October 23, 2023 Minutes

THE FIVE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FOURTH SESSION OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMAN

VILLAGE OF ALAMANCE

October 23, 2023

7:00 p.m.

 

Present: Mayor Tichy, Mayor Pro Tem Isley, Alderman Crouse, Alderman Andrews, Alderman Tichy

Absent:

Remote: Alderman Hunt, Alderman Cheap

Invocation and call to order given by Mark Reich

Motion to approve agenda made by Alderman Tichy, seconded by Alderman Crouse. Motion carries 4-0

Motion made by Alderman Tichy to approve authorization of remote participation, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Isley. Motion carries 4-0

Motion to approve September 12, 2023, Special Meeting Minutes made by Alderman Andrews, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Isley. Motion carries 6-0

Motion made to approve September 23, 2023 meeting minutes by Alderman Crouse, seconded by Alderman Tichy. Motion carries 6-0

Public Comment

Missy Lineberry, of Dogwood Road, asked the board when water might be brought to Dogwood Road. Mayor Tichy said the board would be reviewing monies allocated to projects later in the meeting and this would hopefully help to answer questions about the Dogwood Rd project. He informed Ms. Lineberry that prices had more than doubled for the Cardinal Lane project and believe this is likely the case for other projects too. Dogwood is still one of the projects the board is considering. The decision will have to be made based on what the money allocated to the Village can cover. Mr. Farmerie explained that they would try to come up with real numbers for this project to see if it is feasible.

 

OLD BUSINESS

Engineer Report

Mr. Riech said work is nearing completion on the Cardinal Lane project. There is an anticipated overrun for the cost of backfill material due to the amount of unsuitable material that had to be removed and replaced. They are still negotiating the cost of that. The project is anticipated to be complete by next week, after clean-up, seeding, and mulching. The street paving is complete in Heritage Glen. There were a couple of complaints, one being a small section of curb that was broken off and the other was a higher edge of pavement. These issues are being corrected. Mr. Reich let the Board know that the AIA grant application has been submitted and it will likely be a couple of months before there is an answer. There was an additional funding request, and the Village has received $200,000 from the State. Mr. Farmerie will discuss this further, later in the meeting.

Neil Boone replaced 4 sections of the sidewalk on NC 62 plus a section that had to be removed to repair a water leak near K&J grill. The water leak was at 4305 South NC 62.

Mr. Reich showed the Board a map that was prepared for the Baptist Loop right of way. It shows the 6 proposed acquisitions to be obtained from 5 parcels of property. All sections occur on the western end of the loop. The edge of the pavement has been located. The reason for the proposed acquisition is to have a 10 ft right-of-way line from the edge of the pavement. This will allow the Village to maintain the overgrowth on this road and keep it safe for traveling and pedestrians. The first 2 parcels of land are owned by Clifton M. Phillippe and his wife Bonita M. Phillippe. The first parcel ID 111785 has 2,616 sf that would need to be acquired. The second parcel ID 111738 has two areas that need to be acquired, one is 551 sf and the other is 146 sf. The total area of all 3 acquisitions is 3,313 sf.  There are two parcels owned by RBS & L, LLC.  Parcel 111734 requires a purchase of 112 sf. and parcel ID 176799 requires a purchase of 713 sf. The total area of acquisition is 925sf.  The third parcel ID is 111735, owned by Abelardo Vera-Zapien. 212 sf. Is required for purchase on this property. The total area of all 6 acquisitions is 4,450sf. Mr. Reich gave the board a breakdown of the value of the property based on square footage, which is between 0.92 cents and $1.27 per square foot. Attorney Koonts advised the board that a flat fee for payment of the land may be a better option. The Board agreed to pay a flat fee of $500.00 per parcel to owners based on attorney Koonts’s advice. Mr. Reich told the board that each landowner had the right to request a survey of the property and they may also choose to donate the land to the Village.  Mayor Tichy asked the board if they were all in agreement to obtain the right of ways discussed and to pay the $500 flat fee or the $1.27 per sf. The board agreed on both.

ORC Report

Mr. Allred said all the pump stations were running well. He has installed the new auto dialer for the Pond station and should be able to install the other two later this week. Distribution testing and Bac-T testing are done. The State inspection went well. There are a couple of projects that need to be closed out, including phase 5 C in Heritage Glen. Mr. Reich told the board that the sewer permit expires November 2nd and they are lacking a cul-de-sac on tradition. The developer may be able to ask for an extension on the sewer permit. He has called them but has not received a response yet. The water permit was approved later and will not expire until next June. The other project was the Providence water line, but there is no copy of a permit on file for this project for water or sewer. Mr. Reich said he would be talking with Shawn this week to find out what needs to be done to close the project out.

 

NEW BUSINESS

Civic Penalties for 4499 Cornerstone Dr.

Mr. Farmerie informed the Board that Mr. Noble has hired a contractor for the demolition of the pool house structure. He distributed the information to the board members. The contract shows that demolition should be complete by December 15th. Mr. Farmerie recommends waving the civic penalties until February 1st, in case weather should impact the process. Alderman Tichy made a motion to waive civic penalties until February 1st seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Isley. Motion carries 6-0

 

 

Accounting Service Authorization

Mr. Farmerie directed the board’s attention to the information he had about Greg Isley and Geoffrey Forsyth. They are both qualified accountants, but Mr. Farmerie recommends Greg Isley. The NCLM highly recommends him as well as other colleagues. Another benefit of going with Gregg Isley is that he is an NCLM-approved accountant, and we could stay with him when we transfer over to the Black Mountain software. The contract is for a monthly cost of $1,875.00 or $22,500.00 annually. This is estimating that we will be using the finance officer level of staff. Mr. Farmerie said he has not created a budget amendment yet because he still needs to get some information from Black Mountain Software regarding the timeline for our switchover and how we may best utilize the accounting help they offer with the switch. He said he anticipates a budget amendment of $35,000 which will well exceed the expected expense. Mayor Pro Tem Isley asked Mr. Farmerie to explain why there is a $125,000 amount listed on this contract. Mr. Farmerie explained that $125,000 is his complete cap for payment, it could not exceed that amount. The Village would not come close to reaching that amount. A capped amount is there because it is required by law. Mr. Farmerie said most of the work they would be handling is bank reconciliation. Mayor Tichy said this service adds an extra layer of protection from fraud for the Village, having a third party review the bank statements.

Alderman Andrews made a motion to accept the contract as presented, seconded by Alderman Hunt. Motion carries 5-0 Mayor Pro Tem Isley abstained from voting.

 

Xpress Bill Pay Authorization

Mr. Farmerie said that Xpress bill pay will allow customers more convenient ways to pay while keeping our current methods. Customers will have the ability to do direct ACH bank transfers, bills can be sent through email or text, and allow payment by a link to click on. Customers have the option to sign into the system and create their own Xpress bill pay account where they can see their billing history. Xpress bill pay offers rental owners the ability to manage multiple water accounts with a single bill portal. Customers can also opt to do paperless billing. If any customer has technical issues with Xpress bill pay they will contact them directly, as the town will not be responsible for providing technical service. Mr. Farmerie presented a three-year contract to the board. There is a one-time set-up fee of $2,000 and thereafter it is $129.00 per month plus transaction fees. Mr. Farmerie told the board he had learned that Mastercard and Visa do not allow utilities to charge transaction fees, which we currently are. This company will ensure that does not happen, those fees will go to us. The transaction fee must be corrected whether we decide to use Xpress bill pay or not. There was a brief discussion about various types of transaction fees. Mr. Farmerie told the board that the biggest question we get is when the Village will offer automatic payments or drafts for the water bills. He said this service would be worth the cost for all the benefits it gives our water customers. He also explained that we would only be using Xpress bill pay until the switchover to Black Mountain is complete. Black Mountain Software will offer all the same options Xpress bill pay does. Mr. Farmerie told the board there would be a few things to figure out for those who might choose paperless billing, such as how to best get a calendar and newsletter to them. There was a comment from the audience about this service not being a good fit for all water customers and they thought this should have been presented in comparison with the way we handle billing and payments currently. There was a brief discussion among the board and an audience member about the costs and savings of either option. Mr. Farmerie suggested the board should move to vote.

Alderman Hunt made a motion to move forward with Xpress bill pay, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Isley. Motion carries 6-0

 

S.L 2023-134 Section 12.2 Funding Allocation

Mr. Farmerie explained that the allocation of $200,000 from the State must be used for water and sewer projects. He suggested funding the rest of the Cardinal Lane project with this pot of money instead of the ARP money. The ARP money can be used with more flexibility than State money.  A Motion was made by Alderman Tichy to adopt the grant ordinance pursuant to the S.L. 2023-134 section 12.2 as presented by Mr. Farmerie, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Isley. Motion carries 6-0

A motion was made by Mayor Pro Tem Isley to amend the ARP grant ordinance for The Village of Alamance to reflect the changes as presented by Mr. Farmerie, seconded by Alderman Andrews. Motion carries 6-0

 

OTHER BUSINESS

Mr. Farmerie told the board that Everbridge was launched today with success. Mayor Tichy asked Clerk Folwell to contact Ms. Powell to see if her tenants would like to add their information to Everbridge since they don’t have individual water accounts. Alderman Crouse asked about a house below Roll Construction with very high grass. Mr. Farmerie stated he thought it had been cut today.

 

 

Alderman Crouse made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Alderman Andrews. Motion carries 6-0

 

Mayor Tichy____________________________________

 

Misty Folwell, Clerk____________________________________