Town of Farmville Board of Commissioners
The Farmville Board of Commissioners met in special session on Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. in the Library’s Elizabeth Davis room with Mayor Etsil S. Mason presiding. Present for the meeting were Commissioners Jamin Dixon, John Baker, John Moore and David Shackleford; Town Manager David Hodgkins. Town Clerk Amy B. Johnson arrived after the strategic planning session. Commissioner Richard Hicks arrived at 3:40 p.m.
Mayor Mason called the meeting to order at 2:30 p.m.
Strategic Planning Session
Jim Ensor, from Pitt Community College served as the facilitator during the Board’s strategic planning session. Mr. Ensor will prepare a separate report on the strategic planning portion of the retreat.
9. Farmville Chamber of Commerce
Chamber of Commerce Director Judy Gidley informed the Board about the accomplishments of the Chamber over the past several months. She stated the primary purpose of the Chamber was to promote the businesses of Farmville and to raise awareness of the charms and assets of Farmville. She also asked that the Town consider partnering with the Chamber by becoming a “Title Sponsor” for Chamber events.
Chamber Board member Randy Walters spoke on behalf on the Chamber and asked for support from the Town Board. He asked the Town for an appropriation of $5,000 to help them out until June 2015 and requested $20,000 for the FY 2015/2016.
Mayor Mason stressed the importance of the Chamber filling out the same funding application request that all other agencies do, so no preferential treatment is perceived to be given.
Commissioner Moore expressed his support in being a title sponsor of all Chamber events. He asked to be given a list of all the Town of Farmville would be helping sponsor in the coming year.
Commissioner Hicks made a motion to approve the request of $25,000, as a special one-time request out of FY 2014/2015 budget. The motion carried unanimously.
6. Football/Soccer Field Work Plan
Recreation Director Chris Stokes explained the work plan for renovating the existing Dogwood festival concert field for use as a football/soccer field for the existing Farmville Parks and Recreation football program and to start a youth soccer program for the community. Stokes stated the estimated project cost would be $30,000. He explained that the cost included $15,000 for lights per Electric Supervisor Brian Shackelford, $20,000 for fencing with the Dogwood Festival covering $10,000 of this cost, topsoil, seeding, and grading. He added the grading cost was lower due to it being handled by Town forces.
Commissioner Hicks expressed his concern over the Town employees having the time to complete the grading project and the low cost of the lighting expense.
The Board expressed their approval to proceed with the project as long as funds are available per the Town Manager with additional funds being appropriated if needed in FY 2015/16.
7. Monk Property Land Acquisition
Recreation Director Chris Stokes updated the Board on the status of the Monk property land acquisition. He stated funds were placed in the current budget for land acquisition and an offer to purchase has been submitted to the owners for approval.
8. Disc Golf Course
Recreation Director Chris Stokes informed the Board of his research on the feasibility and costs of developing a disc golf course in Farmville. He explained he had found a potential site adjacent to Oliver Murphrey Park and was looking into the availability of acquiring it. Stokes said it would take about 6 months to construct the course and once established, ongoing the maintenance requirement would be minimal. Stokes added that it would benefit the community and some funding could come from private sponsorship of holes.
Commissioner Dixon made a motion to endorse the concept of establishing a disc golf course and to continue to explore possible land acquisition. The motion carried unanimously.
10. Main Street Program
Economic Development/Main Street Manager Deborah Higgins explained the Main Street program and its 4 key elements of organization, promotion, design and economic restructuring. Higgins stated Farmville became a Main Street community in 1995 but the program had been dormant for the past several years. She stated she is working on getting the program back to a viable status including pursuing non-profit status and forming a downtown merchant committee.
11. Economic Development
Economic Development/Main Street Manager Deborah Higgins informed the Board on her current work towards economic development in Farmville. She stated that having an updated web page was critical to marketing Farmville, as well as utilizing other marketing materials. Higgins stated she was working on developing and maintaining a database of all existing businesses outside downtown and an inventory of all available properties. She further stated that retaining existing business is crucial as well as the recruitment of a bed and breakfast/inn/small hotel.
Commissioner Moore would like the Board to consider having a fulltime economic development professional in the future.
12. Farmville Downtown Wifi Project Update
IT Director Brian Spehar provided an update on the possibility of adding Wi-Fi for Farmville Downtown. He stated that upfront costs would be considerable and that it may make sense to put this on the back burner since there were other more crucial IT projects at this time.
13. Employee Position Allocation/Reorganization
This agenda item was informational and not discussed.
14. Financial Statement
Town Manager Hodgkins presented a copy of the current financial statements for the Board’s review. He stated that the Sewer Fund was still weak but that the other funds were in satisfactory condition.
The Board expressed interest in exploring cost savings in the contract for managing the wastewater treatment plant.
15. Analysis of Fund Balance
Town Manager Hodgkins provided the Board with a Fund Balance projection based on mid-year calculations and estimates on end of year expenses provided by Departments.
16. Maturities of Long-term Debt
Town Manager Hodgkins provided a copy of the debt schedules to keep the Board abreast of debt payments in future years.
17. Customer Service Rates
Town Manager Hodgkins provided the Board with a copy of the current rate schedule.
Commissioner Hicks asked Town Manager Hodgkins about the salary study status and whether he had the time to devote to it and questioned if it would be viewed as bias. Hodgkins stated that staff had done some work on the project as time permitted but that the Board should probably look at an update of the existing comprehensive pay and classification plan. He stated that he would continue looking at proposed adjustments for classes of employees with recommendations coming in the FY 2015/16 budget.
On motion by Commissioner Moore, the Board adjourned into closed session at 7:50 p.m. pursuant to G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6) to discuss matters relating to personnel. The motion carried unanimously.
On motion by Commissioner Moore, the Board returned into regular session at 8:28 p.m. The motion carried unanimously.
Mayor Mason asked if anyone else would like to say anything before adjourning.
Commissioner Baker informed the Board the Fire Station would be celebrating its 100th anniversary on Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. He said there would be a display of all fire trucks in the area, and all government and fire officials in North Carolina have been invited. He stated he hoped it will be a big and exciting event.
Town Manager Hodgkins stated that he and Chief Greene were looking into the possibility of beginning a multi-year vehicle replacement program for Police vehicles and that a detailed proposal would be in the FY 2015/2016 budget request.
Mayor Mason stated the Town Manager’s evaluation would have to be postponed until the April 7, 2015 Board meeting.
On motion by Commissioner Baker, the meeting was adjourned at 8:31 p.m. The motion carried unanimously.