Troutman Council discusses proposed ABC profit distribution changes, funding for additional SRO
BY DEBBIE PAGE
During its pre-agenda meeting on Monday afternoon, the Troutman Town Council discussed several items under consideration to improve the community’s amenities and add to children’s safety.
ABC PROFITS DISTRIBUTION
At its Thursday night meeting, council members will vote on proposed distribution changes for ABC profits. Last month, Sally Williams proposed reallocating the 12.5 percent distribution once destined for H.E.L.P. Ministries to fund completion of planned ESC Park amenities.
The council was forced to revoke H.E.L.P. Ministries as a recipient in April of 2016 because of state constitution restrictions and statutes that prohibit state money being distributed to religiously affiliated organizations.
Instead of reallocating this money, the council added it to its cut of the ABC proceeds, raising its share from 50 percent to 62.5 percent. Citing the need to proceed on plans to complete ESC Park to better serve community members’ needs, Williams asked the council to consider the change to add funds to the ESC Park Capital Reserve Fund.
The Parks and Recreation Department also receives 12.5 percent of ABC distribution to add to operating expenses for smaller improvement projects, programs, and events.
After Town Manager Justin Longino reviewed the council history regarding ABC profit distribution, council member Paul Bryant instead proposed earmarking the 12.5 percent for partnering with the county for fairgrounds improvements instead.
Williams and Parks and Recreation Coordinator Emily Watson then spoke of frequently hearing community members and youth sports organizations stress the urgent need for ball fields at the park.
Though current park plans call for an amphitheater, Watson said that amenity could be eliminated if the county later decides to build one at the fairgrounds.
After discussion, council members agreed that the funds would be best allocated to the ESC Park Capital Reserve Fund at this time until county commissioners have a formal plan for revamping the fairgrounds and the legalities of a town/county partnership on fairgrounds projects are finalized.
Other ABC profit recipients are the J. Hoyt Hayes Memorial Troutman Library Friends of the Library and the four Iredell-Statesville schools in town (Troutman Elementary and Middle Schools, South Iredell High School, and the Career Academy and Technical School).
SRO AT IREDELL CHARTER ACADEMY
Also up for consideration on Thursday night is a budget amendment to partially fund the addition of a School Resource Officer at Iredell Charter Academy. The school approached the town to provide this service after securing funding for 10 months of the officer’s salary and benefits ($46,678).
The town would provide funding for the other two months of the year ($9,336), equipment and uniforms (one time cost of $900), annual vehicle fuel ($1,600), and wireless phone ($100 per month). SRO training (if needed) is provided free through the N.C. Justice Academy.
The two aging, high-mileage Crown Victorias, which the town had planned to sell after purchasing two new vehicles this year, will now be used, at least for the time being, for the new South Iredell High School SRO and for this SRO position since these officers drive fewer miles. Longino is also exploring vehicle leasing options for these positions to evaluate what is most cost-efficient.
Council members also agreed to send another letter of support to the N.C. Housing Finance Agency to provide federal tax credits for the 80-unit Retreat at Troutman apartment project. With only 21 apartment units presently available in Troutman, this proposed multi-family development will help the town offer more housing options for new and current residents.
The council also asked Longino to look into purchasing hand-held microphones compatible with its sound system after months of complaints from residents about their inability to hear officials’ and residents’ comments during meetings and public hearings.
Council members and Mayor Teross Young also congratulated County Commissioner Jeff McNeely on his appointment to the N.C. House to represent this area after the resignation of Rep. Rena Turner.
Young also complemented the parade committee, town staff, and volunteers for the excellent Independence Day Parade on June 29 and praised the Rotary Club of Troutman for its highly attended and enjoyed Independence Festival and fireworks at the fairgrounds that evening.
COMING UP THURSDAY NIGHT
At its regular meeting on Thursday night at 7 p.m., council members will consider several other items and hear standing reports from various departments.
Council members will vote on:
► A resolution to accept N.C. Department of Environmental Quality funding for the Mill Village sewer system project. Construction is expected to take one year to complete once underway.
► A rezoning request by Lee Geiger for his property at 533 Autumn Leaf Road.
► A loan proposal from First National Bank to fund the street improvement project (contingent on Local Government Commission Approval).
Council members will also hear:
► Cheryl Brown of the MAPS Group present her findings for the town’s Personnel Policy Update and the Pay and Classification Policy. The council will study her report before consideration of any changes before possible adoption in August.
► Interim Police Chief Darrin Payne recognize Detective Corey Richard, Sgt.Jamie Benge, and Patrol Officer Daniel Bova for education and training achievements.
► ABC Board Chair Layton Getsinger present the ABC Store Quarterly Report.
► Program Director Shellie Kennedy present the J. Hoyt Hayes Memorial Troutman Library monthly report.
► Watson give the monthly Parks and Recreation Department report.