Council Meeting Minutes
FEBRUARY 25, 2014
PRELIMINARY DRAFT ONLY
SUBJECT TO CHANGE PRIOR TO COUNCIL APPROVAL
A regular meeting of the council for the Town of Lake Santeetlah was held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at Town Hall. Mayor Bob Crabtree called the meeting to order. The following members of the council were present: Guy Owen, Roger Carlton and John Garland. Town Administrator Peggy Carver, Public Works Technician David Dickert and Town Clerk Debbie Wheeler were also present. Robbinsville Mayor Steve Hooper, Aldermen Jackie Ayres and Jan Brooks, and Alicia Parham, and Chad Burchfield with the Graham County Health Department and one town resident were in attendance.
The minutes of the council meeting held on January 21, 2014 were read. Councilmember Roger Carlton made a motion to approve the minutes. Mayor Bob Crabtree seconded. All members present voted in the affirmative. The motion carried.
A motion was made by Councilmember Guy Owen to approve the agenda. Councilmember John Garland seconded. All members present voted in the affirmative. The motion carried.
Councilmember Roger Carlton gave the financial report. Mr. Carlton pointed out the reserve balances in both the General Fund and the Water Fund. Mr. Carlton noted the Water Fund has a healthy reserve.
Mayor Bob Crabtree opened Old Business Item #1: Attorney Request for Proposal: Ms. Ellen Davis: The Council agreed that they would like Ms. Ellen Davis to become the Town Attorney. The hourly pay for Ms. Davis with a one year retainer was discussed. Councilmember Roger Carlton made a motion to request an Engagement Letter from Ms. Davis. Councilmember Guy Owen seconded . All members present voted in the affirmative. The Motion carried.
Mayor Bob Crabtree opened Old Business Item #2: New Sewer System: Town of Robbinsville Mayor Steve Hooper, Alderman Jackie Ayers and Alderman Jan Brooks: Sewage options such as a sunken line across the lake, or the Town of Lake Santeetlah building a sewage treatment plant would be very costly. Discharge permits are not allowed on the lake. Alderman Jackie Ayers stated that the Town of Robbinsville has added a sewer tank, and its current sewer capacity is 480,000 gallons a day, which is 25% of what they could take in a day. The Town of Lake Santeetlah’s sewage issues could be managed by the Town of Robbinsville. Mayor Hooper stated that a sewer system keeps up the value of property. The Town of Lake Santeetlah and the Town of Robbinsville will set up a joint meeting with the Southwestern Commission to discuss funding for a sewer system from Robbinsville to the Town of Lake Santeetlah. Mayor Crabtree and the Councilmembers in attendance agreed the Town of Lake Santeetlah would sponsor a study for the Town of Robbinsville and that we are ready to participate. No vote was required at this time.
Mayor Bob Crabtree opened Old Business Item #3: Contract with Graham County to Collect 2014 Taxes, Becky Garland, Graham County Finance Officer. Ms. Garland talked about some positive points of Graham County collecting the Town of Lake Santeetlah’s property taxes, such as being able to collect delinquent taxes, placing liens on properties and foreclosure proceedings, which the Graham County tax department employees are certified to do. Currently, the Town does not have State certified personnel which enable such collection procedures. The Town of Lake Santeetlah’s property owners would lose their 2% discount, as Graham County does not offer that option.
Mayor Bob Crabtree opened Old Business Item #4: Town Sewer System: Alicia Parham, Graham County Health Director: Alicia Parham and Chad Burchfield from the Graham County Health Department also discussed sewer system issues for the Town of Lake Santeetlah. Ms. Parham pointed out that if the sewer system failed on some of the properties in town, new sewer permits would not be approved due to the lack of space for a repair area and new state requirements which would leave some homeowners with no sewer options. The council reiterated the need for a sewer study for the Town. McGill and Associates will be contacted.
There were no other Old Business Items to Discuss.
Mayor Bob Crabtree opened New Business Item #1: Appointment of New Councilmember: Bob Allmond: Mr. Allmond agreed to serve out the remaining two years of the term of former Councilmember Arthur Griffith. Mr. Allmond would also serve as the Purchasing Agent for the Town of Lake Santeetlah. Councilmember Guy Owen made a motion to approve Mr. Allmond as a new Councilmember and Purchasing Agent. Councilmember John Garland seconded. All members present voted in the affirmative. Town Clerk Debbie Wheeler read the Oath of Office to Mr. Allmond and swore him in as a Councilmember for the Town of Lake Santeetlah. Mr. Allmond joined the council for the remainder of the meeting.
Mayor Bob Crabtree opened New Business Item #2: Waiver of Tax Interest: Jeannie Bridges of 211-212 Santeetlah Trail: Jeannie Bridges asked to have the tax interest accrued on her property waived. Her husband recently passed away and she had missed paying the taxes on time because of that loss. The Town of Lake Santeetlah Councilmembers did not want to set a precedence for waivers and paid the interest.
Mayor Bob Crabtree opened New Business item #3: Replacement Cost for David’s Trailer Axle: Public Works Technician David Dickert said that a new axle for his trailer would cost about $200.00. David has been using his personal trailer for town jobs and some parts have become worn. Councilmember Guy Owen made a motion to pay for a new axle up to $200.00. Councilmember Roger Carlton seconded. All members present voted in the affirmative. The Motion carried.
Mayor Bob Crabtree opened New Business Item #4: New Trailer for Town: Public Works Technician David Dickert has been using his personal trailer, which is a 6x10 single axle trailer with a 3000 pound capacity for town jobs. The cost of a new trailer would be approximately $1,075.00. Councilmember Bob Allmond volunteered to loan his trailer to the town. Public Works Technician Dave Dickert will check out Mr. Allmond’s trailer and see if it is feasible to use for town purposes. Councilmember Roger Carlton made a motion to table this item until next month when Dave can look at the trailer and determine if it will serve the Town’s needs. . Councilmember Guy Owen seconded. All members present voted in the affirmative. The Motion carried.
Mayor Bob Crabtree opened New Business Item #5: New Blade for Plow: A new blade for the snow plow would cost approximately $500.00 and can be purchased in the Asheville, NC area. Councilmember Guy Owen made a motion to table this item until next month until we can get a quote on the cost. Councilmember Roger Carlton seconded. All members present voted in the affirmative. The Motion carried.
Mayor Bob Crabtree opened New Business Item #6: Repair Skimmed Driveway – 357 Thunderbird Trail: The driveway at 357 Thunderbird Trail, which is within the Town’s right of way, is in need of repair due to excessive use and winter plowing. A hot asphalt truck would be necessary to repair the skimmed driveway. Councilmember Guy Owen made a motion to repair the driveway at the earliest time possible when other repairs are being done for the town. Councilmember Roger Carlton seconded. All members present voted in the affirmative. The Motion carried.
Mayor Bob Crabtree opened New Business Item #7: Water System Filter: David Dickert contacted a Tec Utilities representative, to replace the filter media, or put in new filters on each well. Lamar Williams, the Town’s Water System Operator did not feel this is necessary as the filter is taking 100% of the iron out of the raw water from the wells. Mr. Williams suggested that the Town of Lake Santeetlah has an iron test done every 6 months to a year by a certified lab to verify the results that he gets from his tests. Mr. Williams also addressed the concern of a possible leak and requested to be contacted if any unusual water or leaks are noticed. Mayor Bob Crabtree made a Motion to add iron tests before and after the water is filtered. Councilman John Garland seconded. All members present voted in the affirmative. The Motion carried. Lamar Williams will be notified to perform the additional tests for iron.
Mayor Bob Crabtree opened New Business Item #8: Opt-In Graham County Population Projections – Adoption of Memorandum: The Graham County Opt-In program is a series of public workshops designed to develop a regional vision for the future of Graham County. The Graham County Board of Commissioners has voted to adopt a Memorandum regarding population projections as a part of this strategy. The Memorandum needs to be approved by all of the towns in the county. Councilmember Roger Carlton made a Motion to adopt the Graham County Comprehensive Transportation Plan Memorandum. Councilmember Bob Allmond seconded. All members present voted in the affirmative. The Motion carried.
Mayor Bob Crabtree opened New Business Item #9: Additional Hours for Town Administrator: Peggy Carver, Town Administrator as agreed to work an additional 1 hour each day to assist in training to enable all of the Clerk’s duties to be turned over to Town Clerk Debbie Wheeler and to complete additional administrative duties due to the development of the Town’s 5 year plan. It will be helpful to overlap more than the current ½ hour allowing more time to interact and lend more supervision. Councilman Guy Owen made a Motion to approve the additional hours. Councilmember John Garland seconded. All members present voted in the affirmative. The Motion carried.
There were no other New Business Items to Discuss.
Mayor Bob Crabtree opened the Discussion Period:
· Budget Planning: 5 –Year Financial Plan:
General Fund Goals such as Millage/valuation, fixed cost increases, new revenues and new construction projection, as in new houses, renovations and impact fees were discussed. Capital Outlay Projects such as drainage, Wi-Fi, new town truck, public access improvements/observation deck, additional benches throughout town and decorative lighting to replace street lights, are all areas to plan and budget for. Also discussed was the current reserve level and how to grow the reserves to achieve a higher level to meet these goals and to obtain the state’s recommendation for reserves.Water Fund Goals such as increase water rates slightly to keep the water system in good condition and up to date, increase reserves, conduct a sewer study and consider a capital outlay upgrade to the system. Possible ways to pay for these goals could be to increase the $60.00 quarterly water fee to $65.00, upgrade our current water system and go to Robbinsville water rates, which are $22.00 a month, and a sewer system installation. Another goal is the possibility of having the Town of Robbinsville manage the sewer system to qualify for grant income levels. A budget workshop immediately followed this regular council meeting.
· The Guard Rail at Causeway out to the Island was discussed. David reported that the guard rail’s wood is rotten and it is a hazard. Councilmember John Garland volunteered to take a look at it and see what needs to be done and let the Council know.
· Santeetlah Lakeside: Mr. Jose Rosado, with Lake Point Investments, formerly IBEX, sent a letter to Mayor Bob Crabtree in regards to the Santeetlah Lakeside project. Mr. Rosado outlined some of the plans of Lake Point Investments for the Santeetlah Lakeside Development such as turn over the road and the water distribution systems to the Town. Coordinate with a future town sewer system; make upgrades to some of the roads, and the possible new construction and future sale of three to four lots over the next year. A bid has been obtained to remove the old lodge building, versus a bid for some renovations. When the bids are received a course of action will be decided and the Council informed. Mr. Rosado has plans to visit in late spring and would like to meet with the Town Council at that time. The Council agreed to appoint Roger Carlton as the Town’s liaison for Santeetlah Lakeside.
There being no further business on the agenda, the meeting adjourned at 12:00 pm.
Robert P. Crabtree, Mayor Debbie Wheeler, Town Clerk