Town of Maggie Valley
Board of Aldermen Budget Workshop
May 31, 2005
Members Present: Aldermen: Linda Taylor, Mark DeMeola
Phil Aldridge, Roger McElroy
Members Absent: Mayor Jo Pinter
Staff Present: Manager Bob Shepherd, Ron Mercier, Mike Mehaffey, Scott Sutton, Shayne Wheeler, Kevin Byrd, and Vickie Best
Others Present: ten people
Meeting Called to Order
Mayor Pro-Tem McElroy called the meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. in the Town Hall Boardroom.
Life Coverage Available to Aldermen, Ricky Tharrington, Municipal Benefits
Council has the opportunity to purchase life insurance at no cost to the Town.
No health questions are asked. Member may double the amount of coverage at the next term even if the member has been diagnosed with an illness. The spouse can be covered if self-employed. The only requirement: be an elected official and receive pay, regardless of the amount. The premium is billed monthly. Privacy laws are maintained.
Jim Hickman, DENR Consultant- Overview of Management Practices of Towns in State and Grant Program for Recycling
Mr. Hickman provided Council with the following data as well as an overview of recycling and solid waste management in North Carolina.
Summary of Bids Received and Discussion with Low Bidder G.D.S. Inc.
Public Works Director, Mike Mehaffey informed Council that education is the most important aspect in recycling. GDS, Inc. submitted the lowest bid in ever category. Haywood County uses the “blue bag” system. GDS, Inc. would reduce their cost $0.15 for blue bag program or if Maggie Valley provides containers. Grant funding begins in January.
Mr. Don Printz, a resident of Maggie Valley spoke from the floor stating that the surrounding municipalities have a cheaper rate than what is being proposed.
GDS, Inc. lowered their cost $0.28 from last year’s rate.
Commercial businesses pay from $200 to $1,000 a month for solid waste collection. Most businesses throughout Town have long-term contracts with providers. GDS, Inc. currently has 77 business customers in Maggie Valley.
Staff has discussed how to determine if a dwelling is habitable. If the electric meter is removed from the house, the owner will not be charged for solid waste collection.
In the City of Brevard, GDS, Inc. delivered the bins to each customer with an information packet included. An article is published quarterly in the local newspaper updating residents on recycling. Many towns and counties participate in “Earth Day” events. There are some grass-root recycling efforts in Buncombe County through education in the school system.
The proposed fee is $7.60 per month for once a week pick-up service.
Again, Mr. Don Printz spoke from the floor opposing garbage collection from any enterprise.
Maggie Valley’s solid waste collection fee is revenue neutral.
Board Discussion/ Public Input
Mr. Printz stated that he represents 36 homes of which nine homes are full-time residents. “The people don’t want garbage collection. We already pay $38 a year to the county and now you are talking about recycling. We don’t need another recycling program.” Mr. Printz added that surrounding towns are cheaper and pick up yard waste and white goods.
Complaints have been received from the seasonal residents. Residents are paying for “readiness to serve”, the same as for sewer or electric service.
Council discussed avenues the Town could take to remedy trash containers remaining on the streets after collection is complete.
Council recessed from 2:55 p.m. until 3:10 p.m.
Alderman Aldridge questioned if the Town could absorb the cost of the recycling option.
Other Budget Issues
Salary Comparison- Adjusting 1999 MAPS Study by Applying US Cost of Living Conversion Factor- Shayne Wheeler
Ms. Wheeler addressed Council explaining the COLA’s given since the MAPS study was completed in 1999.
The Town of Waynesville provides for retiree insurance until the age of 65. Waynesville is experiencing a large amount of claims thereby forcing the employees to pay a small amount toward their health benefits.
Council discussed altering the Town’s insurance policy for new employees.
Providing insurance helps the town to recruit qualified employees. The town could possibly offer insurance for retirees at the same rate as the other employees although, at this time, the retiree would pay the premiums. It is difficult to purchase insurance when older in age or have experienced an illness.
Council concurred that a tenure policy should be considered. Staff will research Federal Guidelines to see if current employees can remain under the policy hired, while a new policy will be developed for new hires.
Chief Sutton informed Council that it is more cost effective to hire an experienced/ trained officer due to the cost of training. New Police officers are required to ride with another sworn officer for twelve weeks as part of the training process.
The State mandates a 5% municipal match for all police officers. The problems the police department is now experiencing, is due to the MAPS Study guidelines not being maintained.
As for merit raises, evaluation have been completed and reviewed by both the employee and the department head. The evaluations will be used as the basis for considering merit pay.
Council agreed to institute a grandfather clause for the current employees. Staff will come back with proposals for new hires.
Council directed staff to shop for lower insurance rates.
Response to Taxpayer Association Questions (Response provided to Association on May 26, 2005)
See attachment #1
Fees are part of the revenue side of the budget. Council and Staff looked at areas that need to be self-supporting, particularly building inspections. Most of the fees have not been changed in several years. The sewer fees have not changed since 2001.
Council discussed flood plain verification, on-site code enforcement, and a site plan showing setbacks.
Alderman Taylor emphasized the need for developers to feel the Town is working with them, not against them.
The Planning Board is currently reviewing the Subdivision Ordinance.
In the past, there have been problems with developers developing substandard subdivision. Therefore, the Subdivision Ordinance needs amending in certain areas. If roads are substandard, the town ends up struggling with the residents about road maintenance after the developer is gone from the area.
Council questioned if flood plain certification are already completed at closing by the attorney’s office.
Council agreed that people enjoying the resources and infrastructures of the Town should pay a higher rate, than residents within the corporate limits that are paying taxes.
The rate for sewer users without Sanitary District water will increase substantially. This will affect Brannon Forest Subdivision, Horseshoe Cove area, and a few other parcels outside the corporate limits.
There are approximately 670 in-town sewer users and an estimated 570 out- of- town users. Not all of the out- of- town users have sewer without Sanitary District water.
The State figures are 120 gallons per bedroom for residential use.
As a rule of thumb, sewer is expanded into areas under consideration for annexation.
Since the Waste Water Treatment Plant is located near I-40 (outside the corporate limits), Jonathan Valley has seen considerable growth because of sewer access.
Mr. Mehaffey discussed a means of getting people to connect to municipal sewer within a few hundred feet of the line rather than install septic systems. The number one ground water pollutant comes from septic systems.
Staff will go before the County Commissioners for assistance in getting people to connect to municipal sewer when available.
Next Budget Workshop Date
ON MOTION BY ALDERMAN TAYLOR, SECONDED BY ALDERMAN DEMEOLA, THE BUDGET WORKSHOP WAS CONTINUED UNTIL JUNE 6 AT 1:30 P.M.
Mayor Jo Pinter
Vickie Best, CMC, Town Clerk