October 3, 2019
(A Comprehensive Review of the Past Four Years)
The purpose of the Mayor's Report is to serve as a supplement to the minutes of the meetings of the Woodland Town Board of Commissioners. While the Minutes of the Town Board are created to serve as an official, written record of what transpired during the Board Meeting and any action which may have been taken by the Board Members; the Mayor's Report was created to serve as a more, in-depth explanation of the particular issues which the Board had discussed, reviewed, or had taken under consideration. In some cases, the report touched on a particular issue that the Board may have needed to address at some future point in time.
Over the years, the Mayor's Reports have also served as a compass for me, to help lead and guide the Board Members on matters that should be considered, for the sake of helping the town move forward in a positive direction and ensuring that the Town is operating like a professional, governmental agency.
This Mayor's Report will serve as the final report of my four-year, Mayoral Tenure and will cover the highlights of that entire, period of time. Over the course of my 48-month term, with the inclusion of this report, I have submitted a total 22 reports to the Town Board and citizens of Woodland. All of the previous reports can be found on the town's website (www.townofwoodlandnc.com).
This final report will serve as a record of the many accomplishments that have been achieved by this Town Board over the past four years, as well as many of the challenges we faced. By reviewing the previous 21 reports in succession (from first to last), a clear picture is revealed of how the Board proceeded to identify a variety of town-wide issues; why those issues needed to be addressed and in many cases, the final outcome as a result of the actions taken by the Town Board. The reports also helped Board Members to establish goals and develop strategies to address problems that arose.
Also included in this report are the programs and special activities which were sponsored by the members of Woodland Community Outreach, Incorporated. WCO is a non-profit, 501c3 organization, which was created by the members of the Woodland Community (including Mayor Manuel and his wife, Pattie), in an effort to sponsor community-wide programs, activities and events, designed to enhance the lives of the community members and to help increase community spirit and help to beautify our town. I would encourage everyone to join WCO!!
HIGHLIGHTS, ISSUES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE WOODLAND TOWN BOARD
Solar Farm Issue and Subsequent Documentary – On December 3, 2019, during the Inaugural Town Board Meeting for the newly elected Board Members, a carry-over, agenda item from the previous month was addressed. The matter involved the request for a certain parcel of farm land to be re-zoned, so that a solar farm could be constructed on the property. Some citizens had come forth with a signed petition, expressing their disapproval of installation of another solar farm to be installed within the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) of the town. Questions were raised by a number of citizens and some answers were provided by the solar farm company (Strata Solar Company) and Mr. Blow (the owner of the property in question). Please refer to the Mayor's Report of January 7, 2016, for more details of the meeting, which can be found on the town's website.
An article was published by the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald (12/8/16), regarding the topic of the meeting. The article incorrectly stated that the Town of Woodland was afraid of allowing the installation of a solar farm near the town, in fear that the solar panels may soak up the sun's energy. Within 5 days of the publication of the article, the headlines caught national and international attention. The contents of the article also went global as a result of the internet, within a few, short days of its release. We began receiving telephone calls and electronic messages from as far away as Russia, Germany, China, New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and just about every state in the country!! It was an incredible thing to witness!!
It only took 4 days from the date the article was released, for all of this to happen!! Just about all of the publicity was very negative for the town, but the Town Board weathered the storm and was able to set the record straight, by issuing a letter of explanation on the town's website (please see “Solar Farm Issue”).
A group of college students who were studying Visual Arts at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington (a three-hour ride away), were interested in seeking the truth regarding the issue. Over a period of several months they interviewed several board members and town citizens regarding the matter and created a documentary entitled “The Sunny Side.” A copy of the disc is at Town Hall, if anyone would like to view it. We are also trying to download it onto the website.
Additionally, we also received 91 letters from the Seventh Grade students of a Science Teacher working in Montgomery, New York. The students had come across the article on the internet, while they were studying alternative energy sources. The purpose of the students' letters was to convince the Town Board Members to reconsider our decision regarding the use of solar energy. I read all 91 letters, before responding to them. I also included a copy of the documentary, which was completed by the college students. Commissioner Pat Liverman also submitted a letter to the teacher, in an effort to set the record straight.
Wastewater Treatment System – During that Inaugural Board Meeting of December 3, 2015, Board Members received a very alarming report from representatives of the Wooten Company, an engineering firm hired by the town to test the condition of the sewer and water treatment system. It was discovered that the underground, cracked and broken pipes were allowing surface, rain water to enter the system, during heavy rain events. The excessive amount of water which entered the pipes, caused the the sewer system to overflow. As a result, untreated, sewer material flowed out of the manhole covers in certain sections of town. More information is available in three, separate reports entitled “Woodland Water Utility Reports,” which are on the town's website.
This overflow situation was a very serious problem and was deemed a major violation of the permit issued by the state, which allowed the town to operate the wastewater treatment system. These overflow incidents resulted in the town receiving numerous violation citations from the NC State Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Water Quality. The state also imposed civil fines against the town.
According to representatives of the Wooten Company, which conducted tests on the underground pipes, the estimated costs to repair the ailing sewer system were listed in excess of $2,000,000. The Board Members realized that the need to start working on a plan of action to address the multiple problems concerning our wastewater treatment system and identify potential funding sources (grants and loans) that may be utilized to pay for this project.
Asset Inventory Assessment Project - On June 2, 2017, Woodland received notification from the state that it was approved for a Wastewater Asset Inventory and Assessment Grant from the Water Infrastructure Fund in the amount of $76,000. Special features of the grant included a 1.5% ($1,140.00) Grant Fee. Additionally, 5% of the grant could be paid through “In Kind” services, such as the cost of labor required to complete the project.
The engineering firm of Rivers and Associates was hired to perform the work. As a result of the grant, two documents were created:
The Asset Inventory Management Plan: The Asset Inventory Management Plan presents a detailed description of the wastewater system and how it is operated.
The Capital Improvement Plan: The Capital Improvement Plan identifies the problem areas of the wastewater system, the estimated cost for repairs and a three-phase program to repair those areas.
The estimated costs of repairs for the wastewater system was identified to be $3,282,000.00!!!
Community Development Block Grant Applications - On August 27, 2018, a public hearing was held to provide specific information to the community about the town's intentions to apply for the grant, with the assistance of the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments. The grant funds would be used to repair some of the major problem areas of the town's wastewater system.
In October 2018, the Town Board of Commissioners submitted an application for a CDBG in the amount of $2 million, to assist in the repairs of our wastewater system. The money would be used to repair two of our lift stations, which are responsible for pumping wastewater from the town to the wastewater facility treatment plant outside of town. The funds will also be used to repair and replace some of the underground pipes and manholes.
On March 19, 2019, the town received notification that the application was denied, due the competitiveness of the limited funding and the town's ranking, in comparison to applications submitted by competing towns and county agencies.
On September 26, 2019, another public hearing was held to provide specific information to the community about the town's intentions to re-apply for the grant, again with the assistance of the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments. This grant application was due on September 30, 2019.
Installation of New Supply Well – During a Workshop Meeting held on February 17, 2016, the Town Board determined that the town was in serious need of a new supply well. The location site for the new well is on the lot located at the corner of Linden Avenue and Ashe Street. The Town Board obtained a loan in the amount of ($663,550) from the NC Department of State Treasury, State and Local Government Finance Division and the Local Government Division. Fifty percent of the total loan amount ($331,775) was determined to be “Principal Forgiveness,” which means the town is not responsible for paying back that amount.
Drilling for the test well project commenced in mid-March 2017. According to the contract, it was agreed that expenses would be covered down to a depth of 360 feet. A.C. Shultes, the contractor on the project, did find an aquifer at that depth, but according to geological studies; a larger aquifer, the Cape Fear Aquifer, was located at 420 feet.
Due to the excessive depth involved, the costs of the test drill project was increased by approximately $18,740.00, from $130,242.27, to $148,982.27.
As a result of the additional expenses of the drilling project, as well as increased construction costs to install the wellhead, Woodland had to seek additional funding. A second request was made to the NC Department of State Treasury, State and Local Government Finance Division and the Local Government Division. The additional loan request was for $121,375. This raised the total amount of funding received from the state to $784,925. The total principal forgiveness remained at $331,775. The new loan amount (with zero percent interest) was increased to $453,150. The annual payments also increased from $16,588.75, to $22,657.50. This represents an annual loan payment increase of $6,068.75 for the 20 year loan.
The new well was scheduled to be completed on July 13, 2019; however, the project is behind schedule and will hopefully be completed before the end of December 2019.
Process for Releasing Records – During a Work Session held on July 20, 2016, the Town Board
decided to implement a new policy for releasing records. The policy became necessary after the town encountered the Solar Farm Issue. We received a large number of requests from outside agencies and other, curious people, who wanted to obtain official records from that particular Board Meeting on 12/3/15. Requests also came in for copies of zoning ordinances and other documents that were thought to be related to that issue. The policy took effect on August 1, 2016.
Purchase of New Asphalt Roller – In July 2016, at the recommendation of Mr. Robbie Collier, the Public Work's Director and Officer in Responsible Charge for the town's water and sewer systems, the town purchased a new, one-ton asphalt roller at the price of $8,149. The heavy equipment vehicle will assist the town crew to patch some of the problem areas of our local roads.
Operational/Procedural Manual – On October 5, 2017, the Town Board of Commissioners adopted the Operational/Procedural Manual. The purpose of this document is to serve as a guideline for Town Board Members to follow, with regards to overseeing the properties and assets of the town; as well as the function and proper conduct of Town Board Members (including the mayor, mayor pro temp and commissioners); the town clerk; the creation and establishment of committees; and Board Meetings (regular meetings and special called meetings).
The committee assigned with the task of creating this document was comprised of Commissioners Ron Lane and Pat Liverman, along with the assistance of Catina (Jackson) Hoggard and Laureen Flood. They are all to be commended for their hard work and dedication to the creation of this detailed document.
Public Hearing for Water Rate Increase – On August 16, 2018, the Town Board held a public hearing to provide information to the community regarding the need to raise the water rates. The original water rate was $21.00 for up to 3,000 gallons of drinking water consumption and $21.00 for up to 3,000 gallons of sewer water. The monthly total was $42.00. Anything over 3,000 gallons was charged at $.05 per every 1,000 gallons. Woodland had not raised its water rate since 2010.
On October 15, 2018, the Town Board adopted the new water rates.
The new rate for drinking water was set at a base rate of $13.00 for the hook up to the water system. Then charge each customer $3.50 for every 1,000 gallons used.
The new rate for sewer water was set at a base rate of $14.00 for the hook up to the sewer system. Then charge each customer $4.50 for every 1,000 gallons used.
The total base rate for both water and sewer combined will be $27.00. The total each customer will be charged is $8.00 for every 1,000 gallons of water and every 1,000 gallons of sewer water used.
The new rate for out-of-town customers was set at $26.00 and $7.00 for every 1,000 gallons used. The base rate for out-of -town customers is double the rate of in town customers, because they do not pay taxes to the town, but the town is still obligated to maintain those water lines.
On February 7, 2019, the water rates for out-of-town customers was reduced to $26.00 as a base rate and $5.00 for every 1,000 gallons used. The fees were reduced, because the Town Board believed that this newer rate was a more reasonable rate to charge the out-of-town customers.
Installation of New Water Meters - During the Town Board Meeting held on May 3, 2018, Mr. Marshall Lassiter, the town's Officer in Responsible Charge for the water and wastewater system, recommended that we replace the town's water meters due to age and inefficiency. Mr. Lassiter informed the Town Board that when a meter has experienced over 2 million gallons of water, on average, it becomes between 9%-15% ineffective. That means we were losing between 9% to 15% of our water. The water is passing through the meter, but it is not being registered. That means we are not charging our customers for that 9%-15% of water usage. The water utility was losing money and the town was losing money. The town was still paying the electric bill for the pump required to pump the water through the town, but the town was not being reimbursed. This problem had to resolved.
The town has a total of 259 meters. Based on recent assessments, 97 meters registered that over 1 million gallons of water have gone through each of them. Additionally, 41 meters in Woodland registered to have had in excess of 2 million gallons of water pass through them. According to state standards, any meter that has over 1 million gallons of water, should be replaced.
Since the town needed to consider replacing a significant number of water meters, the Town Board decided to invest in the purchase of auto-read wand meters. They are more expensive than standard meters, but in the long run, they will prove to be very cost effective. According to Mr. Lassiter, the town uses approximately 36 man hours to read meters each month. With a wand reader, it would take 1 person 4 hours to read all of the meters. The replacement meters cost approximately $75 each. The purchase and installation cost was approximately $60,000. Most, if not all of the new water meters have been installed.
Increase in Wastewater Rates – On March 19, 2019, the Town Board raised the Wastewater Rate to a level of $58.00 for 5,000 gallons of usage. This action was recommended by Mr. Joe Dooley, a former attorney who currently serves as a consultant for the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments. He advised the Town Board that the Town needs to raise the wastewater rate to a level which the state expects to see. He advised the Town Board Members that the towns that received the CDBG funds on the town's first grant application submission, were towns that had raised their rates to a level, which coincides with the state's expectations.
Clean Water Trust Fund Grant - In April 2019, the Town Board submitted an application for the state's Clean Water Trust Fund, at the recommendation of Mr. Dooley. With the implementation of the new wastewater rates in place, it was hoped that Woodland would receive the funding it so desperately needs, to repair the many problems with the wastewater system. Unfortunately, in mid-July, the town received notification from the State of North Carolina that the town's application was not awarded any funding for this year.
Asset Inventory Assessment Grant Application for Drinking Water – On September 3, 2019, the Town of Woodland submitted an application to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Infrastructure for a grant in the amount $150,000. This grant application was submitted with the assistance of the engineering firm, Rivers and Associates.
The AIA project is expected to facilitate discovery, compilation and organization of system information into a Water Asset Management Plan (WAMP), to assist in documenting, prioritizing, and planning for future needs of the system, as well as to preserve institutional knowledge. The project will also consist of conducting an analysis of the existing water supply and distribution system; performing a critical assessment of all system components; providing condition assessment of the wells and other critical assets; preparing Capital and Operation and Management cost estimates for needed repairs/renovations/replacements/upgrades/expansions; creating a prioritized list of capital needs; developing a 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the water system; and preparing a Water Asset Management Plan, as a management tool to assist with long-term managerial and financial planning.
Choanoke Area Development Association (CADA) Head Start Building - In 2017, the Town Board invested over $35,000 in the CADA Head Start Building, by replacing the floors in two classrooms on the lower level and also installing a waterproof system. The waterproof system was installed to prevent outside surface water produced by heavy rains, from entering the building and causing damage to the tile and carpet on the floor.
Unfortunately, we soon realized that in spite of our efforts, during times of heavy rain, surface water was still able to enter the building by flowing under the door. Until we could stop the water from pooling on that side of the building, we would continue to have problems with water flowing into the building. Sealing off the door could not be done, because it serves as an emergency exit for that section of the building.
In 2018, we had to replace the floor again, at a price of $1,491.15. We filed an insurance claim and based on the estimate by the claims adjuster, we were awarded a payment of $3,443.93.
In a concerted effort by CADA Staff Members Roy Worrells and Matt Duncan, as well as Commissioner David Cooper and members of his team at Bryant and Lassiter Septic Tank Services, a plan was formalized to place an underground catch basin behind the building, then connect it to underground pipes which would collect the surface water and run it to the adjacent canal. The total costs was approximately $1,500. The project was successful and we have not had any more flooding issues at that location.
We have also replaced three of the seven heating/ac units on the roof of the building. The total replacement cost was $13,100. However, we entered into an agreement with Mrs. Sallie Surface, the Executive Director of CADA. We agreed that both agencies would split the costs in half. So each paid $6,550.
We have also replaced five of the toilets in the building (at an approximate cost of $350 each), rebuilt a valve on a separate toilet, to prevent excessive water usage during flushing and replaced a hot water heater in one of the classrooms.
National Guard Armory - On February 28, 2018, the property of the National Guard Armory was returned to the Town of Woodland. The property included two lots and the large 41,000 square foot building. According to records submitted by the North Carolina National Guard, the building tested positive for lead. The lead contamination is blamed on an indoor rifle range, which was once located inside of the building. Although the firing range was removed in 2003, a significant amount of lead still remains in the building.
The Town Board had considered selling the building to a private buyer, through an Upset Bid Process; however, during a Public Hearing held on November 29, 2018, the citizens in attendance requested that more time be given to address the lead contamination issue.
As a result of the meeting, a group of citizens signed up to serve on a committee to try to find a solution to the problem. The citizens also requested the Town Board agree to turn on the electricity, heat and water, in order to prevent the building from experiencing rapid decay. The Town Board agreed to set aside $10,000 for any expenses that may be required for the building.
The town has received a written estimate, dated April 29, 2019, to conduct a lead hazard reduction survey. That estimate was presented by Mr. Raymond Childress, a Senior Scientist and Industrial Hygiene Program Manager for Duncklee & Dunham, Environmental Geologists and Engineers, located in Cary, North Carolina.
According to meeting with Mr. Childress, his company will be able to determine the extent of the lead contamination and also assist the town in identifying a state certified, abatement contractor to remove the lead and clean the building.
Mayor Manuel has been in contact with NC State Representative Michael Wray, in an effort to seek assistance in identifying funding to remove any lead found in the building. Representative Wray submitted a written request to the Office of Governor Cooper. He received a response from Alexander Janes, Legislative Affairs Director for the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
Mr. Janes recommended the Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) Neighborhood Revitalization Program, which is funded with federal dollars. “Although perhaps best known as a funding source for housing projects, community revitalization and enhancement projects are eligible as well.”
Woodland Volunteer Fire Department – Earlier this year, members of the Woodland Volunteer Fire Department met with Town Board Members to discuss the need of a new fire station, to house the department's three fire engines and two brush trucks. A working committee was established, comprised of two Town Board Members (Commissioners David Cooper and Brian Christison) and five members of the WVFD.
The WVFD would like to replace the current garage with a new building which would be 110 feet long and 80 feet wide. The new facility would contain four beys. Each bey would be 20 feet wide and 110 feet long. This one building would be able to house all of the department's vehicles and would also have space for a meeting room and adequate space for rest rooms.
Town Board members, along with members of the WVFD have met with officials representing the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments, as well an official representing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA offers low interest loans; however, a loan to finance the entire project will not be allowed. The town will be required to also make a significant financial contribution to the project.
Downtown Revitalization Grant – In December 2017, with the assistance of NC State Representative Michael Wray and Gary Brown, Northampton County's Director for Economic Development, the Town of Woodland was awarded a Downtown Revitalization Grant from the Rural Economic Development Division of the NC Department of Commerce. The grant was in the amount of $33,333.
With those funds, the Town Board purchased and installed a wireless, security camera system for Town Hall and the downtown section of Woodland; signs and posts advising the public that security cameras are in use; and four, large “Welcome to Woodland” signs, which were placed at the four main entrances into town. Grant funds were also used to install a large marquee to advertise town-wide events; and purchase a cart to hold the assorted letters and symbols for the marquee sign. The remaining funds will be used to purchase solar-powered spot lights to shine on the welcome signs at night.
COMMUNITY SPECIAL EVENTS AND RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES
Woodland Community Outreach, Incorporated – In January 2016, a group of citizens met for the the first time, to discuss ideas for creating and sponsoring various events, programs and activities, which would hopefully strengthen the community spirit within the town and also provide recreational activities for the town's youth. The following month, three committees were established: Special Events Committee (to sponsor special events and programs); Recreation Committee (to sponsor recreational events and town-wide activities); and Fundraising and Grants Committee (to raise money to support the various activities).
The Town Board was not willing to financially assist the citizens who created the three committees, nor was the Town Board willing to offer any support for the various activities the group was trying to bring forth. As a result, the citizens decided to create an umbrella organization, to oversee the work of their committees.
On September 6, 2016, Woodland Community Outreach, Incorporated was recognized by the State of North Carolina, as a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization. WCO has an eight-member Board of Directors, which includes a chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary and Treasurer (Executive Board). The organization also has a complete set of by-laws as well, to govern its operations. It has annual, general membership meetings in October.
Since its inception, WCO has sponsored 3 Easter Parades, 3 Easter Egg Hunts, 4 National Day of Prayer Gatherings, 2 Veteran's Day Programs, 2 Woodland Community Heritage Day Celebrations, 1 Youth and Family Day, 1 1st Night Out Against Crime event, 1 May Day Celebration, 4 Christmas Celebrations (of one sort or another), 12 Summer Youth Fun Days, 4 Employee Appreciation Days and 3 craft fairs.
WCO also sponsored a Walking Club and a Couch to 5-K program. Additionally, the organization also co-sponsored one of the 3 Woodland Stock Music Festivals in April 2018.
Woodland Memorial Walkway – On May 3, 2016, the first meeting was held for members of the Beautification Committee, a sub committee of the Special Events Committee of Woodland Community Outreach. The meeting was called by the Committee Chairperson, Mr. Ron Lane, who was a Town Commissioner at the time. Mr. Lane shared a power point presentation with pictures of the proposed site for the Memorial Walkway and showed various examples of engraved bricks from a brick engraving vendor.
The concept for the Memorial Walkway and Military Service Memorial, which is located on the side of the Town Hall Building, was conceived by Mr. Lane. The purpose of the project is to introduce newcomers to the community and recognize the community service of residents, past and present. According to a brochure created by the committee, “Through this project, we hope to inspire all residents to invest in Woodland and to create a legacy of community service that serves as motivation to all who spend time at the new 'Town Centre'.”
The walkway also honors “those dedicated Woodland residents who have dutifully served their community and their country.” Bricks can be purchased at a price of $50 for a 4”x8” engraved brick and $100 for an 8”x8” engraved brick. All proceeds go to WCO.
HEALTH MATTERS & ROANOKE VALLEY COMMUNITY HEALTH INNITIATIVE
As for Lauren Morris, I cannot say enough about her and how much she and her organization, Health Matters (an affiliate of the Centers for Disease Control), have done for the Town of Woodland. She has attended several of our town-wide events, as well as some of our community meetings, including a Town Board Meeting.
With Lauren's assistance, the Town of Woodland has received $17,270 in grant funds!!! That is a substantial amount of money. Some of those funds were used to purchase new signs for Woodland Community Park. Before those signs were purchased, we did not have any signs located on Main Street, to direct the public to the location of the park, or where to park their vehicles. People from out of town sometimes had a difficult time finding the park. She and her team designed and purchased these stunning signs and also paid for the installation fees.
Some of the funds went to purchase a large marquee sign, which is located on Main Street (near Cherry Street), so that we can better advertise our various town-wide events, as well as promote healthy living and healthy eating choices.
Some funds also went into providing the soft material for our new playground, which was donated by the Northampton County Board of Commissioners in 2016. If that was not enough, Lauren also was able to put us in contact with Mr. Bill Ellis, a certified playground installer, who came from Kinston (2 hours away) to help us erect the playground equipment.
The services of Mr. Ellis alone, would have cost the town around $3,500.00. Mr. Ellis was a true professional and with his assistance and direction, we were able to put most of the equipment together in one day. Woodland was only required to pay $700 for Mr. Ellis' services.
Leverage resources in the amount of $11,778 are also attributed to Mrs. Morris' efforts. This amount includes time spent working towards various town projects, as well as resources received from Roanoke Valley Community Health Initiative (RVCHI), Cooperative Extension, Playground Installers, NC State University faculty and the contributions of other partners and/or their time.
On September 9. 2017, when a group of 20 volunteers met at Woodland Community Park to help erect the playground equipment, Lauren tapped into the resources of Ms. Audrey Hardy and the Roanoke Valley Community Health Initiative, which provided all of us a healthy lunch for the day.
During our Community Heritage Day Celebration, Mrs. Hardy and her organization also contributed a large variety of prizes, such as two bicycles, a grill and all sorts of other items, which we were able to raffle off, as a way to better enhance our event.
Grant Totals Received – In total, between the funds received from the Downtown Revitalization Grant, Health Matters and the Centers for Disease Control and additional leveraged resources, the Town of Woodland received a grand total of $62,381.00!!!
A WORD OF THANKS TO ALL OF YOU
Town Commissioners - First, I would like to thank the members of the Town Board of Commissioners that have served during my tenure as Mayor: David Cooper (Mayor Pro Temp), Commissioner of Water and Sewer; Pat Liverman, Commissioner of Streets and Powell Bill; Barbara Outland, Commissioner of Police, Fire and Public Safety; Brian Christison, Commissioner of Administration and Budget & Finance. I would also like to thank past members, with whom I have had the pleasure to serve: Ron Lane and Cecil Harkey. Commissioner Harkey was forced to resign from his Commissioner post early on in his term, due to ill health.
Town Employees - As for the employees of Woodland, both past and present, you folks are the blood, sweat, muscle and brains that keep this town operating from day-to-day. You have done and continue to do a magnificent job for this town. I have had a lot of fun working side-by-side with all of you. You are a great group of people, who are dedicated and committed to the mission of Woodland and you deserve to be recognized for the commendable jobs you do. My deepest thanks for teaching me the many ins and outs of Woodland (Kim Bryant, Jean Bryant, Robbie Collier, Raymond Eaton, John Ruppe, Perry Lee Collier, Jessica Griffey, Donielle McDermott, Amy DeLoatch, Tommy Pierce, Brenda Whitley and Marshall Lassiter).
WCO - To my friends, colleagues and fellow community partners of Woodland Community Outreach, Inc., I would like to say a “Special Thank You” to each and every one of you, for your willingness to take this journey with me; as we shared a common vision and took a chance, in hopes of making a positive change in our community. No matter what else is said, no one can deny the great and positive impact that we made on this town!! It is truly remarkable!! (Donielle McDermott, Lynn Lane, Ron Lane, Vanessa A. Council, Vanessa F. Council, Robert Gosney, Barbara Gosney, Bobby Mann, Jane Mane, Laureen Flood, Susan Harrison, Lori Babb Tyler, Jean Bryant, Wendy Morris, Meredith Corey, Maylon Langford, Sue Ryan, Kathy Newsome, Kay Winn, Julius Webb, Emmie Griffin, Pauline Magette, Dawn Asyscue, Catina Jackson, Anna Burgwyn, Margaret Burgwyn and my favorite...Pattie Manuel).
Woodland Volunteer Fire Department – To the members of the Woodland Volunteer Fire Department, I want to commend each and every one of you for the job that you for the town and surrounding community. At any given time, I have witnessed the alarm sound and you men immediately drop whatever you're doing and immediately head to the fire house, to answer the call. Sometimes, you have to put yourselves in harms way, in an effort to save a life, or prevent further loss, or damage to property. The Town Board and citizens of Woodland are deeply indebted to you, for your service to our community. May God continue to Bless you and Protect you.
FINAL COMMENTS: To the new Town Board Members, who will be seated in December 2019, I wish you nothing but the very best during your tenure. I will remain available to you, if you require my assistance. I am only a telephone call away.
To the citizens of Woodland, I cannot thank you enough for allowing me the privilege and pleasure to have served as your mayor for the past four years. It has been my Absolute Honor to have had the opportunity to sit on this Town Board.
Lastly, I have to thank my Wonderful, Amazing Bride, Pattie, who put up with me and all of the long hours that I spent away from home, running from one meeting to another, because I am just so crazy!!!! You are truly my “Better Half.”
During the summer of 2015, when I was visiting people during my “door-to-door” campaign to run for mayor, I told the folks that I met, that I did not mind being a catalyst for positive change. There were things that could be changed in town. Together, we could create a stronger spirit of community. I also told them that I could not do it alone. We would have to take the journey together, arm in arm; and along the way, perhaps we can change some hearts, even if it is only one heart at a time!!
I care deeply for this town. I hope that through my hard work, my behavior and my commitment and dedication to try to get the job done correctly, I may have proven this statement to be true. I pray that Woodland will continue to go forward and upward!! Through God, all things are possible!!
Kenneth W. Manuel, Mayor
Town of Woodland