The Bessemer City Council met in regular session on June 11, 2012 at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
Mayor Becky Smith, Council Members: Dan Boling, Kay McCathen, Joe Will, Howard Jones, Alfred Carpenter and Donnie Griffin. Also present were Interim City Manager, Janice Costner, and Attorney David Smith.
Call to Order, Prayer, Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Smith called the meeting to order and introduced The Reverend Toler of Grace Lutheran Church who led in prayer. Mayor Smith followed with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Adjustment & Approval of June Agenda
Donnie Griffin made a motion to pull Item C (Contract to Dismantle & Dispose of East End Tank) of the Consent Agenda for discussion. With motion by Kay McCathen and unanimous vote, the June Agenda was approved with Item C removed from the Consent Agenda and placed as Item 8A.
Park & Recreation Month Proclamation
Mayor Smith read a proclamation declaring July as Park and Recreation Month. By motion of Howard Jones and unanimous vote, the proclamation was adopted. (Copy on file in Proclamation Book at City Hall)
Request to Speak/Opportunity for Public Comment
Mr. Jim Long, ABC Board Chairman, residing at 206 E. Maine Ave., thanked Council for the Board appointments which have resulted in a strong working ABC Board. Items discussed:
1. Adoption of a balanced 2012-2013 budget
2. New Community Outreach program with a scholarship program for education
3. The need to move store to a more visible location to increase profitability
4. ABC Commission audit next week – first in 40 years of operation
Mr. Otis Whitehurst, 867 Lewis Farm Road, Kings Mountain, representing the BC Merchants Association, reported on the recent activities of the Association, the need for new businesses and ideas to attract them to the City. With the reduction in sales tax revenues, doing nothing is not an option.
1. The beginning of a monthly newsletter - The Heart of the Story
2. Local School involvement
a. Weekend Backpack Program – included providing meals to 22 students
b. Pennies for Playgrounds at the primary school
c. After school computer lab
d. Graphing calculators for math students
3. Involvement in the Small Town Main Street program
Ideas for New Business for Council’s Consideration
1. Personal point of contact in the City for new businesses to meet with for information
2. Financial incentives suggestions the City might consider
a. Three month waiver of water/sewer/trash billing
b. Grant funds for adding new employees
c. Improvement grants for façade beautification
d. Water/Sewer tap waivers
The following items of the Consent Agenda were unanimously approved by motion of Howard Jones.
Approval of Minutes: Approved the minutes of the Regular Meeting of May 14, 2012 and Special Meetings of May 22, 2012, May 25, 2012 and May 29, 2012.
Requests for Overnight Travel: Approved City Planner, Kevin Krouse, to attend the 2012 NCAZO Summer Conference in Asheville on July 22nd – 25th and Finance Officer, Donna Lumsden, to attend the 2012 NCGFOA Summer Conference in Wrightsville Beach, July 15th – 18th.
Contract to Dismantle & Dispose of East-End Tank: Pulled for Discussion.
Budget Amendment: Approved a Budget Amendment to account for the additional revenue due to increased festival sponsorships as follows:
To amend the General Fund appropriations and revenues:
Down Home Festival Revenues
Planning Board Appointments: Reappointed Bonnie Gehring and Ron Burleson as Inside Members for additional three year terms beginning July 1, 2012.
Electronic Gaming Operations: Kevin Krouse, City Planner, reported that the Zoning Board had voted to accept a zoning text amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance to regulate Electronic Gaming Operations within the City’s zoning jurisdiction. The text change allows the businesses to operate inside the City but regulates the permitted locations.
By motion of Dan Boling and unanimous vote, a public hearing was opened for discussion of the recommended changes.
Mr. Don Johnson, 503 W. Gold St., Kings Mountain, spoke in favor of the change. Mr. Johnson wants to open a Sweepstakes Game Center in the Silver Express complex he owns on East Virginia Ave.
No one spoke against the operation and by motion of Joe Will and unanimous vote, the public hearing was closed. Discussion among Council ensued with a motion by Joe Will and unanimous vote to continue the issue until the next Council meeting allowing time for Mr. Will and Mr. Boling to review the Zoning Board’s recommendations with City Planner, Kevin Krouse.
Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2012-13
Finance Director, Donna Lumsden, reported that the 2012-2013 proposed budget is a balanced budget and is the result of City Staff and City Council’s combined efforts. By motion of Howard Jones and unanimous vote, a public hearing was opened for discussion of the proposed budget. No one else spoke affirmatively.
Mr. Wayne Massagee, 107 Windward Dr., Bessemer City, representing the Crowders Mountain Volunteer Fire & Rescue Squad, spoke against the removal of the $3,000 the City has given the CMVF&R in years past. He reported on various statistics of service to the community. There being no one else to speak, by motion of Kay McCathen and unanimous vote, the Public Hearing for the 2012-2013 Proposed Budget was closed.
Adoption of the 2012-13 Budget Ordinance
After discussion, Mr. Dan Boling made a motion to adopt the Proposed Budget Ordinance with the $3,000 for Crowders Mountain Volunteer Fire & Rescue added back to General Fund expenditures. Vote was unanimous. (Copy on file in the Resolution/Ordinance Book at City Hall)
Discussion of Business License Fees
This item was discussed at the May Meeting and continued with instruction to the City Planner to research the fee schedules of other towns/cities. In response, Kevin Krouse distributed a spreadsheet comparing several local cities’ Privilege License fees. He recommended Council raise Privilege License fees. A consensus ensued to continue this item to the July Agenda giving Council the opportunity to review the information provided.
Contract to Dismantle & Dispose of East End Tank
This item was pulled from the Consent Agenda by motion of Donnie Griffin. Mr. Griffin reported that he had received many calls about losing this City Icon. Other council members reported that they too have received calls concerning the water tank. Donnie Griffin made a motion to postpone the removal of the Tank asking staff to search for other quotes for maintenance. Motion passed. Voting in favor were Dan Boling, Kay McCathen, Joe Will, Alfred Carpenter and Donnie Griffin. Opposed was Howard Jones.
Council General Discussion
Mayor Smith displayed the plaque the City received from Sam’s Club as Business of the Year 2011. Along with the plaque, the City receives a $100 gift card. Interim Manager Costner reported that Parks & Recreation Director, JoD Franklin, plans to have the gift card given as 10 - $10 cards to give as prizes at Senior Bingo.
Closed Session – Personnel Matter
Upon motion made by Alfred Carpenter and unanimous vote, a Closed Session was held as permitted under GS § 143-318.11(a)(6). Upon return from Closed Session, Mayor Smith announced that a personnel matter was discussed and that no action was taken.
A motion was then made by Joe Will to approve an Employment Agreement for Mr. James Inman with revisions as recommended by Attorney David Smith. Voting in favor were Joe Will, Kay McCathen, Donnie Griffin and Alfred Carpenter. Voting in opposition were Howard Jones and Dan Boling.
There being no further business to come before the board, motion to adjourn was made by Kay McCathen at 8:50 PM.
-- Donna Lumsden, Finance Director
-- Becky S. Smith, Mayor