General Assembly’s allocation of ARP funding for the grant project ordinance to $92,600 for Cardinal LN project. Mayor Pro Tem Isley seconds, motion carries 6-0. Mayor Pro Tem Isley motions to amend the direct federal ARP funding allocation for the grant project ordinance to include $99,000 for the Cardinal LN project. Alderman Andrews seconds, motion carries 6-0.
Clerk Farmerie gave an update on Plaid Day from the Plaid Day committee meeting discussions. The committee tabled the discussion on providing direct food or utilizing food trucks and decided that the regular meeting for the Plaid Day committee will be every 3rd Monday of the month.
Arnold informed the Board that equipment was installed on NC 62 and this is working great. He also informed the Board that they tested the THM and this was good.
Call for Board of Adjustment Hearing: Special Use Permit for 2869 Rob Shepard Dr.
Alderman Cheap motions to set the Board of Adjustment hearing for July 24, 2023, Alderman Hunt seconds. Motion carries 6-0.
Planning Board Appointment
Alderman Crouse motions to appoint Keith Miller, Roy Glasco, Jeff Sharp. Alderman Andrews seconded. Motion carries 6-0. Mr. York clarifies that Keith Miller is the ETA appointee and the terms will run until June 26, 2026.
Approval of Audit Contract
Mr. York explains that due to the Village’s level of expenditure of ARP funding the Village will require a higher level audit which will cost more then typical. Alderman Tichy moves to approve the audit contract, Alderman Cheap seconds, motion carries 6-0.
401(k) for Village Employees
Mr. York says that he will have a resolution to sign at the next Board meeting and the Board will need to decide on a level to match.
Speed Sign Data
Clerk Farmerie explains that information gathered from the speed signs indicate that the Village does not have a major speeding issue. Mr. Farmerie explains that only 6% of cars passing the sign by the bridge are traveling over 10 MPH of the speed limit and only 23% of cars passing this sign are traveling over 5 MPH of the speed limit. Mr. Farmerie continues by saying that the data obtained from the sign by E.M. Holt school shows 5% of cars traveling over 10 MPH the speed limit and 16% of cars traveling over 5MPH of the speed limit. Mr. Farmerie explains that there is a slight uptick around midnight to 4AM in speeders but this is not statistically significant compared to other times in the day. Mayor Tichy and Alderman Crouse agree that they see people slowing down when they get closer to the signs.
Finance Report/ Budget Amendment
Mr. York explains that these budget amendments are to ensure that the Village is still in good financial standing for each line-item. Alderman Crouse motions to approve the budget amendments, Alderman Cheap seconds, motion carries 6-0.
Alderman Cheap makes note that this ordinance would require citizens that are within 200 feet of water and sewer lines to connect. Clerk Farmerie clarifies that this would not apply to current wells or septic systems. Clerk Farmerie also clarifies that this inclusion is because of public health reasons with the Village being able to monitor the quality of utility lines owned but cannot monitor the quality of private utility systems. Clark Farmerie also explains that 200 feet is roughly a single parcel. Alderman Cheap notes that there is a state bill that could eliminate this practice. Clark Farmerie explains that there is a bill going through the General Assembly that will remove municipalities’ ability to force utility connection. Clerk Farmerie explains that the Village will need to monitor if this bill gets passed and if it does it only removes this section of the ordinance. The remaining sections will continue to be enforceable. Alderman Cheap motions to approve the Water and Sewer regulation, Alderman Andrews seconds. Motion carries 6-0.
Reauthorization of Second Full-time Position
Clerk Farmerie explains that he is asking the Board to reauthorize the advertisement for the current position he holds, the Assistant to the Administrator/ Clerk. Clerk Farmerie explains that the day-to-day needs of the Village are too great to be able to investigate the long-term needs of the Village. Clerk Farmerie explained that the main reason why he was able to create a utility ordinance was because there were two people in the office. Mayor Pro Tem Isley says he is open to hiring a part-time assistant but would not agree with hiring a second full-time position. Clerk Farmerie explains that he would like to change the position to emphasize more of the financial aspect of the work over the assistant aspects. Clerk Farmerie explains that the big difference between these positions is the ability to obtain and administer grants. Mayor Pro Tem Isley asks if Clerk Farmerie has the ability to do that job or fill that role. Clerk Farmerie explains that he does not believe he can do this work with the other long-term needs of the Village. Clerk Farmerie explains that if he is running all the finances and maintaining grants, he will not have time to do other needs of the Village. Alderman Andrews asks if this is a position that needs to be filled right now or if this is something that can wait. Clerk Farmerie explains that this is ultimately a decision of how efficiently the Board wants the Village to run and recommends that hiring the second full-time position with knowledge in financials in the most fiscally responsible choice the Board can make. Alderman Tichy asks to see a breakdown of the job responsibilities between the two different positions. Mayor Tichy says that the question that needs to be answered is how much time is spent doing financial work and asks Clerk Farmerie for an analysis of the time spent doing financial work. Mayor Pro Tem Isley says that he does not know if the Village would be ready to move that fast and asks what would happen if in a few years the Village does not have a need for a second position. Clerk Farmerie explains that it’s human nature to change and that there will always be improvements to be found. He also notes that this position would serve at the will of the Board, so the Board has the ability to reevaluate this second position at any time. Alderman Andrews says that she would like to discuss the goals of the Village moving forward. Clerk Farmerie recommends holding a special meeting to discuss the future of the Village. Alderman Andrews asks if Mr. York has time to write grants in his current role. Mr. York says that he does but says that Clerk Farmerie’s vision of what the Village needs are different from his and that he will make more effective use of this position then Mr. York would. Clerk Farmerie says that he recommends making a decision on the extent of the second position before Mr. York leaves in August.
Alderman Andrews motions to adjourns, Alderman Crouse seconds, motion passes 6-0.
____________________________________________ Don Tichy, Mayor
____________________________________________ Nicholas Farmerie, Village Clerk