Council Meeting Minutes
Special Council Meeting Minutes
October 28, 2014
A special meeting was held at 10:30 am on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at Town Hall. Mayor Bob Crabtree called the meeting to order. The following members of the Council were present: Vice Mayor Guy Owen, Bob Allmond, Roger Carlton, and John Garland. Town Administrator Peggy Carver and Town Clerk Mandy Millsaps were also present. There were three Town residents present.
New Business Item #1: Approval of the FY 2013-14 Audit. Roger Carlton stated that the word “approval” may be the wrong word for this Item of business due to the fact that this is a draft of the audit that is to be reviewed and then sent back to the CPA for completion. Peggy Carver stated that the request for final approval of the audit will actually be in the December, 2014 Town Commission meeting.
Peggy Carver was asked what concerns if any the Council should be looking for within the audit. She stated that at this point we should just be concerned about meeting statutory requirements. Mayor Bob Crabtree asked if transferring funds from the Water Fund to the General Fund is considered a violation. Peggy stated that it is more of a policy issue. Mr. Carlton stated that as long as the due to due from numbers were correct and that the policy of gradually reducing the amount owed by the Water Fund to the General Fund is in place then, from an accounting standpoint, this should be fine.
Councilmember Roger Carlton explained the net assets and also the Statement of Revenues, Expenditures and Changes in Fund Balance as noted within the FY 2013-14 audit. He also stated that the millage increase was implemented in FY 2014-15 to help increase the reserve balance. Mayor Bob Crabtree also reminded the Council of the fact that the original water loan had been paid off early in 1910.
Councilmember Roger Carlton stated that this is a “clean audit” and that due to journal entries that were incorrectly made during the year some adjustments had to be made. The CPA made the corrections needed to ensure that all journal entries were correct before the audit was sent to the State. Town Administrator Peggy Carver stated that due to the way QuickBooks interprets some of these entries that there is no way to separate certain complex items when making the journal entry. She also stated that she planned to look into this further in hopes of finding a way to enter these items differently.
Roger Carlton continued to explain the revenues and expenditures of the Town as documented within the audit. He asked Peggy Carver to explain to the Council why the expenditures were elevated from the previous year. Peggy Carver stated that two factors caused this number to be higher:
1. The new hire of Town Clerk Debbie Wheeler after adopting the budget (no longer employed by the Town).
2. Additional costs incurred from road repair (road stabilization etc...).
Councilmember Roger Carlton discussed the issue of the Water Fund owing the General Fund $59,927.00 and the need to decrease this amount over the next 10 years. Town resident Jack Gross stated that he did not understand this total due to a “refund” from the original build of the water system that was given to the Town residents’ years ago. He asked why this refund was given rather than reducing the amount. Mayor Bob Crabtree explained the reasoning behind why the Water Fund owes the General Fund 59,927.00.
Peggy Carver stated that the original amount owed was close to $115,000.00 and that this amount has been reduced over the last six years by transferring money from the Water Fund to the General Fund. Mayor Bob Crabtree asked why the income for the Water Fund had dropped. Councilmember Roger Carlton explained that there is now a 60/40 split between the General Fund and the Water Fund. Whereas in the prior year this was a 75/25 split. Peggy Carver also reminded the Councilmember’s that in the prior fiscal year the Town received an insurance payment for $10,000.00 that increased the income within the Water Fund.
Councilmember Roger Carlton stated that the total of unpaid property taxes is very little and asked Town Administrator Peggy Carver to explain this. Peggy Carver explained the Budget vs. Actual report. She stated that personal property in the amount of $533,694 may not have been included on the 2013 tax scroll. Town Administrator Peggy Carver will meet with the Tax Assessor from Graham County to develop a plan to collect the taxes due on this valuation if the issue proves to be correct. Councilmember Roger Carlton would like this total to be footnoted on the current fiscal year audit. Councilmember Roger Carlton moved to authorize this draft of the audit to be sent to the State. John Garland seconded. All other members present voted in the affirmative. The motion carried.
New Business Item # 2: Termination of Contract for Security Guard. A copy of the contract with our current Security Guard, Raymond Williams was supplied to everyone present at the meeting. Town Administrator Peggy Carver stated that we should wait until the remaining six months of Mr. Williams contract is completed before we make any changes. Councilmember Roger Carlton stated that if Raymond is unable to fulfill his duties as Security guard in the upcoming months that the Town or Mr. Williams may terminate the contract with a 90 day notice. Town resident Jack Gross stated that in the past Mr. Williams has sent family members to cover his shift and would like to know if his contract with the Town allows this. Councilmember John Garland suggested that Town Administrator Peggy Carver speak with the Town Attorney Ellen Davis regarding the current contract in order to decide exactly what the Town is liable for. Mayor Bob Crabtree moved to table this item until the contract has been reviewed by the Town Attorney and also to have Town Administrator Peggy Carver speak with Mr. Williams about his future intentions regarding the contract with the Town. All members present voted in the affirmative. The motion carried.
New Business Item #3: Prepayment of leaf removal for purchase of a new leaf mulching trailer. The Stable Guy is asking for prepayment of leaf removal services in order to purchase a new trailer due to the fact that his trailer was stolen. Councilmember Roger Carlton stated that it would be in the best interest of the Town to obtain a lien on the new trailer rather than pre-payment until the advance amount was worked off. The Town Council approved the recommendation of the Finance Officer by consensus. This item did not require a vote.
Old Business Item #1: Parking Variance Application for Ronnie Hedrick. Mayor Bob Crabtree stated that he visited Mr. Hedrick’s property and measured the parking area. He asked how many feet are required for clearance for emergency vehicles. Town resident Jack Gross stated that fire trucks are no more than 8 feet wide and that the turning radius for trucks of this size should have a turning radius no more than any large truck. Mayor Bob Crabtree stated that there should be enough room for a variance. Councilmember Roger Carlton stated that the parking area at Mr. Hedrick’s property appeared to be merged and that it may be two separate ownerships since Mr. Hedrrick owned two contiguous houses. Mr. Carlton stated that if the property is merged then approving a variance may cause an issue in the future when one or the other is sold separately. Mayor Bob Crabtree asked how much of the parked vehicle would be in the road. Mr. Hedrick stated that he was sure that over half of the vehicle would be in the road. Councilmember John Garland stated that if our parking ordinance states that we are not to park in the road then how could the Council approve anything beyond the two feet set back. Councilmember Roger Carlton stated that it would be best to wait until the sale of Mr. Hedrick’s property and stated that he had asked Mr. Hedrick outside the previous Council meeting “why he would want to open this can of worms before the sale”? Mr. Hedrick stated that his request was for no more than what was approved for the Eckhardt’s. Mr. Hedrick then asked for the plat of the Eckhardt’s lot in order for him to show the Council where their property lines were. He stated that he felt like the Eckhardt’s variance approval would also allow their vehicle to be in the road.
Councilmember Bob Allmond moved to deny Mr. Hedrick’s variance request. No second. Motion failed.
Councilmember Roger Carlton moved to table Mr. Hedrick’s variance request. No second. Motion failed.
Town resident Jack Gross reminded the Council that they had previously approved a variance for 143 Nantahala Trail due to a closing date and to table Ronnie Hedrick’s request did not seem fair because the auction for his property is to be held on November 7, 2014 and to table the request would mean that it would not be discussed again until the November 13, 2014 Planning meeting and would not be voted on until the Council meeting on November 13, 2014.
Mr. Hedrick stated that to deny or table his request made no difference to him and that he just wanted an answer before leaving the meeting today but he felt that the Council was discriminating against him and devaluing his property.
Councilmember Roger Carlton stated to Mr. Hedrick that his comment sounded like a threat. Mr. Hedrick stated that the Council could take that comment however they wanted to take it.
Councilmember Roger Carlton moved to table this item until the November Planning Meeting. John Garland seconded. All others present agreed in the affirmative. Motion carried.
Old Business item #2: Degarmo Building application. Discussions were held between the Councilmembers regarding the front set back of less than 25 feet. Councilmember Guy Owen stated that he was not concerned about 2 or three feet. The previous decision by the Town Council was to allow no more than five feet less than required. Councilmember John Garland used a scale and determined that one corner was less than 25 feet. Councilmember Guy Owen moved to accept the drawing and to acknowledge that the set back may be slightly less than 20 feet. John Garland seconded. All others present agreed in the affirmative. Motion carried.
Robert P. Crabtree, Mayor Miranda Millsaps, Town Clerk