Troutman Council considering transportation planning contract
BY DEBBIE PAGE
Troutman Town Council members will consider a proposed transportation and planning management contract during their regular meeting on Thursday night.
Town Manager Justin Longino explained during Monday's pre-agenda meeting that as “Troutman continues to grow, so does the workload for the staff and small, often one-person, departments.”
Longino said that new Town Planner George Berger “has done an exceptional job of getting up to speed while simultaneously setting new standards and provisions for the Planning and Zoning Department,” with some assistance by another staff member.
The day-to-day inundation of tasks related to planning, plats, and permits often leaves “only a small window for work on additional tasks that may be secondary to primary functions but no less important,” according to Longino.
These important transportation-related projects include the downtown sidewalk improvement project, the Richardson Greenway South extension, the Lytton Street extension project, Highway 21/115 widening, Southwest Bypass study, various Strategic Master Plan sidewalk connections and projects, Old Mountain Road widening between US 21 and Buffalo Shoals Road, phase 2 of Hwy 21 widening between Cedar Lane and Julian Place, I-77 widening between Hwy 150 to I-40, and the Lake Norman State Park Multi-Use Trail segment from Old Mountain Rd. to St. Johns Road.
The contract with Kimley Horn and Associates (KHA) would provide staffing assistance on an hourly basis “to perform on-going transportation planning and management services, allowing for greater efficiency and effectiveness on the wide variety and scale of current and proposed transportation projects underway and contemplated by the town.”
KHA work could include concept layouts, cost estimates for new and updated projects, traffic estimates and forecasting, and developing public presentations about projects. Project timeline planning, funding options, agency coordination, and project prioritization evaluation are other possible services.
Longino estimated that the staff could utilize KHA three to four hours per week for the 42 weeks remaining in the budget year at a cost of $150 per hour, not to exceed $25,000. He asked the council to add a $25,000 budget amendment to contract for this much-needed planning assistance.
Council member Paul Henkel questioned why $25,000 of the budgeted $30,000 Planning and Zoning “Special Projects” money could not cover this cost. Longino explained that this money was designated to begin Strategic Master Plan items that staff and the council wished to get underway.
Most work would be done by KHA consultants at their offices, as assigned by Berger, who would oversee progress and communicate with them frequently. Berger would create a “work plan” broken down by project to give KHA clear direction.
Berger also noted that the KHA association could also help the town find new opportunities and funds of which staff is currently unaware. Longino also mentioned the value to the town of leveraging KHA’s established contacts and relationships with transportation organizations, NCDOT, and other agencies.
Council members asked Longino to add consideration of the contract to the consent agenda on Thursday night.
Thursday's meeting agenda also includes the following items:
► Commemoration of K-9 Officer Lord’s life and service. Lord passed away two weeks ago after a cancer battle.
► Proclamation of National Recovery Month and National Suicide Prevention Week.
► Approval of the long-discussed revision of the Town of Troutman Personnel Policy and Pay Study Plan (option 2).
► Annexation request/rezoning request for nearly 19 acres in the 300 block of Old Mountain Road near South Iredell High School.
► Updates from J. Hoyt Hayes Memorial Troutman Library and Troutman Fire Department.