BY STACIE LETT CAIN
The City of Statesville has been awarded $5.1 million from the NCDOT Aviation Division to fund the construction of a corporate hangar at the Statesville Regional Airport. City officials hope the new hangar will help attract larger corporate clientele of the airport.
The City Council official accepted the grant during Monday’s council meeting. The council also approved spending $236,658 for the engineering, geotechnical and architectural services for design of the hangar.
New contract for city attorney
Also included in Monday’s consent agenda was the approval of a one-year contract extension for city attorney Leah Gaines Messick.
“We discussed Ms. Messick’s performance over the past year in our pre-agenda meeting and everyone spoke very highly of her abilities and her performance in this role,” Mayor Costi Kutteh explained. “We are happy to continue her position as our city attorney.”
SFD pursuing SAFER Grant
The council also gave the Statesville Fire Department authorization to apply for the FY21 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant. If awarded, the grant would allow the city to hire nine firefighters for three years with no matching funds required from the city.
“This is a grant that we have some years received, some years we haven’t, but either way, the city needs to be prepared that if we do receive the grant, and hire these firefighters, at the conclusion of the three years we need to be prepared to continue to pay for them with city funds,” Kutteh explained.
Debate over road standards
The council spent time discussing current city standards for asphalt roadways within the city limits. From the depth of aggregate stone to the depth of asphalt surfacing, council members agreed that the city needs make sure that the asphalt roadways being constructed by private developers meet minimum NCDOT standards. Beyond that, there was some disagreement.
Director of Public Works Mark Taylor proposed a more stringent standard for asphalt roadways, explaining that requiring a seven-inch layer of asphalt be laid on top of eight inches of compacted aggregate stone would provide the longest possible lifetime for the roadways, which would prevent unnecessary patching and maintenance by the city.
“If we don’t do this, we are looking at the city taking over these problems and our residents will bear the burden of fixing them with their tax dollars,” Councilman John Staford said. “I think the costs associated need to remain with the developers and those purchasing within those developments, not with the rest of the taxpayers.”
Councilman William Morgan said that requirement would be a barrier to future development within the city limits.
“NCDOT confirmed in an email that they are okay with subdivisions having eight inches aggregate stone base and three inches of asphalt layer. I have a hard time asking a residential developer to lay down seven inches of asphalt,” Morgan said. “You could land a plane on seven inches of asphalt. If NCDOT is okay with three, why would we ask our developers to pay to put down twice that? We want to be business friendly, and I think asking them to do this is egregious.”
The council asked Taylor to bring back a plan to the next meeting that differentiates between requirements for roads in residential and industrial and commercial development.
Curb and gutter requirements
The council also discussed removing the option for developers to install valley gutters on roadways and instead require standard curb and gutter going forward. The council voted that any developer who had been before the city’s Technical Review Committee prior to March 16 would be grandfathered in and would be allowed to implement a valley gutter system, but after March 16, only standard curb and gutter would be allowed.
The next council meeting, currently scheduled for February 21, will include seven different public hearings, which could be separated out of the regular meeting. Details on the meeting agenda will be available at the City Clerk’s office later this week.