Town of Woodland Board Minutes
Date: July 6, 2023
Randy Beale - Mayor
David Cooper – Commissioner
Brian Christison – Commissioner
Ricky Morris - Commissioner
Raymond Eaton - ORC
Brittany Burgess – Town Clerk
Commissioner Outland, and Chief Hoggard were absent.
Call to Order: Mayor Beale called the board meeting to order at 7:00 pm. 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 an amendment on Item #9 to add section E. Cost of Living Rates and to add Item #16, Closed Session. Commissioner Christison made a motion to approve the amended agenda, Commissioner Cooper seconded and the motion carried.
Approval of Minutes:
a. The next item on the agenda was the approval or amendment of the regular meeting dated May 23, 2023.
b. The next item on the agenda was the approval or amendment of the regular meeting dated June 1, 2023.
c. The next item on the agenda was the approval or amendment of the public hearing for the 2023-2024 Budget dated June 12, 2023.
d. The next item on the agenda was the approval or amendment of the public hearing for the water rate increase dated June 12, 2023.
e. The next item on the agenda was the approval or amendment of the special called meeting dated June 12, 2023. Commissioner Morris made a motion to approve all aforementioned meetings and public hearings, Commissioner Christison seconded and the motion carried.
Consideration of Bills: Commissioner Christison made a motion to pay all the current bills and to also pay all the regular bills that come in throughout the month. Commissioner Morris seconded and the motion carried.
Southern Bank Senior Vice President, Lori Martin:
a. Mayor Beale thanked Mrs. Martin for coming out. Mrs. Martin explained Direct Deposit to the board. Commissioner Cooper asked if there is a minimum amount of employees needed to participate in Direct Deposit, she answered no. Commissioner Cooper asked if the employee’s status of full time/part time mattered, she answered no. Direct Deposit will cost $20 a month. She said that we could email check stubs rather than print them like we’ve been doing. There will be a template to enter all the payroll into on the Southern Bank website, it will approximately take about 10 minutes to complete payroll. Southern Bank will call Mrs. Burgess and train her on the process over the phone. The employees can bank anywhere and still receive Direct Deposit. They can have the money deposited on a payroll card that works just like a debit card, if they do not have a bank account. The first withdrawal with the payroll card is free and the second would cost a fee of $2 each time money was withdrawn. If the card is used like a credit to make purchases, that is free. If the card is used like a debit and they ask for money back it will be an additional $0.50 each time. Mayor Beale asked if there is a minimum dollar amount that has to be kept on the card, Mrs. Martin answered no, as long as there is a balance. Commissioner Christison asked if there is a way of checking on the amount electronically, she replied yes it would be through the Southern Bank app. Commissioner Cooper asked about how long it takes for the deposit to go through the bank, she replies it must be done the day before pay day before 4:00 pm. Mrs. Martin says she will send some paperwork for us to get back to them so we can go forward with Direct Deposit. She highly suggests participating in Dual Control, which allows a second person looking over it before it is submitted to the bank. Commissioner Christison states that it will cost $240 a year. Commissioner Cooper makes a motion to participate in Direct Deposit with Southern Bank for the benefit of our employees to help with their paycheck process, Commissioner Christison seconded and the motion passed. The board thanks Mrs. Martin for coming out to explain the whole process a little more in depth.
Public Comments: Mrs. Laureen Flood is asking for $1200 from the Recreational Fund for the Annual Basketball Tournament on July 22nd. She will also be having a back to school giveaway. She proposes having a Halloween Get-Together in October, so that kids will not be going around the town knocking on stranger’s doors. She asks for the Board’s support in these projects. Commissioner Christison plans to help her with some of the funds for these projects. Commissioner Christison asked if we can use a credit card on some of those items for the projects and she replied that yes we could, but we need to go ahead and order those because shipping takes a long time. She will be going to Walmart on Back-To-School day to buy some items for the Back to School giveaway. Commissioner Cooper asked if Walmart might be willing to donate funds and if Mrs. Flood could work with that. She says that it is easier to go through the people she personally knows because there is so much paperwork and time when asking corporations for funds. The basketball tournament will include youth teams and adult teams, and they will be doing some things with the little kids too. She definitely wants to get with the county to get some officers to come and help with the event. Mayor Beale agrees because of the recent shootings we will need to have some police coverage. Commissioner Cooper asked when will the event end, Mrs. Flood answered 8:00 PM. The event for the children and the back to school giveaway will be over before the men’s games start.. The back to school event will be done by 5:00 PM and the cook will be leaving around 6:00 PM. The preschool counsel from CADA will be there,and the Book Mobile will be too. Commissioner Christison asked how much we donated to the basketball tournament last year, she isn’t sure right now but has the information at home. Mrs. Flood would like to get pole cushions for both sides of the basketball goals. She is going to find out the amount needed for those items. Commissioner Christison says there is $4,000 for the maintenance portion of the recreation side. $500 goes to Northampton County for the 4th of July fireworks. Commissioner Christison says we will try to find some way to support her with these events. Commissioner Cooper asked if the helipad is still in use for emergencies, Mr. Robbie Collier replied yes. Mrs. Flood assured that she will have caution cones put around the helipad to not have to worry about anyone parking there, Mr. Collier said that we can put it out of commission for the day. Commissioner Cooper asked if July 22nd will be a good day for her events, she replied that it will be on a Saturday and after reviewing other events in the area she believes that the 22nd will be a good day before school goes back into session. Commissioner Morris asked if she already reached out to the Sheriff's Department about coverage, she said last year they just had Woodland’s Police Department present, but she will be doing things differently this year because some people were walking away with her groceries last year. Commissioner Morris said there will be no police at that time in town and he would reach out to the sheriff’s department for that coverage. Commissioner Morris informed Mrs. Flood and the Board that it costs $35 an hour for each officer and wanted to know if that amount would come out of the $4,000 Commissioner Christison was talking about earlier. Mr. Kenny Godfrey asked if Mrs. Flood could designate her own officers for the events, she said she wanted to have someone with arresting authority. She is going to check with the Sheriff's Department on the officer rates. She then asked what is going to happen when we do not have a police officer in town, will the sheriff’s department fill that role? Commissioner Morris said we are going to reach out to them for the town’s purpose. She would like to have at least two police officers there for the whole event. She is concerned for the children more than anything because basketball tournament’s breed trouble. She is going to work with some of her volunteers to have a plan in place if something were to go astray to protect the children. Commissioner Cooper said she needs to get some air horns to get the attention of everyone quickly. She plans to have some air horns, bear horns, and a bull horn in attendance. She would like these two events to become annual events. Commissioner Christison asked how much she is asking for the basketball tournament, she answered $1200-$1250. Commissioner Christison said money can be moved around to make this happen and made a motion to donate $1250 from GL #10-420-35 to Mrs. Laureen Flood for the basketball tournament and requests that she provide Mrs. Burgess with receipts of purchases.
Commissioner Christison asked for an update with her situation involving her and her neighbor’s chickens. She said that Police Chief Hoggard and his wife went onto her neighbor’s property and took care of some of the chickens but they are still running about. Most of the livestock is now contained but she can still hear them throughout the night. The chickens come over into her yard and tear up her flower bed that she pays a landscaper to fix. She has read the policy over and over and believes that something else needs to be done. Commissioner Christison says we need to send a citation to the property owner of the livestock. She says she has plenty of evidence of the livestock if it is needed, Commissioner Christison says the town will get the proper citation to the neighbor.
Fire Department: Robbie Collier presented the monthly fire report. Each Fire Department in Northampton County will be receiving $5,850 that is to be used however they see fit, the check is in the mail. Men’s and Ladies’ groups that are running the community building are dismantling and want to give over the building to the Fire Department. Luther Culpepper looked over everything and said the building is good and covered.
Rich Square Fire Department is taking an EMS class/training so there will be a 24/7 crew; that will provide our county with one in Conway and one in Rich Square. Commissioner Cooper asked if our Fire Department still gets false alarms from Rich Square and Mr. Collier said yes, always. Most of the time, Rich Square calls are because a compressor has cut off and needs to be reset. Commissioner Cooper asked if Woodland beats Rich Square to the calls and he said it is back and forth. Mr. Collier said that they have a great group of guys on the squad now, and their communication is great. Woodland Fire Department’s Open House was previously scheduled for July 15th and has now been postponed to the end of August. Mr. Collier and Mickel Pruden handle what messages go on the sign, Commissioner Cooper says that sign is great. Mr. Collier says after 5 years their grade will go up a little because of the sign, which will help them get more grants. Commissioner Christison thanks Mr. Collier and the Fire Department for everything. Mayor Beale and the Board thanked Mr. Collier for everything and we are all glad that his surgery and recovery went well.
Mayor Beale stepped out of the meeting for family events, Commissioner Cooper is now Mayor Pro-Tem.
Police Report: Chief Hoggard was absent on vacation, therefore, there was no report to be read. Commissioner Morris said there have been two robberies in two days; one in Conway and one in Seaboard, each at a Dollar General. The robber was driving an older model Honda Accord so we need to be on alert. National Night Out (for Cops) is requesting $300 for a donation, Commissioner Christison said it comes out of the Police Department budget. Commissioner Morris asked if that is something that we do annually, Commissioner Christison says we can start donating to that event annually. Commissioner Christison made a motion to donate $300 for the National Night Out event from, Commissioner Morris seconded and the motion carried.
a. Juneteenth Holiday - Commissioner Christison made a motion to amend the holidays in our Personnel Policies to add Juneteenth to the Holiday section of the Policy. The Town of Woodland will be following Northampton County’s schedule for said holiday, if it falls on a weekend. Commissioner Morris seconded and the motion passed.
b. Workman’s Comp - Commissioner Christison informed the Board that he sat down with Walt from Boyette and Robinson, and looked at the town’s insurance. Whenever an employee is working here with the town on town time, we are covered. But if it were some work being done not on town time, the town is not covered. We need to look into having something in place for those times. Mr. Kenny Godfrey asked about the minimum insurance policy, Commissioner Christison answered $1,000,000. Mr. Godfrey said that he read online that Workman’s Comp states if you have three employees plus yourself, then you are required to have that but you are not required otherwise. Commissioner Christison is going to reach back out to Walt to make sure there are no gray areas when that work is done for a township. Mr. Godfrey asked what is the deadline on bidding on jobs, Commissioner Christison states that we do not have any jobs as of right now. Commissioner Christison asked what jobs Mr. Godfrey was referring to. Mr. Godfrey says the lights at the warehouse need to be redone as well as the generator here at the Town Hall. Commissioner Christison says the generator has to go through a licensed company. Commissioner Christison says that he and Mr. Godfrey need to talk separately on their own time, rather than here at the meeting. The Board agrees that we as a town have to go through the insurance to do things correctly. Commissioner Christison and Commissioner Cooper know that the work Mr. Godfrey previously did for the town was done without the proper insurance, but we as a town didn’t have any other choice at that time. Commissioner Cooper says that this is something that we have never done before and we must go through the insurance company to make sure we are covered. Commissioner Christison also notes that we could be audited for the work and we will need that workman’s comp and liability or we will get in trouble in the long run. Commissioner Christison says to remember that this is a municipality, we get this money from taxpayers and the citizens and we have to do things the way the government tells us to do it. The board reminded Mr. Godfrey that they can make a decision in a few minutes, but the League of Municipalities could take months to come to a decision.Commissioner Cooper notes that is why Mrs. Martin was here from Souther Bank earlier because the Board is working for the Town through the government. Mr. Godfrey says to just let him know and he can acquire the credentials for the job.
c. Comp Time Policy - Mrs. Burgess asked the Board when it comes to the time cards, if an employee is to write sick day is she supposed to take those 8 hours from the employee’s sick time or comp time? She stated that if that time is supposed to come from their accrued sick time, shouldn’t it be taken from that rather than comp time. Commissioner Cooper says we should look around at the county’s policy or other town’s to compare. Mr. Godfrey asks why we don’t use sick time when we are sick. He worked over to accrue his comp time and he shouldn’t have to pay himself for time that he works. Commissioner Cooper says the Board doesn’t need to answer this item tonight and we need to meet with further discussion at a later date. Commissioner Christison says it will be decided amongst the Board and the rest of the employees will have a say. The Town works off the budget so that is why we can’t pay overtime.
d. Filing for Mayor/Commissioner - A Facebook post needs to be made to let the community know we have a Mayor and two Commissioner positions open for the next election.
e. Cost of Living Rates - Commissioner Christison said the town employees will receive a 3% cost of living raise now, and a 3% cost of living raise on January 1st. Merit raises will be later throughout the year based on performance, Commissioner Christison made a motion to distribute those raises, Commissioner Morris made a second.
Maintenance Report: Raymond Eaton read the monthly report.
a. Pot Hole - Mr. Todd Frazer put asphalt in the hole on Main St. recently, and he should continue to keep a check on it. Commissioner Cooper asked are we going to keep patching or are we going to fix it? Mr. Eaton says there is also one on Ashe Street that he is trying to get the money together to fix them both. Commissioner Christison says that is money that we can take from Powell Bill.
b. Mr. Barry Lane, who is a part time employee of the Town, doesn’t understand why he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. He stated he has been here as long as Mr. Eaton, and he is the first one on the job site every day and gets no recognition. The last employee to get hired got $4 more than himself and got his own truck, but he hasn’t gotten anything close to that and would like to be considered for a permanent employee position.
CDBG: The monthly report is included in the Minute Book.
Comments from the Mayor: Mayor absent.
Comments from the Commissioners: Commissioner Cooper asks that the Board packets are sent to the Commissioners about two days before the meeting so that he and the other members have a chance to read over the agenda for the meeting to come, Mrs. Burgess agreed that she will get them out earlier.
Public Comments: No comments.
Adjourn: At 8:56 pm, Commissioner Christison made a motion to adjourn the open session meeting and go into closed session, Commissioner Morris seconded and the motion carried.