Town of Woodland Board Minutes
Date: May 2, 2019
Kenny Manuel – Mayor
David Cooper – Commissioner
Brian Christison - Commissioner
Barbara Outland – Commissioner
Pat Liverman – Commissioner
Donielle McDermott – Town Clerk
Marshall Lassiter – ORC
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited followed by a moment of silent reflection.
Call to Order: The mayor called the meeting to order at 7pm.
Approval of Agenda: Mayor Manuel asked the board to amend the agenda to move item 12 Zoning Report to 6 a since Sally Surface was present to speak on behalf of Woodland Olney Apartments. Commissioner Christison made a motion to accept Mayor Manuel's recommendation to move item 12 to 6 a. Commissioner Cooper seconded and the motion carried.
Approval of Minutes: Commissioner Liverman made a motion to accept the minutes from the Regular Board Meeting dated April 11, 2019 and Closed Session Minutes dated April 11, 2019. Commissioner Outland seconded and the motion carried.
Consideration of Bills: Commissioner Liverman made a motion to pay all the current bills and to also pay all the regular bills that come in throughout the month. Commissioner Christison seconded and the motion carried.
USDA Technical Assistance Grant- Stewart Bass, UCPCOG: Stewart Bass told the board that the Upper Coastal Plains Council of Government was awarded a grant to provide technical assistance to the community for $50,000. The town's responsibility would be to put in $10,000 to make this grant a total of $60,000. This grant would pay for the COG to do the research and write a grant for two projects for the Town of Woodland. One project will be looking for funds for a new Woodland Fire Department building. The other project is for the Woodland Armory building.
Mayor Manuel asked Mr. Bass if we need to go through the technical assistance grant to receive grant money for the building. Mr. Bass said yes, this grant will pay for the COG to do the work to help write the grant for the fire department building. Commissioner Cooper pointed out that if we do not qualify for the grant we will be out of the $10,000 that the town puts in. However, Mr. Bass reminded the board that our $10,000 goes together with the USDA's $50,000 for a total of $60,000 worth of the COG's time.
Mickel Pruden, representing WVFD, asked Mr. Bass if the Golden Leaf Foundation would fall under the COG. Mr. Bass said no. Mr. Pruden then asked what percent will be grant and what percent will be loan. Mr. Bass said it's too early in the process to answer that now. Mr. Pruden said from the information he gathered, a turn key job with a contractor will be about $750,000.
Donielle McDermott asked how long it might take before the actual building of the fire department could begin if we are awarded the USDA grant. Mr. Bass said that his plan is to have the application for the USDA grant completed and submitted by the fall of 2019. He hopes that we can be approved and receive some of the new money that comes in each October.
Mayor Manuel asked Mr. Bass how much time we need before we let the COG know yes or no. Mr. Bass did not give a date, but said the sooner the better. Mayor Manuel told him we will make a decision by June.
Clean Water State Revolving Fund Application-Stewart Bass: Mr. Bass confirmed that our application for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund has been submitted. Mayor Manuel said that the town should hear something in the fall about whether or not we will be recipients of this $2-$3 million grant. If we are approved, this grant will cover the cost of lift station 1 and 4 and the pipes on Peachtree and Linden St.
Woodland Olney Apartments - Sally Surface: Mayor Manuel said that when the town entered into a contract with CADA it was before we had a zoning ordinance, before 2001. CADA was operating under zoning district R15 but it was switched to RA because it is a high density apartment complex. Mrs. Surface recently wrote the town asking the board to be grandfathered in for an approved conditional use permit under the 2017 zoning code with the apartments on the first and second floors and with the commercial space that provides a community service in the basement. Mrs. Surface stated the basement houses offices which allows CADA to pay Woodland Olney, LLC. She is hoping the work being done at the apartments will begin in June and be finished by the end of the year. Commissioner Liverman asked if the work will meet the historic requirements. Mrs. Surface said yes, that the department of the interior signed off on the plans.
Commissioner Christison made a motion for the Town of Woodland to provide a conditional use permit under the 2017 zoning code with the apartments on the first and second floors and with the commercial space that provides a community service in the basement. Commissioner Liverman seconded and the motion carried.
Public Comments: Patty Deneen stated she read an article about Craven County and how they will not be recycling anymore due to the cost and she wondered if we will continue to recycle. The board said yes, there are not plans to stop recycling here.
Mrs. Deneen then asked what the name of the "flag pole area" is next to Town Hall. She was not aware of an official name. Mayor Manuel said we call it the Brick Memorial Park but refer to it as the flag pole by the Town Hall because people are more likely to see the flag pole versus the bricks.
Fire Department: Donielle McDermott read the account balance for the department as $49,468.30. Mickel Pruden said that the fire department building committee marked out where the new building will be located. The suggestion was made to move the new building in front of the old town hall and give the town maintenance department the old rescue building for their new shop. The block building where the trucks are currently stored will be torn down, and the current fire department may be used to rent out.
Maintenance Report: Marshall Lassiter read the maintenance report which will be included in the Minute Book. After hearing the complaints of the maintenance crew about the dirty conditions of the Woodland Community Park, especially around the basketball courts, Commissioner Cooper asked if we can get some community service workers to clean up the park. This was briefly discussed.
Commissioner Cooper said the pumps are worn out at lift station 1, and this is hurting the town financially. The pumps have to work constantly causing high electric bills. He asked if we could buy a new pump to give us the efficiency we need and then put a refurbished one at the new lift station. Mr. Marshall Lassiter said he saw nothing wrong with that. The approximate cost of one pump would be $6,100. Commissioner Christison said the pumps need to be ordered the first of July, as soon as possible. We cannot wait on the grant.
Commissioner Christison asked Mr. Lassiter if the maintenance crew has had a chance to do any work in the pump house in George, and Mr. Lassiter said no, nothing has been done so far. Mayor Manuel asked if the work can be done before May 15th, but Mr. Lassiter said no and asked that the town carry that money over into next year's budget.
Commissioner Cooper asked if we could take the money not spent on the lagoon dirt removal and the remodeling of the chlorine room and use it to order a pump this fiscal year. Commissioner Christison made a motion to order a new pump around $6,100 for lift station 1 pending the approval of the budget officer after looking closely over the budget. Commissioner Outland seconded and the motion carried.
a. Resolution to approve Local Water Supply Plan: The state has accepted Woodland's Water Supply Plan, but the board needs to approve it. Commissioner Cooper made a motion to approve the resolution to approve Woodland's Local Water Supply Plan. Commissioner Christison seconded and the motion carried.
b. Wellhead Protection Plan approval: Marshall Lassiter informed the board that we have been approved. The Wellhead Protection Plan represents five points in grants, so this is an asset to the town. This plan is a five year contract; therefore we will need to go after this plan again in five years.
As a side note, Mr. Lassiter informed the board that in 2021 the town will need to apply for a new wastewater permit. Before then, we need to do something with the lagoons.
c. Letter from Jean Barnes: Mrs. Barnes gave the board a letter she had written regarding the drainage issues in the main ditch that runs through Woodland Ave. and Hwy 258. Her concern is that the ditch is blocked by debris which is not allowing water to flow. Commissioner Liverman spoke with Jack Liverman who stated the ditch is doing what the ditch should be doing in his opinion. It's the area near the creek that is causing the back up.
Commissioner Cooper noticed the state cleaned our curbs recently by picking up trash.
Commissioner Christison asked where we are with the state and our curbs. Commissioner Liverman said the state is supposed to be fixing them. Mayor Manuel stated he can go back to Ahoskie and ask about it again if the board would like.
Commissioner Christison asked if there is any underground drainage. Commissioner Cooper explained that Woodland does have some street gutters allowing water to drain.
d. Public Announcement on FaceBook: Mayor Manuel explained to the board that he put a statement on FaceBook explaining the recent sewer rate increase and asking residents to contact board members if they have questions or complaints.
e. New Water and Sewer Rate Schedule: A new rate schedule has been typed up and put in the commissioner packets for their information.
Police Report: Commissioner Outland said the only problem is the housing complex is still having issues with people breaking into the vacant units. Mayor Manuel said until the housing authority's workers will go to the police with the information, there is nothing that can be done.
Mayor Manuel reported that since his meeting with the county sheriff, the police time sheets have been much better including more information that he requested.
Clerk Report: Donielle McDermott shared the account balances, check listing, and budget versus actual with the board. These will be included in the Minute Book. Mrs. McDermott told the board that the state sent the town a new promissory note on the State Revolving Loan with a new payment amount since we increased our original loan amount. Our first payment will not be due until the final construction of the new well. Our payments will be $22,657.50 for twenty years with the last payment being due 5/1/2039. A copy of this promissory note will also be included in the Minute Book.
As a point of reference, the mayor included in the packets the direct deposit notification from the state for our sales and use tax distribution. The board asked what this was for and how often we receive this. Mrs. McDermott said this is the town's portion of the states revenue on sales tax and we receive this direct deposit monthly.
Mrs. McDermott shared the invoice from the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce for our yearly membership fee of $75.
The surveillance camera signs were ordered from Lynch's Signs for a total of $704.06. This invoice was also shared with the board. The Downtown Revitalization Grant paid for this leaving a balance of $317.28. Mayor Manuel listed all the things the $33,333.00 Downtown Revitalization Grant money was able to purchase; four welcome to Woodland signs, installation of the marquee, symbols for the marquee, a cart to store those letters and symbols, solar lights for the marquee, lamination for Dr. Stanley’s biography and the gold plate under his picture, the town security cameras, and now the surveillance camera signs.
Northampton County Board of Elections will be holding an educational seminar on a new voter ID requirement that will begin in 2020. This information was shared with the board and citizens in the audience.
An updated resolution to opt out of one-stop/absentee by mail voting was needed for this coming election year. The county suggested if the town does not want to adopt a new resolution each year, that we change the wording to include "until further notice" as opposed to a date each year. Commissioner Christison made a motion to accept the resolution revoking absentee ballot and early one stop voting for the Town of Woodland until further notice. Commissioner Liverman seconded and the motion carried.
Abandoned Property Newspaper Article: Citizen Jean Barnes submitted to the town board an article about Gates County cleaning up "eyesores". Mayor Manuel said he likes the idea of getting rid of our abandoned buildings, but the town does not have the money to pay for these buildings to be demolished.
a. Diversified Invoice: The invoice from Diversified to switch the gas tanks from Ferrell to Diversified was $935.13. Diversified also fixed the leaks, but we have not yet received that bill. Mayor Manuel said we need to turn the electricity on to check the furnace. Commissioner Christison reminded the mayor that because of possible contamination of lead, the board had decided a while back not to turn the electricity on in order to keep anything from running through the duct work.
b. Lead Assessment: Doug Weaver from Duncklee and Dunham, an environmental geologist and engineer, met with the Mayor at the Armory recently to give him a proposal for a lead and hazard reduction survey. A proposed contract was submitted with a cost to be $2,150. This would include 15-20 lead wipe samples, labor, material, travel for the survey, and a final written report. Mr. Weaver put in the contract that the cost an abatement contractor would be around $15,000 to $20,000. If the lead abatement is done, Duncklee and Dunham will return to do a follow up survey at a cost of $1,000.
Mayor Manuel asked the board if we can move forward with the assessment now. Commissioner Christison said not this budget year. He stated we need to wait until we work on some of the numbers.
c. Potential Buyer: Mayor Manuel said a man by the name of Herman Greyling, from South Africa, came last week to look at the Armory and the Fineline buildings. Mr. Greyling is a businessman owning several different types of businesses, a tilapia business, dried fruit business, and a facial recognition business. The county is trying to bring him here because of the possibility of jobs. The county would like for us to sell them the Armory and they in turn would sell it to someone else, possibly giving them a deal such as not having to pay taxes. Mayor Manuel warned the board that this is not something we need to do. If we sell the Armory, we need to make sure whoever purchases it be required to pay taxes.
Commissioner Cooper pointed out that bringing a big business here would cost the town since we would need to have police and fire protection and more. He is not against businesses coming here, but wanted to state that it’s not free to the town.
Comments from the Mayor: The county commissioners were planning to have their scheduled June 17th meeting at Woodland Town Hall, but due to the fact that Mayor Manuel will be out of town, he asked to have it rescheduled. That date has not been set yet.
Mayor Manuel said the biography of Dr. Stanley has been put together. We will have it framed to hang next to his picture. A plaque has been ordered as well to go underneath his picture. Once we receive all of it, we can schedule a dedication ceremony in Dr. Stanley's honor.
This coming Saturday will be a town-wide yard sale along with the 3rd annual Woodland Stock.
Mayor Manuel said that Milton Carpenter from National Flood Insurance wants to reschedule for May 23, 2019 at 1 pm.
Comments from the Commissioners: Commissioner Cooper asked if Milton Carpenter was affiliated with FEMA and the mayor said he was. Commissioner Cooper said we need to write a new plan for FEMA.
Public Comments: Bobby Mann said the ditch on N. Persimmon is filling back up and needs to be cleaned out again. Mr. Lassiter said him and the maintenance crew will take care of this.
Adjourn: At 9:11, Commissioner Christison made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Commissioner Outland seconded and the motion carried.