By Joy Warren
During the Monday evening meeting of the Elizabethtown Town Council, the Cadets of the Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy were recognized. Mayor Sylvia Campbell presented a resolution inrecognition of the Pershing Rifle team winning the National Pershing Rifle Competion Title for the second year in a row. The cadets are the first high school Pershing Rifle Team to win this event. They competed against university teams from across the country. Mayor Campbell praised their hard work, stating “we are so proud of you and amazed at what you have accomplished.” Commander Lloyd thanked the Town for their continued support.
A public hearing was held to present the Fiscal Year 2018-19 Proposed Budget. No public comments were made. A motion was made and seconded to approve the Budget as presented. Councilman Dicky Glenn spoke in opposition of 40-year loans and moving three grant-funded Fire Department positions to full-time Town employees. He stated he is concerned that neither the loans nor the positions are fiscally conservative or feasible.
At the May meeting, Glenn reinterated the need for a strategy to address loan debt reduction. A resolution was passed Monday that specifically sets forth a responsible, step-by-step process of reducing and eliminating debt over time. The staff intends to earmark funds from the fund balance to pay toward short-term and long-term debts. If the fund balance exceeds 50 percent at year end, the Finance Director will pay down loans with the smallest balances and particularly ones with the highest interest rates with the intention of paying off all loans over time sooner than full term.
The budget was approved as presented with Glenn casting the only negative vote. The total budget is $6,343,233 (General Fund $4,766,233 and Utility Fund $1,577,000).
A second public hearing was conducted regarding the Local Government Commission interim financing application for the Phase II Downtown Revitalization Project. The Town is required to conduct a public hearing prior to borrowing money for capital projects. The Town plans to utilize short-term construction financing through a local bank and long-term financing with USDA for the project. No public comments were made and the Council approved short-term financing through United Community Bank, Inc. The estimated loan amount from USDA is $1.6 million (3.25% on a 40-year term) for the streetscape project.
Council also approved a resolution to make a good faith effort to hire minority businesses for capital projects. Bid advertisement for the project began May 31 with project bid opening scheduled for June 28.
In March, an application was submitted to the Recreational Trails Program for funding consideration for a walking/hiking trail in the Tory Hole Park. The Town was notified of being included in Round Two consideration for its application. The RTP is a reimbursement and matching grant program with a 25 percent required match. The total project cost is $92,650 and Council approved the grant application.
In administrative matters, Council approved grant agreements with NCDOT for Ben Greene Industrial Drive Extension and Aviation Parkway Extension; approved contract with W.K. Dickson for Phase II streetscape project; and appointed Charles DeVane to ABC Board, Chad DeVane to Airport Commission and Jessica Graham to Housing Authority.
Town Manager Eddie Madden announced that there will be Military Training for the Marines which will take place from July 30 through Aug. 2 on the Airport property.
The July Town Council meeting has been rescheduled to Monday, July 9.