Town of Woodland Board Minutes
Date: April 11, 2019
Kenny Manuel – Mayor
David Cooper – Commissioner
Brian Christison - 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. Note that Commissioner Outland was absent due to work.
Approval of Agenda: The first item of business was the approval or amendment of the agenda. Commissioner Liverman made a motion to approve the agenda as written. Commissioner Christison seconded and the motion carried.
Approval of Minutes: The second item of business was the approval or amendment of the minutes from the Regular Board Meeting dated March 14, 2019, the Public Hearing to Address Proposed Wastewater Rate Increase dated March 19, 2019, and the Special Meeting to Address Proposed Wastewater Rate Increase dated March 19, 2019. Commissioner Liverman made a motion to approve the minutes as written. Commissioner Christison seconded and the motion carried.
Consideration of Bills: The commissioners took a few minutes to review the bills. Commissioner Liverman made a motion to pay all the bills and to also pay all the regular bills that come in throughout the month. Commissioner Christison seconded and the motion carried.
Public Comments: Patty Deneen said that Jay Jenkins had mentioned he had a street light installed years ago at the Armory, and now the light is gone. She asked for this to be checked into. Mayor Manuel asked Donielle McDermott to check with Perry Collier on this.
Fire Department Report: Donielle McDermott gave an account of the fire department's checking account. This report will be included in the Minute Book.
Mayor Manuel said he, along with Joe Dooley and Andrew DeIonno, went to the fire department to assess their building. Mr. Dooley and Mr. DeIonno said the department can most likely get a USDA grant/loan to help with the funding to construct a new building. This grant is a $60,000 grant. The town would need to pay $10,000 towards this grant, however $5,000 can be paid in one year and the other $5,000 the next. Therefore, the total for this grant will be $70,000. This will be a technical assistance grant which will help the town put together the application for a grant to fund the construction of a new fire department building. Andrew DeIonno said that due to our low to moderate income, we may qualify to only pay 10-20% of the total loan. Mr. DeIonno also said we do not need an architect because these buildings are prefabricated. The fire department would like the new building to be 110ft long by 80ft wide with four bays at 20 ft each.
Chris Collier wanted to know if the fire department could add on to the rescue squad, but Andrew DeIonno said no, we would need to construct a new building. Once the building is up, demolition can then be done, not beforehand since we need a place to continue housing the fire trucks. We may not be able to use grant money for the demolition.
Commissioner Cooper suggested asking the county to grant us a pass on the tipping fee when the time comes to get rid of material in the landfill.
Mayor Manuel said we are still very early in the process, but we have at least started a plan. Commissioner Christison asked who is in charge of looking for bids. Mayor Manuel said the UCPCOG will handle that.
Commissioner Cooper said Robbie Collier, Mickel Pruden, and Chris Collier will be the ones from the fire department on this building committee.
Commissioner Christison asked Donielle McDermott to give him an account summary from a year ago to compare where the fire department is now financially.
Maintenance Report: Marshall Lassiter read the report which will be included in the Minute Book. Mr. Lassiter told the board he received a request from Thomas Child to dump sewage into our lagoon. Mr. Lassiter replied via a letter to Mr. Child telling him no and explained that we have a lot of work to do in our lagoon and are unable to accept any more sewage at this time.
Mr. Lassiter sent a letter to Mr. Cobb asking for something in return to authenticate our ability to allow dumping into our lagoon. He has not yet received a letter of reply.
Clean up week is going to be May 6-10th this year. Paint, chemicals, fertilizer, and tires cannot be accepted. These items will be listed on the water bills.
Marshall Lassiter told the board we had a request from a local farmer asking to hook up to our water. He stated Mrs. McDermott explained we will not be allowing farmers to hook up to our system until further notice. We are not able to determine how much water is being used when farmers hook up.
Mayor Manuel asked Commissioner Cooper how much sewage a truck will hold. Commissioner Cooper said it is about 2,000 gallons, $0.10 per gallon. Mayor Manuel asked the board should we raise the amount we charge for the two businesses to dump into our lagoon. Commissioner Cooper suggested if we raise it, make it small incremental increases. Mr. Lassiter said there are some real needs at the lagoon. Murfreesboro requested to the state to reuse the dirt from the lagoon and were turned down. The reason they were given was because of needles and so forth in the dirt. There is a company by the name of Syngro who may be able to help with the refuse. This company takes the liquid out of the refuse and then takes the refuse to the landfill, He estimated we have 15,000 yards of refuse in our lagoon. Joe Dooley had said recently a grant will not cover the cost of this. Commissioner Christison asked what the cost would be and Mr. Lassiter said he will check into this. Commissioner Cooper suggested we pile the refuse in a corner so it can dry out before being carried to a landfill. Getting the moisture out will reduce the cost the landfill will charge because of less weight. Mr. Lassiter noted the buildup is along the edge of the lagoon, but the middle is in good shape.
Going back to the dumping fee, Commissioner Christison asked how much money we receive per year. We budget to receive $22,000 per year. Commissioner Cooper stated the original contract stated a minimum of 10 loads per month at $200. It was noted that Wayne Brown does not send in the minimum every month, therefore Commissioner Liverman will research the minutes when Margaret Burgwyn was mayor and the original contract was made. Commissioner Christison said a 10% increase would only be $2.
The Town of Woodland did not get the CDBG but we will be going after a Clean Water Fund. This could be between $2 million to $3 million. The meeting with the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Government went well. The members from the COG and some of our board members discussed specific areas of what needs fixing. These areas include the manholes, the pipe under the Hobbs' house, and lift station number 1 and 4.
Marshall Lassiter said he found out today that our pumps are not pumping efficiently. In fact, they are only pumping at 33%. Commissioner Christison said we cannot wait on a grant to fix this problem, instead we need to add this to our budget. Commissioner Cooper asked if the pumps can be rebuilt and put back to 100%, but the answer was no. It is more cost efficient to buy new ones.
It was noted that July 13, 2019 is the deadline for the well to be complete. If the well is not complete by this date, the contractor starts paying the town.
A resolution for Application for Funding by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality was reviewed by the board. This is a resolution for the Town of Woodland to apply for the Clean Water Fund. Commissioner Christison made a motion to accept and approve the resolution. Commissioner Liverman seconded and the motion carried.
Police Report: Mayor Manuel reported that there was a major incident at the Dollar General on March 22, 2019. A group of people ransacked part of the store while another group was at the Woodland Olney Apartments turning over their drink machines. No arrests have been made. Mayor Manuel, Commissioner Outland, and Chris Collier met with the district manager of Dollar General to discuss the safety issues of their store. They were worried that the town may lose the Dollar General, but the district manager said there was no thought of closing the store. Some suggestions were made to the manager to help with security.
Mayor Manuel suggested to the board they consider hiring a police officer for the town. He said the days are getting longer and there may be more problems taking place.
Mayor Manuel informed the board that there are several vacant units at the housing complex where people are breaking in and sleeping and showering there. The housing authority's maintenance workers' know who these people are, but they are not willing to turn them in.
Mayor Manuel sent Sheriff Smith an email that will be discussed during closed session.
Clerk Report: Mrs. McDermott shared with the board that the state sent us a letter stating it was time to make our payment for the well. However, she knew that this payment was not due yet since the well has not yet been completed.
Mrs. McDermott suggested something be put into our policy about the purchase of boots for the maintenance department. She said there is actually nothing in our policy manual about uniforms. It was decided to allow up to $125 per year per employee for leather steel toed boots and up to $30 for rubber boots.
Mrs. McDermott pointed out to the board the sick time and vacation time policy. She brought this to the board's attention letting them know that she, in the past, paid an employee for vacation time and/or sick time when she should not have done so. It was done in error and after reading the policy fully, she realized her mistake.
The Easter parade was discussed and Commissioner Christison and Commissioner Liverman said they will both be in the parade. It begins at 11:00, starting at Myrtle Street this year, ending at the Woodland Olney Apartments.
May 2, 2019, we will be having a ceremony for National Day of Prayer at 11:30.
May 4, 2019 Woodland will have a town wide yard sale from 7-12 and Woodland Stock will be from 1-8pm.
On May 19, 2019 there will be a gathering at Woodland United Methodist Church for Susan Harrison from 3-5pm.
The updated employee application was asked to be approved. Commissioner Christison made a motion to approve the new application. Commissioner Cooper seconded and asked to add the revision date of 4/11/19 to the application. There was no more discussion and the motion carried.
Just for information, Mayor Manuel wanted to share with the board the cost of the utility bill forms. The most recent bill was from Richwood Graphics in the amount of $558.13. This will cover approximately 12 months of utility bills.
Larry Carpenter's audit renewal contract was included in the board packet. The price remains the same at $7,180. Commissioner Christison made a motion to accept the new contract for the next fiscal year. Commissioner Cooper seconded and the motion carried.
Budget workshop dates need to be set. Monday, April 29 at 7pm was decided as the initial workshop. Commissioner Christison asked for a wish list from the commissioners. Commissioner Cooper asked Marshall Lassiter for his wish list, and Commissioner Liverman would like to ask the maintenance crew for ideas as well.
Mayor Manuel reminded the board that the town needs to stop spending by May in order for all the checks to clear by the end of the fiscal year.
Mayor Manuel asked the board to share with friends and neighbors that this coming up water bill will be the one with the wastewater rate increase, and to please pick up the explanation of the increase from the Town Hall.
Zoning Report: Raymond took a higher position at work so it will be difficult for him to schedule a meeting.
CADA Update: Commissioner Cooper was going to meet with Mr. Worrell and Matt Duncan of CADA, however Commissioner Cooper had to be out of town that day. There are issues with the pipes underground and the water that goes underneath the surface is just sitting there causing sinkholes.
Sally Surface called Mayor Manuel and asked for someone from the town to meet her at the apartments tomorrow. They are having new windows put in. Mrs. Surface said there once was a historic commission in Woodland but she wasn't sure if it still existed. Either way, she wanted to make sure the windows will maintain the historic integrity of the building.
Building Inspector's Office & Minimum Standards - William Flynn: Mayor Manuel and William Flynn have been going back and forth in regards to the building inspector's position, especially as it pertains to Woodland and most particularly the ETJ. Years ago, the mayor wrote to our County Manager, Kim Turner, asking her if the town could use Jason McAllister's office to serve as our building inspector since we don't have our own inspector. Mrs. Turner told the mayor at that time that there was already a mutual aid agreement between the county and the towns stating that the county will serve as our building inspector. Unfortunately, Mayor Manuel cannot find the actual agreement. In addition, Mr. Flynn is claiming that since Arrowhead is in our ETJ, it is our responsibility to handle minimum housing issues there. Mayor Manuel said that the ETJ is not the town's responsibility, and the town's ordinances only apply within town limits. Mayor Manuel will be writing a letter to the county commissioners and Mr. Flynn about this issue.
Mr. Kevin King Purchasing Town Owned Property: Kevin King wants to purchase a lot on Ashe Street owned by the town. This property is a small lot with a value of $6,628. Commissioner Cooper suggested selling it cheap, possibly $2,000, but have the buyer incur all the costs. Commissioner Christison made a motion to sell the lot on Ashe St. for $2,000 with the buyer incurring all costs, including survey, closing costs, etc. Commissioner Cooper seconded and the motion carried.
Update on Commercial Properties: Mayor Manuel gave the board a list of abandoned commercial properties including the owners and addresses. At this point, we can begin the process of putting together a letter to the commercial property owners encouraging them to clean up their property.
Comments from the Mayor: The healthcare facility is going after additional funding to put in a pharmacy as well. Mayor Manuel wrote a letter on their behalf and this letter is included in the Minute Book.
Commissioner Cooper asked Robbie Collier for the information on Dr. Stanley so that we can put something together to go up on the wall by his picture.
The signs for the camera that will be purchased with the remaining Downtown Revitalization Grant have not yet been ordered. Mayor Manuel wanted to confirm how many signs the board wants to order and where we will put the signs that are to be hung on a building. A cart for the marquee letters were recently ordered, and with the remaining money from this account, Mayor Manuel would like to order solar lights for the welcome signs. The estimated cost is $200 plus tax. Mayor Manuel asked the board to use the beautification account to help purchase these solar lights if there is not enough left in the Downtown Revitalization Grant account. Commissioner Christison made a motion to order one solar light first to test and make sure it works, and then order the others. The beautification account can be used to offset the cost if the Downtown Revitalization Grant account does not have enough money. Commissioner Cooper seconded and the motion carried.
Comments from the Commissioners: Commissioner Liverman asked how the recent Armory meeting went and what went on. Patty Deneen, secretary for the Armory Committee, was present to answer. She said the Colliers from the Chamber of Commerce were present at the last meeting. Mrs. Deneen stated that Sydney Joyner made the comment that nobody around has a place like our Armory. They want to get people in the surrounding area interested in using it. County Commissioner Tyner has money that will be available July 1st that can be used to get an assessment done on the building. She said the committee is moving along, not as fast as she would like, but they are moving forward.
Mayor Manuel said that he was frustrated with the committee because the sole purpose of the committee was to find out how to pay for and remedy the lead issue. Mayor Manuel ultimately is the one who made the phone call to find someone to help with the assessment.
Commissioner Cooper said that with springtime coming, something needs to be done with the crepe myrtle trees. It was requested that the maintenance crew prune the trees before they start budding to see if this will help them. If not, we have some money in the beautification account we can use to possibly purchase new trees.
Marshall Lassiter thanked the board for his gratuity check and stated that he feels fully connected with the Woodland Public Works Department.
Closed Session to Discuss Personnel Issues: At 9:17 pm, Commissioner Liverman made a motion to go into closed session to discuss personnel issues pursuant to GS 143-3181(a)(6). Commissioner Christison seconded and the motion carried.
Motion to Enter Open Session: At 10:38 pm, Commissioner Cooper made a motion to enter Open Session. Commissioner Christison seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
During Open Session, the Board Members discussed some of the accomplishments of the Board and how we were to proceed with some of the pending grant applications.
The members also talked to Mayor Manuel in hopes of convincing him to consider seeking another term as Town Mayor. Concerns were expressed that the town would revert “back to the way it was.”
Mayor Manuel advised the Board that he was very humbled by their compliments, but assured them that the town will continue to operate smoothly, because all of the hard work has already been done by this Board. The town simply needs to continue on the present course and follow through with the things that have already been set into motion.
He said, “The Town of Woodland has been in existence long before any of us came to be and Lord willing, it will continue to be here, long after we all leave.”
Motion to Adjourn: At 11:09pm, Commissioner Christison made a motion to adjourn. Commissioner Liverman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.