BY DEBBIE PAGE
During its pre-agenda briefing on Monday afternoon, the Troutman Town Council unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the town staff to file an application for approval of a financing agreement to acquire property as required by state law.
The N.C. Local Government Commission requires the resolution as part of its process to approve the town’s financing agreement for property acquisition at 160 and 170 Wagner Street at a purchase price of $513,000 for both properties.
After approval of the resolution, the council then set a special meeting for a public hearing for the issuance of debt for the property on Tuesday, March 23, at 4 p.m. as the next step in the process.
Town manager Ron Wyatt is also still attempting to negotiate for four lots that the council is interested in for future facility expansion. He advised that council members may have to do a quick closed session on Thursday night if an offer to purchase is accepted.
Finance Director Steve Shealy reported that town revenues remain strong with February sales tax collection up over $10,000 compared to February 2019.
February property tax collection was down nearly $10,000 from last year, but Shealy explained that January’s incredibly high numbers ($317,530 over 2019’s $235,547) most likely lowered February’s collections.
Water and sewer billing in February was $163,204 ($145,337 in 2019). Shealy said the town staff has been very busy establishing water and sewer connections for new construction. This figure did not include additional tap fee collections.
Shealy said that Weathers Creek construction was also starting up, resulting in a “nice availability fees check.”
♦ Though the March Dixie Horse Auction for March is canceled, the organizers are working with Iredell County commissioners to get permission for a later spring event after further vaccine rollout.
Councilman Eddie Nau asked Wyatt to check with Police Chief Tina Fleming about the progress in developing this plan, requested last March, for parking, pedestrian crossing, and traffic to better handle the impact of this event, whenever it happens.
♦ Councilwoman Felina Harris asked for an update on the Talley Street sidewalk project. Wyatt spoke with N.C. Sen. Victor Sawyer about the project that afternoon to enlist her help in finding out where the project, approved in 2017, stands.
Noting that everyone is upset about the delays, Wyatt said several factors caused the postponement, including the NCDOT bumping the project a year and then its money shortfall shortly thereafter, several personnel changes with the town planner position, and the discovery that the NCDOT requires a a full-time town employee to oversee the project.
Since Interim Town Planner Jonathan Wells works only part time, Wyatt is asking to be designated as this town project lead to solve this issue. Since some NCDOT projects are finally being released, Wyatt hopes the Tally Street project will be among them after a nearly four year wait.
Wyatt said the town’s monetary obligation for the Tally Street project was once one-third, about $550,000, but a new NCDOT formula may raise the town’s cost to 40 percent, about $570,000.
Wyatt assured Harris that the Tally Street project was a top priority for the town, but the NCDOT controls when the project proceeds since state and federal grant money is involved, unlike the recent street repair project, which was completed with town funds.
♦ Mayor Teross Young asked Wyatt to check the status of the Flower House Loop/Houston Road realignment, noting that the intersection is quite dangerous and the scene of a growing number of accidents.
Young also asked that town streets be inspected soon to look for needed repairs.
The mayor also asked Wyatt to be looking at the town’s share of COVID-19 federal relief funds with the latest stimulus package expected to be passed and signed by President Biden this week. He asked staff to be looking at needs that this money can meet.
♦ Wyatt said that a Western Carolina University intern will soon join the staff. This student will help update the town’s out-of-date Emergency Response Plan as part of his duties.
THURSDAY NIGHT AGENDA
The council has a light agenda on Thursday night, with just a few items to consider, including:
♦ Approval of a proposal by GovOffice to create a new town website with a three-year services agreement at a cost of $12,550, with bi-annual ADA compliance reviews at an additional $750 per year.
If approved, the town may later add on a communications suite with mass messaging and emailing services after collection of contact information from citizens.
♦ Consideration of a naming rights application for the Troutman ESC Park Baseball Complex to “The Comer and Friends Complex.”
♦ Consideration of the reappointment of Kenny Overcash to the Board of Adjustment for a three-year term.