By MICAH HENRY
The Taylorsville Town Board of Commissioners met on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, for the first time using the online audiovisual meeting platform, Zoom, to avoid a physical meeting due to the COVID-19 coronavirus threat. Mayor George Holleman called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m.
Town Manager David Odom reminded the Board that the Town (and indeed all of Alexander County) was left bereft of a laundromat when Mega Coin Laundry closed about 12 weeks ago. Odom said he felt this was a necessity to have for the community. He proposed an emergency incentive under NC General Statute 160A-456 to make a $7,000 contract, payable from the General Fund monies in four quarterly installments of $1,750 each, to a responsible business (or 2 such businesses) which could open a coin operated laundry having a minimum of 25 clothes washers and 25 dryers.
The contract would be valid for a coin operated laundry located within Census Tract 404 in Taylorsville, he said. Tract 404 includes the Town and some surrounding area, bordered on the west by Herman Road, Zeb Watts Road and Piney Grove Road, on the north by Old Wilkesboro Road, Jay Burke, and Carsons Chapel roads, on the east by White Plains Road and part of Millersville Road and Taylorsville Manufacturing Road, and on the south by Paul Payne Store Road, Macedonia Church Road, and Carrigan Road, roughly.
The former Mega Coin facility had 100 washers and dryers. Odom added that such an endeavor would be a significant outlay in real property and machines for whomever opens such a business.
The Council unanimously voted to put the incentive in place. The contract funds would be paid 12 months from the opening of a new laundry with a customary operational service of six days per week, minimum.
In other business, the Board was advised by the Town Manager that it was in good revenue situation as of March 31. General Fund Revenues were $1,779,865 and General Fund Expenditures totaled $1,602,806 which leaves $150,047 of current positive position, said Odom. Ongoing grant based projects include the Waste Water Treatment Plant Headworks Project, the Linney’s Mountain Waterline Project, and Solar Project Wiring; these are stand alone items and not reflected in the above funds.
Odom noted that priority services will be maintained above all other activities. These include Police protection, fire protection, contract funding, drinking water distribution, waste water collection and treatment, land application of solid residuals, garbage/refuse/brush/limb services, and maintaining government grounds and the City Cemetery. He noted this because it is uncertain what Town sales tax revenues will be like in the next 60 to 90 days with many businesses closed or in reduced operation, due to the Governor’s Stay At Home Executive Order to combat coronavirus.
Mayor Holleman noted that the NC League of Municipalities is going to ask the NC General Assembly, when NCGA reconvenes April 29, to provide a fund for lost tax revenues to the towns of the state, and interest free loans to maintain cash flow, and grants for sewer and water enterprise funds.
The Board unanimously passed a budget transfer of $5,600 from the Insurance for Parks & Recreation, Maintain & Repair Equipment, Dept. Supplies, and Insurance in Street Dept. funds to the Tipping Fees fund, due to increased waste tonnage at the transfer station. Another $1,200 budget transfer was approved from the Election Fund and Administrative Miscellaneous fund to Administrative Dept. Supplies and Police Dept. Supplies funds for COVID-19 supplies.
A Budget Amendment of $88,000 from the Water & Sewer Fund ($28,000), Water & Sewer Fund Balance ($50,000) and Hiddenite Sewer debt ($10,000) to the System Maintenance fund was approved Tuesday afternoon as well. This is for additional repairs of sewer pumps in the Town system, including the Northwood, Macedonia, Prison station, and Paul Payne station, among others.
A Budget Transfer of $22,700 was approved within the Water & Sewer Fund line items also to maintain and repair equipment.
Odom noted that the Governor had directed utilities to suspend cut-offs of customers for non-payment for a 60 day period due to COVID-19.
The current operation for the Town of Taylorsville includes the closure of all park shelters, restrooms, and playground equipment at Matheson Park (walking track is open). The Town Park ballfield is closed, as is the Old Hospital property (unless needed for food sales or emergency services use). No trash or recyclable items outside of Republic Services containers will be picked up. White goods and other landfill items are not being picked up by the Town. Brush and limbs will be picked up by the Town on Mondays only.
Town Hall is closed to the public. Water and sewer bills are being mailed out and are due on the 15th of the month. Town staff will not disconnect utilities for nonpayment at this time. Delinquent notices will continue to be mailed out. Payments may be made online at taylorsvillenc.com or through the drop box on the east end of the Town Hall parking lot near BB&T (no cash).
No department updates were given by Public Works or the Police Dept. However, Odom noted that as Police Chief Dennis James is retiring soon, many duties have been taken over by Acting Chief Douglas Bowman.
Odom noted that Town Commissioners Jack Simms and Ronnie Robinette have been assisting with Town mowing and trimming operations since the prisoner work program has been suspended due to coronavirus.
Mayor Holleman commended Commissioner Kim Brown for her work on the Catawba County ABC Board in helping save funds during a recent equipment purchase. That board oversees the Taylorsville ABC store.
It was agreed that the Board would postpone the April 14 budget work session meeting to a later date. The next Town Board meeting will be held Tuesday, May 5, at 3:00 p.m. to likely be hosted on Zoom as well.