Town of Woodland Board Minutes
Date: September 1, 2022
Randy Beale - Mayor
David Cooper – Commissioner
Ricky Morris - Commissioner
Brian Christison – Commissioner
Barbara Outland – Commissioner
Eddie Hoggard – Police Chief
Raymond Eaton - ORC
Donielle McDermott and Commissioner Morris were both absent.
Call to Order: Mayor Beale called the meeting to order at 7pm. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited followed by a moment of silent reflection.
Approval of Agenda: The first item of business was the approval or amendment of the agenda. Commissioner Christison made a motion to approve the agenda as written. Commissioner Outland seconded and the motion carried.
Approval of Minutes: The next item on the agenda was the approval or amendment of the minutes for the regular meeting dated August 4, 2022. Commissioner Cooper made a motion to approve the minutes as written. Commissioner Christison seconded and the motion carried. The closed session meeting minutes from August 4, 2022 will be submitted at the October meeting.
Consideration of Bills: Commissioner Outland 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.
Upper Coastal Plain Council of Government: Robert Hiett, Ben Farmer planning director, and Representative Michael Wray were all present on behalf of the COG. Mr. Hiett gave the board a copy of their annual report and an impact report. The board meets every two months. Mr. Hiett highly suggested someone from the board to be the alternate representative for the town board to attend the COG meetings when Mayor Beale is unable to attend. He said it is very important to be actively engaged and have a board dialogue with the COG board. Mr. Hiett stated that there is an historic funding opportunity right now that they don’t want the towns to miss. Commissioner Cooper asked what some of the funding other towns have received. Mr. Hiett said the Impact Report has this information broken down for the board to review. Commissioner Cooper said one of our weak points is our old infrastructure and he understands it takes a lot of money to take care of this. Mr. Hiett said one of the biggest things the COG does for small towns like us is grant writing. Mr. Hiett said he knows the town is already engaged with the COG at the staff level but wants us to be more engaged at the board level.
Representative Michael Wray told the board that he was unable to get the town any money during the long session, but at the short session, he was able to get the town $250,000. He said he was questioned recently why he couldn’t get the town money at the long session, so he asked the board if they attend COG meetings. Some of the board members said they did not know what the COG was, therefore, Representative Wray contacted Robert Hiett and asked him to attend the town’s next board meeting. Mr. Wray reiterated how important it is for the town to attend the COG meetings, stating that they are a great resource for funding opportunities. If they town doesn’t ask for the money, then the state cannot help us.
Mr. Hiett said the COG meets every two months in Nash County. It’s important for the primary board member to attend, which would be our mayor, but if he cannot attend, then our alternate should attend. These meetings are a great network opportunity.
Ben Farmer said the state currently has more grant money for towns because of the American Rescue Plan funds. His understanding is that through the Department of Environmental Quality, each town is eligible for up to $15 million. He knows that we are applying for a wastewater grant this fall with the help of Helen Paige and Joe Dooley with the COG and Blaine Humphrey with Rivers and Associates. They are attempting to get us as much of that $15 million as possible. September 30th is the deadline for any fall applications, therefore, if we have any other projects in mind, we need to let them know right away. Today, the state released a new grant program called the Rural Transformation Grant Fund, open until November 1st. There is no match with this grant, and we could be eligible for up to $950,000 per town. With this grant opportunity, the town could mitigate vacant properties, secure abandoned properties, redevelop downtown buildings, and more, all for economic growth. The COG can help assist in writing the grant for no charge up front, because their hope is the town would name the COG the grant administrator, in which case the grant funds will pay for their administration fees.
a. Laureen Flood: Mrs. Flood is planning the second annual trunk or treat event in Woodland. Last year’s event was a great event, very well attended. She was backed by some political parties last year, but those parties will not be participating in the same capacity this year, therefore, she is asking if there is money in the budget and would the commissioners approve use of those funds to help support this event. Mrs. Flood will also have outside participants such as CADA, Northampton County Sheriff’s Dept., Vidant, a local suicide prevention group, etc. This event will take place on Monday, October 31, 2022, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. Mrs. Flood is not only looking for financial help, but she is requesting the presence of our town board. Commissioner Christison asked what amount of money she would need. Mrs. Flood said she can give a more definitive number at the October meeting, but she is thinking around $500.
On another topic, Mrs. Flood is currently taking a class and is scheduling an upcoming meeting for the Town of Woodland to have their own mobile food bank, but this must be a collective effort. Because of this, she has added six local churches, including some in Hertford County. Jerusalem Baptist Church has agreed to be the host, however they would like to distribute the food behind Town Hall. Mrs. Flood is asking the town for their support to do this. Commissioner Cooper asked what time of the year this will take place. Mrs. Flood said as soon as she is approved, this mobile food bank delivery will take place once a month.
Commissioner Cooper said he will support the trunk or treat by providing two porta johns.
Fire Department: Robbie Collier gave the monthly fire report. A little bit of electrical work is left to do at the new building, and then this fall they will be planning their open house.
Laureen Flood spoke up and asked that it be put on record she has a leak on HWY 35 by her house which has been there since the new well was installed.
Police Report: Chief Hoggard told the board that he will be out of town on the 14th and 15th of September for training, and he will also be out of town this weekend but will be back on Tuesday. The sheriff’s department would be who to call in the event of an emergency.
Commissioner Cooper said the town of Jackson has an electric vehicle charging station. He would like for the town to consider a spot for the Town of Woodland to have one in the future. He believes it needs to be in walking distance to downtown in case someone wants to walk to the restaurant while their vehicle is charging.
Clerk Report: Mrs. McDermott was absent, therefore Mayor Beale handled the following:
a. Trick or Treat hours - Commissioner Cooper made a motion for trick or treat to be on Monday, October 31, from 5:30 to 8:00 and encourage citizens to go to the trunk or treat behind Woodland Olney. Commissioner Christison seconded and the motion carried. Commissioner Cooper suggested informing the fire department and the sheriff’s department that the landing zone will be occupied. They will need to use their alternate spot that night.
Commissioner Christison made a motion to donate up to $750.00 for trunk or treat. Commissioner Outland seconded and the motion carried.
b. The Asset Inventory and Assessment Grant Letter of Intent to Fund was included in the packets for informational purposes. The state has approved $150,000 with neither a required match nor grant fee for this project.
c. The Resolution to Request State Loan and/or Grant Assistance for the Stormwater Project was submitted to the Town. Commissioner Cooper said he has been talking and working with Blaine Humphrey, the engineer from Rivers and Associates, regarding the stormwater issues we have in town. Rivers is helping us apply for grant money to replace the pipes over by Duck Thru, on Cherry Street, and Woodland Avenue, and the canal by the cemetery. Rivers is suggesting digging a retention pond to help hold the water until it can naturally flow out. The board discussed the fact that if the state only funds part of the project, we need to keep in mind that the town will have to fund the remainder. We could turn down the funding, but that does not look good on the town. Commissioner Christison made a motion to sign the Resolution to Request State Loan and/or Grant Assistance for the Stormwater Project. Commissioner Cooper seconded and the motion carried.
d. Commissioner Christison made a motion to sign the Resolution to Request State Loan and/or Grant Assistance for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Site. Commissioner Cooper seconded and the motion carried.
e. Information on the $250,000 grant from the Office of State Budget and Management was included in the packets, along with a spreadsheet Mrs. McDermott recently made to help keep track of all the grants and loans the town currently has and is applying for. The board discussed using some of this money to fix the roof and possibly purchasing a generator for the Town Hall.
Maintenance Report: Commissioner Christison asked Raymond Eaton to how many meters they need and what the cost is. Mr. Eaton said he is waiting for that quote from Ferguson Waterworks. Commissioner Christison told Mr. Eaton to get quotes on all the things that need to be repaired or replaced because now is the time to get these things done since we have the $250,000 grant money to be used.
Raymond Eaton read the monthly maintenance report. Commissioner Christison asked if the generator has been fixed yet. No, it has not been looked at yet. Commissioner Cooper said he has someone he will get to come look at it.
CDBG: The monthly report was included in the packets.
Comments from the Mayor: Mayor Beale said he was happy that Ben Farmer, Robert Hiett, and Representative Wray were able to attend tonight’s meeting.
Comments from the Commissioners: Commissioner Cooper said he agrees that the Town needs to do a better job at communicating with the Upper Coastal Plain COG to learn what funding is available.
Commissioner Christison said we have relied too heavily on Blaine Humphrey. We need to be more aware of what is offered other places.
Public Comments: No comments.
Adjourn: Commissioner Outland made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Commissioner Cooper seconded and the motion carried.