Spindale board adopts FY 2014-15 budget

Town golf cart ordinance tabled
Jun. 17, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

The Spindale Board of Commissioners approved the FY 2014-15 budget draft Monday evening, following multiple work sessions and a public hearing last month. Commissioners Robin Ensley and Tom Roberson voted in favor of the budget motion, while Commissioner Nancy Walker cast the opposing vote. Commissioner Andrew Kirton was not present at the meeting.

Along with the budget, commissioners adopted the town's annual Schedule of Fees and 2014-20 Capital Improvement Plan during the board's regular meeting at the Spindale House.

The budget reflects the consensus of the Board of Commissioners, town manager and town staff. The 2014-15 General Fund amounts to $2,552,620.83 while the Enterprise Fund amounts to $1,303,113.91. This comprises a total budget of $3,855,734.74.

For 2014-15, Spindale will see increases in certain expenditures, most notably including electric rates, solid waste landfill fees, health insurance and wastewater collection and treatment. However, the town will not see a property tax rate increase or any large cuts in town personnel or services.

Addressing old business, commissioners continued their discussion on the town's Wastewater Treatment Plant rehabilitation project. The environmental information documents were submitted to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) earlier this month and the town's proposed rehabilitation method is currently under review in Raleigh. The town expects responsive comments from NCDENR in the coming weeks.

Last month, consulting engineer Kurt D. Wright, PE, (whose company's name is now SDG Engineering, Inc.) discussed the details of various alternative rehabilitation methods with commissioners and recommended a course of action. The selected alternative is constructing a vertical loop reactor (VLR) and replacing the existing aeration basin at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The VLR option will cost $1.4 million in addition to the $5 million price tag previously estimated for the treatment plant's rehabilitation.

Spindale commissioners were reminded of the special joint meeting of the Rutherford County Board of Commissioners and Town Councils of Forest City, Lake Lure, Rutherfordton and Spindale to discuss the Joint Sewer Study on Tuesday, June 24 at 6 p.m. at The Foundation at Isothermal Community College.

Continuing with old business, the board held a public hearing for the town's proposed golf cart ordinance. Spindale citizen Michael Lovelace expressed his concern for the safety of the passengers and operators of the golf carts, while Commissioner Ensley said she felt like part of the ordinance regulating which roads golf carts can be operated on essentially excludes many citizens.

After further discussion, the board voted 2-1 to table the proposed golf cart ordinance until next month's regular meeting, in order to obtain more information on golf cart-related accidents and traffic flow issues. Commissioner Roberson cast the dissenting vote.

Additionally, commissioners discussed a status report on the Chapter 98 Public Nuisance action against the Crain's Service Station property, and whether to abate nuisance conditions of the property.

"The nature of the nuisance can dictate what we can do," said Town Attorney John Crotts. "What it comes down to is what our goal is and what the town is willing to do to reach that goal."

The property is in violation due to structural conditions and certified mailings were sent to the estate's administrator with no response. Police Chief R.A. McIntosh attempted personal service on eight occasions with no response at the administrator's residence. The board took no action on the matter, after further discussion revealed abatement or legal action on the property would cost the town money which it does not have.

Finishing up old business, the board heard a report from Town Clerk Cathy Swafford regarding the costs for direct deposit payroll options.

"Whether I print a check or send a file to the bank for direct deposit, I'm not going to see a difference in my time spent on this," Swafford said.

Commissioners agreed to table the matter until the board's September meeting, to allow enough time for the incoming interim town manager to assist in the discussion.

In new business, commissioners approved a Wastewater Treatment Plant Capital Project Ordinance amendment and four additional budget amendments for closeout of the 2012 State Revolving Fund sewer rehabilitation project, closeout of the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund project, Spindale's local portion of the Joint Sewer Study and for retirements, new hires and termination of employment.

The board also took time Monday evening to recognize retirees Glen Harmon (assistant police chief) and Billy Conner (fire chief), as well as outgoing Town Manager Cameron McHargue for their years of dedicated service to the Town of Spindale. Mayor Mickey Bland presented each individual with a framed certificate of recognition (Harmon was not present at the meeting).

Commissioners also approved a resolution to award Harmon his badge and service sidearm on the occasion of his retirement.

Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Guillermo will take over as interim Spindale Fire Chief beginning June 18 and Rob Bole will fill in as interim Town Manager effective July 1.

Concluding the meeting, the board reappointed Bland to the Broad River Water Authority Board of Directors.

The next regular meeting of the Spindale Board of Commissioners is scheduled for Monday, July 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Spindale House.