By David Rogers. February 10, 2020. BLOWING ROCK, NC — It may not be the most important business item on Tuesday’s agenda of the Blowing Rock Town Council, but it will be the grandest nonetheless.
Under the “Special Recognitions” section, the Mayor and Board of Commissioners are scheduled to adopt a resolution commending the Blowing Rock School boys and girls basketball teams for BOTH winning their respective divisions of the Watauga County Middle School Basketball Championships earlier this month. Blowing Rock News covered both of those championship games and you can find the stories at the links below:
It is believed that this is the first time that the boys and girls teams from Blowing Rock have won in the same year. The proposed resolution is found on Page 59 of the Board Packet.
CLICK HERE to download the entire Board Packet for Tuesday’s meeting of Town Council
Proposed Changes to Town Code in “Consent Agenda”
One of the first things the Board of Commissioners is asked to do at the beginning of each Town Council meeting is to pass the “Consent Agenda.” These normally include agenda items whose passage is not controversial and a mere formality. Though unlikely to be controversial in any way and, in fact, constructive, readers will want to take note of extensive changes to the Town Code proposed by the Police Department. The affected sections include:
- Chapter 6, Article IV, Section 6-23 Parking Prohibited in Certain Locations
- Chapter 6, Article IV, Section 6-24 Parking Prohibited on Certain Streets at Certain Times
- Chapter 6, Article IV, Section 25 Parking Prohibited for Certain Purposes
- Chapter 6, Article VI, Section 6-35 Penalties and Remedies
- Chapter 6, Appendix A – Street List for Traffic and Parking Regulation
The memorandum from Police Chief Aaron Miller detailing the requested revisions to Chapter 6, Motor Vehicles and Traffic, is found beginning on pages 14-41 of Tuesday’s board packet. Many of the changes to the Town Code are to simply update the document to reflect modifications previously approved by the Board of Commissioners, such as putting a stop sign on Green Hill Rd. at Green Hill Circle or instituting a three-hour parking limit on Park Ave.
CLICK HERE to download the entire packet for Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.
Also on the Consent Agenda is proposed approval of the 2020 Oasis Shriners Spring Ceremonial Parade on June 6, 2020, with a requested 2:00 pm start time, scheduled to finish by 3:00 pm. Find the Shriners event application on pages 44-58 of the Board Packet.
There are also miscellaneous budget adjustments on the Consent Agenda.
Also scheduled before the Board of Commissioners gets down to business matters are two presentations. One will be by John Aldridge, representing the Village Foundation, and a proposed “Park Connector.”
The other will be from Parks & Recreation Director Jennifer Brown and Landscape Director Chris Pate about the “U.S. 321 Entrances to Main Street”). A copy of the memo from Brown to Town Council is included in the Board Packet (Page 60), although the various renderings of the proposed entrances to Town at North Main, South Main, and Sunset Dr. are not included in the packet. Presumably, they will be part of the presentation for public viewing.
- Volunteer Board Appointments — First on the agenda under Business Matters are the various volunteer board appointments. This may evolve as a lengthy discussion and decision item as in almost every case (Planning Board, Board of Adjustments, BRAAC, ABC, and Tourism Development Board) there are more applicants than positions to be filled. Incumbents seeking re-appointment are not guaranteed re-installment, though in some cases may have a deserved advantage for consideration due to previous performance.
- Planning Board — 6 applicants for 3 vacancies
- Board of Adjustments — 7 applicants for 2 full-time and 2 alternate vacancies
- ABC Board — 1 applicant for 1 vacancy
- TDA Board — 8 applicants for 1 vacancy
- BRAAC — 2 applicants for 1 vacancy
- Sunny Side Day Care Center CUP — Amber Fairbetter, owner/operator, is requesting an amendment to the existing CUP to allow for expansion of day care center occupancy from a maximum of 30 allowed children to 40 allowed children served. The original CUP was approved in 2016. See Pages 62-69 for relevant documents contained in the Board Packet.
- Bass Lake Sidewalk Contract Award — McGill and Associates’ Doug Chapman will report on the bidding process for construction of the long-planned sidewalk from Main Street to Bass Lake. McGill & Associates conducted a public bid opening for the project on January 30th. A total of four bids were received and Country Boy Landscaping of Harmony, NC “…submitted the lowest responsive, responsible bid with a total base bid amount of $976,959. McGill Associates is recommending awarding this project to Country Boy Landscaping. See Pages 70-72 of the Board Packet.
- Parade Discussion/Decisions — The Town Council members spent considerable time during the January Retreat discussing the parade times and other logistics of the two downtown parades on the 4th of July and the Christmas Parade. As the parades have continued to grow (estimated at more than 30,000 in 2019 for the 4th of July event and more than 20,000 for the post-Thanksgiving Christmas parade), the demands on infrastructure (traffic, parking, congestion) and disruption to normal business activities have increased. In response to a Blowing Rock TDA survey of Blowing Rock businesses, the request will be to move the parade times from their current 2:00 pm start times to 10:00 am. Other proposed changes will include disallowing parking on Main Street until after the parades have finished and the erection of barricades to keep parade watchers from swarming ever closer to the parade participants. In both cases, parking would be opened back up and the barricades removed before noon each of those days. See Pages 73-77 of the Board Packet, including survey responses to the TDA.
- Monthly Financial Report — Nicole Norman, Finance Director, will present the monthly Financial Overview. Highlights include:
- We are 58% into the fiscal year 2019-20 and property tax collections for 2019 total $4,237,087, or 97% of budget
- For the five months of Sales Taxes collected so far (five months), the Town has collected $872,717, or 48% of budget
- Utility billings are at 54% and 53% of budget for water and sewer, respectively
- Overall expenditures for the General Fund are at 51% of budget
- Overall expenditures for the Water/Sewer Fund are at 57% of budget
- See Pages 78-79 of the Board Packet for more detail
After various council members and the Town Manager offer concluding comments or observations, the Board is expected to go into closed session to discuss a potential property acquisition.