Morganton City Council meetings are broadcast live on CoMPAS Ch. 2 and streamed live online via the city's USTREAM . The Council meets at Morganton City Hall located at 305 E. Union St. Suite A100, Morganton, NC .
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In accordance with N.C.G.S. 143.318.12(b)(2), notice is hereby given of a Special Meeting of the Morganton City Council to be held on Monday, June 19, 2017, 6:00 p.m. for the purpose of conducing a Public Hearing on the Proposed Budget and other items listed.
The Council may consider and take action, if necessary, regarding any other item(s) that might be properly brought before the City Council.
The meeting will be held in the Council Chamber at City Hall located at 305 East Union Street, Suite, A100, Morganton, NC 28655.
• Public Hearing Concerning the City of Morganton Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018
• Consideration of Adoption of Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018
• Consideration of Adoption of Schedule of Fees and Charges for Fiscal Year 2017-2018
• Consideration of Approval of Year-end Budget Amendment 2016-2017
• Consideration of Authorization of a Resolution to Apply for a Building Reuse Grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce Rural Economic Development Division / Project Box
• Consideration of Establishing Filing Fees for Municipal Elections
• Consideration of Approval of an Alternative Design for Rutherford Electric Membership Corporation - Fencing
• Consideration of an Amendment to Section 2-7112 of Code of Ordinances Regarding Membership in the Recreation Advisory Commission
• Consideration of Allocated Positions for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 and Approval of Updated Pay Ranges Resulting from Pay and Classification Study
This the 15th day of June, 2017.
Ronnie Thompson, Mayor
For more information, you may contact Sally Sandy, City Manager, at 438-5230 or Kelly Russell, Assistant City Clerk, at 438-5228.
June 19, 2017
Ronnie Thompson, Mayor
John H. Cantrell )
Forrest A. Fleming ) Councilmen
Sidney Simmons )
Sally W. Sandy, City Manager
Louis E. Vinay, Jr., City Attorney
I. Call to Order – The Mayor called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.
II. Public Hearings and Actions
1. Public Hearing to Consider the City of Morganton Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018
The Mayor opened the public hearing at 6:00 p.m.
The City Manager stated that the Budget Ordinance establishes the tax rate at $0.53 for general tax and $0.14 for municipal service district tax per $100 valuation. Also included are revenues anticipated and expenditures authorized as presented to the City Council on June 5, 2017. The public hearing notice was published in The News Herald on June 7, 2017.
There being no public comment, the Mayor closed the public hearing at 6:03 p.m.
a. Consideration of Adoption of the City of Morganton Budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018
Upon motion by Councilman Cantrell, seconded by Councilman Fleming, and carried unanimously, the Council adopted a Budget Ordinance (Ordinance #17-35) for FY 2017-2018.
b. Consideration of Adoption of Schedule of Fees and Charges 2017-2018
Upon motion by Councilman Fleming, seconded by Councilman Cantrell, and carried unanimously, the Council adopted the Schedule of Fees and Charges for FY 2017-2018.
III. Consideration of Approval of Year-end Budget Amendment 2016-2017
Upon motion by Councilman Simmons, seconded by Councilman Cantrell, and carried unanimously, the Council adopted the General Fund Budget Amendment (Ord. #17-36) for $68,180.
IV. Consideration of Authorization of a Resolution to Apply for a Building Reuse Grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce Rural Economic Development Division / Project Box
The City Manager stated that Project Box is an opportunity for a local industry located at 110 Wamsutta Mill Road in Morganton to begin a new product line which would require an investment in new equipment and building improvements to support the new line. Approximately 20 new jobs would be created for this expansion.
The grant request is for $250,000 and requires a 5% local match if approved. The City and Burke County will share equally in the grant match pending approval of the grant request by the NC Department of Commerce Rural Economic Development Division.
Upon motion by Councilman Cantrell, seconded by Councilman Simmons, and carried unanimously, the Council approved Resolution #17-25 authorizing the City of Morganton to make application to the NC Department of Commerce Rural Economic Development Division Building Reuse Grants program for Project Box.
Councilman Fleming asked if it was fair to share the administrative costs equally with Burke County since their tax rate is significantly higher than the City’s rate.
The City Manager stated that mathematically there is a difference and that Councilman Fleming’s observation was correct. However, in practice administrative costs have been shared equally, but larger tax related incentives have been shared proportionately.
V. Consideration of Establishing Filing Fees for Municipal Elections
The City Attorney stated that by statute, the regular municipal elections this year will be held on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.
Notice of Candidacy must be filed by each person offering himself or herself as a candidate with the Burke County Board of Elections no earlier than 12:00 Noon on the first Friday in July (July 7, 2017) and no later than 12:00 Noon on the third Friday in July (July 21, 2017). The filing may be completed by mail; however, the Notice of Candidacy must be received by the Board of Elections before the filing deadline stated above regardless of the time notice was deposited in the mail.
Even though the City has contracted with the Burke County Board of Elections to conduct our municipal elections, the City Council retains the authority and duty to set the filing fee for candidates who file for a City office. Pursuant to N.C.G.S. 163-294.2(e), the filing fee shall be fixed by the governing board of the City not later than the day before candidates are permitted to begin filing notices of candidacy. By statute, the minimum filing fee is $5.00; however, the City Council has authority to set the filing fee at no more than 1% of the annual salary of the office sought unless 1% is less than $5.00.
The elections to be held this year are for Council District 3 (seat currently held by John Cantrell) and Council District 4 (seat currently vacant).
Upon motion by Councilman Simmons, seconded by Councilman Cantrell, and carried unanimously, the Council approved setting the filing fee for each City Council seat to be elected in 2017 at $20.00. (Resolution #17-24)
Councilman Fleming asked why just $20 as a filing fee. The City Manager stated it had been in place a while and it was just arbitrary. City Attorney Vinay reminded everyone that the statute does cap the fee.
VI. Consideration of Approval of an Alternative Design for Rutherford Electric Membership Corporation-Fencing
Phillip Lookadoo stated the subject property is located at 614 Carbon City Road and identified as Burke County PIN number 1783834257. He parted the following information:
GENERAL BACKGROUND DATA:
Zoning: High Intensity District (HID)
Current Use: Rutherford EMC Offices/Staging/Storage
Proposed Use: Rutherford EMC Offices/Staging/Storage
CURRENT STATUS/PREVIOUS ACTION TAKEN:
a. Existing Rutherford Electric Membership Corporation (REMC) offices/operations have been at this location since the 1950’s. REMC is expanding its Morganton facility to better serve its customers administratively and operationally. Part of this expansion includes the necessity to install a security fence along the perimeter of its work yard and warehouse. Current regulations limit a front fence height and prohibit the use of barbed wire in the HID zoning district. This need, combined with the facility being in existence for over sixty years and current zoning regulations, creates a unique situation that should be able to be addressed through alternative design.
b. The Planning and Zoning Commission, at their regular meeting on June 8, 2017, recommended by unanimous vote of those present, that City Council approve the alternative design meeting the intent of the code to completely screen any fencing that would be otherwise prohibited by the zoning ordinance.
POINTS TO CONSIDER:
a. Section 2.2.7 Alternative Design Proposals, states “The City Council may approve alternate design proposals… due to unique circumstances or creative design proposals, provided that the intent to this ordinance is met.”
b. Rutherford EMC currently has equipment and materials used for the everyday operation for Morganton and Burke County. Equipment includes trucks and tools used for operations. Materials include poles and wire.
c. The facility has historically used eight (8) foot high chain link fencing with barbed wire to prevent loss due to theft.
d. As a loan contingency, REMC’s lending agency (the Rural Utility Service, part of the US Department of Agriculture) is requiring that the grounds be protected with the enhanced measures including the use of higher fencing.
e. Section 18.104.22.168 of Article 4, Table 4.19 prohibits the use of chain link as a fence type in the front yard and also limits the height of any front yard fence to five (5) feet.
f. Section 22.214.171.124(f) of Article 4 states that “Barbed wire on top of chain link fences is permitted for rear yard fences not visible from a street in the EID district only”.
g. Alternative design is only being proposed relative to the prohibition of fencing material, dimension and location.
h. The remainder of the development, i.e. new buildings, access and circulation as parking areas will be subject to the requirements as prescribed in the current City of Morganton Zoning Ordinance.
i. Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission verified that the alternative design did not negate the requirement for installation of the required street yard for new development.
j. The Planning and Zoning Commission requested that the applicant consult with staff to determine appropriate plant material to effect the screening of the fence.
The Planning and Zoning Commission and staff recommend, given REMC’s location and unique situation described above, and the requirement to maintain the intent of the ordinance, approval of the proposal with enhancement of proposed screening additional screening that will provide complete opacity along all fence lines
Upon motion by Councilman Fleming, seconded by Councilman Cantrell, and carried unanimously, the Council adopted Ordinance #17-37, the effect of which reflects the decision of City Council to approve the proposed alternative design, as outlined in Section 2.2.7 of the City of Morganton Zoning Ordinance, for construction of the new fencing as recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission.
VII. Consideration of an Amendment to Section 2-7112 of Code of Ordinances Regarding Membership in the Recreation Advisory Commission
The City Attorney stated that Article K. of Chapter 7 of Part 2 of the City’s Code of Ordinances provides for the City Council to appoint a Recreation Advisory Commission of nine members with three year terms, who are not allowed to succeed themselves.
Recent experience has shown that the current body of nine may not be large enough to provide adequate representation of a broad cross-section of the community. Further, the ban against re-appointments seems unnecessarily restrictive—Recreation Advisory is the only permanent City board or commission with such a limitation.
To address these issues, City staff suggests an amendment to Section 2-7112, to allow (but not require) Council to appoint up to twelve members on the Recreation Advisory Commission, and to allow the members to be re-appointed for multiple successive terms.
Upon motion by Councilman Cantrell, seconded by Councilman Fleming, and carried unanimously, the Council approved amending Section 2-7112 of the Code of Ordinances to increase the authorized membership of the Recreation Advisory Commission to twelve persons, with either 3 or 4 members to be appointed annually for 3-year terms, and to allow members to be re-appointed to successive terms. (Ord. #17-38)
VIII. Consideration of Consideration of Allocated Positions for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 and Approval of Updated Pay Ranges Resulting from Pay and Classification Study
The City Manager stated that it is customary for City Council to allocate the designated number of positions (full time and permanent part time) with each budget. The number of positions included in the proposed budget is summarized (see attachment) for your approval.
The City recently contracted with Piedmont Triad Regional Council to conduct a pay and classification study. The purpose of this study was to update our pay ranges and ensure positions were slotted in pay ranges that are competitive in the marketplace.
Upon motion by Councilman Cantrell, seconded by Councilman Fleming, and carried unanimously, the Council approved the Allocated Position Table for Fiscal Year 2017 / 2018 and approved new pay ranges table.
Councilman Fleming voiced his perceived concerns with Public Safety and retention of new officers as well as difficulty in hiring new officers.
IX. Other Items from City Manager and City Council Not on the Agenda – The Mayor asked Phillip Lookadoo to address the upcoming DOT Public Meeting. Lookadoo stated it was scheduled to be held the following evening (June 30) regarding the widening of Hwy 181 from St. Mary’s Church Road to W.A. Harris Road. The meeting is for public input on the project and would be open to the public from 4-7 p.m. in the Council Chamber.
X. Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned at 6:29 p.m.
Preparation of Minutes. These minutes were prepared by Mikela D. Russell, Assistant City Clerk. Copies of all resolutions, ordinances and orders referenced in these minutes are intended to be incorporated into these minutes as if fully set forth herein. Prior to including them into the official minute book, the minutes have been read and approved by the City Manager and the City Attorney, then distributed to each member of the City Council for further review and final approval, at a subsequent Council Meeting.