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Recap of New Bern Board of Aldermen Meeting — May 24, 2022

New Bern Board of Aldermen Meeting - March 22 2022
New Bern Board of Aldermen Meeting – March 22 2022 (photo by Wendy Card)

The May 24, 2022 Board of Aldermen meeting was held in the Courtroom at City Hall located at 300 Pollock St. You can also watch live on the City of New Bern’s Facebook page or watch later on City 3 TV.

  1. Meeting opened by Mayor Dana E. Outlaw. Prayer Coordinated by Alderman Aster. Pledge of Allegiance.
  2. Roll Call. Mayor Outlaw, Aldermen Robert Aster, Sabrina Bengel, Barbara Best, Jameesha Harris, Johnnie Ray Kinsey, and Jeffrey Odham. Also Present: Foster Hughes, City Manager; Marvin Williams, Asst. City Manager; Jaimee Bullock-Mosley, Asst. City Attorney; and Brenda Blanco, City Clerk.

Consent Agenda

  1. Consider Adopting a Resolution Calling for a Public Hearing to Rezone 3601 Neuse Boulevard.

Boa Nguyen has requested to rezone a 0.76-acre parcel located at 3601 Neuse Boulevard from C-4 neighborhood business district and R-6 residential district to C-3 commercial district. The Planning and Zoning Board unanimously approved this request at their May 3, 2022 meeting. It is requested a public hearing be scheduled for June 14, 2022 to receive comments and consider this request.

  1. Consider Adopting a Resolution Calling for a Public Hearing to Initially Zone 3412 Old Airport Road.

The Board adopted an ordinance on April 27, 2021 to annex 3412 Old Airport Road. The initial zoning for the property needs to be established. Staff and the property owner are requesting the property be zoned R- 8 residential, which is consistent with the character of adjacent land uses and zoning classifications. It is requested a public hearing be scheduled for June 14, 2022 to receive comments and consider this request.

  1. Consider Adopting a Resolution Calling for a Public Hearing to Initially Zone 3436 Old Airport Road.

The Board adopted an ordinance on February 22, 2022 to annex 3436 Old Airport Road. The initial zoning for the property needs to be established. Staff and the property owner are requesting the property be zoned R-8 residential, which is consistent with the character of adjacent land uses and zoning classifications. It is requested a public hearing be scheduled for June 14, 2022 to receive comments and consider this request.

  1. Consider Adopting a Resolution to Close Specific Streets for Colie Creation’s My Pants Baby Fashion Show.

Colie Creations, Inc. has requested to close the 300 block of South Front Street on July 30, 2022 from 7:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. for a “My Pants Baby Fashion Show,” an event to raise money for and bring visibility to the organization and the bookstore Next Chapter Books. A rain date of July 31, 2022 is sought.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Consent Agenda

  1. Approve Minutes. Closed session minutes from February 8, 2022, February 22, 2022, March 12, 2022, and April 12, 2022, and regular minutes from the May 10, 2022 meeting will be provided for review and approval.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Approve Minutes

  1. Presentation by the American Flood Coalition.

Tony McEwen, the Carolinas Director for the American Flood Coalition, presented information on the Coalition. New Bern has been an activate participant in the Eastern NC Recovery and Resilience Alliance, which was formed after Hurricane Florence. The alliance has partnered with the coalition, which is a nonpartisan group of political, military, business, and local leaders seeking to advance solutions that support flood-affected communities.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to add item to the Consent Agenda for June 14, 2022 meeting

  1. Presentation by Redevelopment Commission.

Tabari Wallace, Kip Peregoy, and Julian Tripp from the Redevelopment Commission made a presentation on the needs of the Health and Wellness Committee and the proposed use of the McCotter House. They asked for an additional $100,000 to construct a new building for health education, health promotion, and screenings that is conducive to health and wellness of that community. The BOA previously allocated $250,000 in ARP funds for this project.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to add item as a Budget Ordinance Amendment to the Consent Agenda for June 14, 2022 meeting

  1. Conduct a Public Hearing on the Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2022-2023.

The City Manager noted that the public hearing was advertised as required by statute. He clarified on page 36 of the budget, the salary increase of 7% for the Board. He said, “Traditionally, the board will make a recommendation on salary increases.” Kinsey made a motion for the salary increase and Harris seconded it. Outlaw asked if there was a discussion and Bengel said, “…I think we are pretty good where we are at.” Best asked when was the last time the board received an increase in salary. The City Manager, nor the staff, did not know when the last time was the board received an increase in salary. Kinsey said, “there has not been” referring to a raise for the board in 20 years. Best said, “I think it’s due time.” Outlaw asked for a roll call vote and Harris asked, “Are we not allowed to discuss?” That ended the discussion.

Decision: Voted 4 – 3 not to approve a Raise for the BOA (Harris, Kinsey, and Best voted to approve)

Meeting was opened up to a public hearing. No comments. Public hearing was closed.

Although the City Manager noted that the public hearing was “Advertised as required by statute,” Bengel asked for the proposed increase in monthly parking rates be set aside because “The public and the people who rent have not been advised of the increase.” Later in the discussion she emphasized, “I was afraid that if we adopted the Budget now, and then people are up in arms, they don’t even know that it’s coming.” A motion to remove the increase in parking fees was made.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to remove parking rate increase from budget amendment

Noteworthy mention: If Bengel believed the public was not aware of the public hearing, why didn’t the board make a motion to conduct another public hearing on the proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-2023?

  1. Conduct a Public Hearing and Consider Adopting an Ordinance to Annex a Portion of Tax Parcel ID 8-209-25001.

As an authorized representative for Weyerhaeuser NR Company, Cliff Parson requested a 9.25-acre portion of 5001 Clock Road, also identified as Tax Parcel ID 8-209-25001, be annexed by the City. The property is the proposed future site for Thales Academy. After conducting a public hearing, the Board is asked to consider the adoption of an ordinance to annex the property.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Resolution

  1. Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving a Lease Agreement with the New Bern/ Craven County Area Farmers’ Market, Inc.

The current lease with the Farmers’ Market will expire on June 30, 2022. A new five-year lease is proposed effective July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2027 at a rate of $500 per month. The Farmers’ Market is responsible for repair and maintenance of the structure and is required to provide hazard, wind and hail, and public liability insurance.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Resolution

  1. Consider Adopting a Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Execute an Amended Agreement with Metro Fibernet, LLC.

In April 2021, the City entered into an agreement with Metro Fibernet (“MetroNet”) to provide voice, video, and internet fiber services to residents and businesses in the New Bern market. Eddie Massengale, Director of Business Development with MetroNet, addressed the need to amend the agreement. The initial agreement was for MetroNet to provide gigabyte, telephone, and linear video channels. Massengale asked to drop the linear video because, “The fact is less than 1% of our customers are taking linear video.” Later in the discussion he admitted, “We don’t want to provide linear video because the cost of it.”

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Resolution

Noteworthy mention: We are working on a detailed article about MetroNet in New Bern. Please let us know if you have had any concerns with the company laying fiber cable in your neighborhood by sending us an email.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Resolution

  1. Consider Adopting a Resolution Extending the Agreement with Waste Industries, LLC d/b/a GFL Environmental, LLC for Commercial Services.

The existing 5-year agreement with Waste Industries for commercial pickup and dumpster service will expire on June 30, 2022. Considering the current market for these services, scarcity of qualified and capable providers, plus uncertain economic factors, staff is proposing the current agreement be extended for a term not to exceed five years. For the most part, the terms of the original contract remain in place. However, the cost of dumpster service will increase by 4.8%.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Resolution

  1. Consider Adopting a Resolution Extending the Agreement with Waste Industries, LLC d/b/a GFL Environmental, LLC for Residential Services.

Like the previous item, the existing 5-year agreement with Waste Industries for residential refuse service will expire on June 30, 2022. Again, instead of issuing a Request for Proposal, staff is recommending the contract be extended for another five years. Under the extension, the cost of residential trash service will increase by 3%.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Resolution

  1. Consider Adopting a Resolution Initiating the Upset Bid Process for 604 B Street (PID 8-005-015).

Charles Diggs and Cecilia DiCarlo made an offer to purchase 604 B Street for $2,000. The 0.19-acre vacant parcel was acquired by the City in 2002 and has a tax value of $3,900. The bidders have spoken with staff in Development Services about their plans for the property and have expressed a desire to pursue the process. While the property is owned solely by the City, proceeds will be split equally with the County to satisfy a provision in the conveyance for outstanding, unpaid property taxes due to Craven County. If the property is sold for the initial bid, the projected proceeds to the City and County are $900 each. The City will also receive reimbursement of the advertising cost.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Resolution

  1. Consider Adopting a Resolution to Initiate the Upset Bid Process for 210 Duffy Street.

Norn Chan has submitted an offer to purchase 210 Duffy Street for $4,500. The 0.17-acre vacant parcel has a tax value of $9,000 and was acquired by the City and County in 2016 through tax foreclosure. Taxes, interest, penalties, fees and costs due to the County at that time were $1,723.90 and $190.31 to the City. If the property is sold for the initial bid, it is estimated the County will receive $3,236.14 and the City will receive $1,263.86 from the proceeds. The bidder owns the adjacent property at 208 Duffy Street and desires to expand his greenspace.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Resolution

  1. Consider Adopting a Resolution to Initiate the Upset Bid Process for 2200 Grace Avenue.

Kenny Muse made an offer to purchase 2200 Grace Avenue for $10,600. The 0.22-acre vacant parcel has a tax value of $20,000 and was donated to the City in 1992. The bidder has spoken with staff in Development Services about his plans for the property and has expressed a desire to pursue the process.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Resolution

  1. Consider Adopting a Resolution to Initiate the Upset Bid Process for 2101 Woodland Avenue (PID 8-026-053).

Kenny Muse submitted an offer to purchase 2101 Woodland Avenue for $10,500. The vacant 0.25-acre parcel has a tax value of $20,000 and was acquired from the NC State Highway Commission (now NCDOT) in 1960. The triangular-shaped parcel was created by the relocation of Highway 17. The bidder has spoken with staff in Development Services about his plans for the property and has expressed a desire to pursue the process.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Resolution

  1. Consider Adopting a Resolution to Initiate the Upset Bid Process for 1703 Wilmington Street.

Ashley Boyd submitted an offer to purchase 1703 Wilmington Street for $3,000. The vacant 0.09-acre parcel has a tax value of $6,000 and was acquired by the City in 2008. The bidder owns the adjacent property at 1705 Wilmington Street and is seeking to expand her greenspace.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Resolution

  1. Consider Adopting a Resolution to Initiate the Upset Bid Process for 2302 McKinley Avenue.

Davis McKinley Properties, LLC submitted an offer to purchase 2302 McKinley Avenue for $3,040. The vacant 0.23-acre parcel has a tax value of $6,080 and was acquired by the City and County in 2013 through tax foreclosure. The taxes, interest, penalties, fees and costs due at that time were $2,619.18 to Craven County and $517.02 to the City. If the property is sold for the initial bid, it is estimated the County will receive $1,954.37 and the City will receive $1,085.63 from the proceeds. The bidder has no immediate plans for the property.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Resolution

  1. Consider Adopting a Resolution Accepting American Rescue Plan Earmark Funds from NC Department of Environmental Quality.

As previously announced, the City was appropriated $75,000 in American Rescue Plan Funding from the NC Department of Environmental Quality. The funding will be used for study and analysis of frequently flooded areas in New Bern. To formally accept the grant, the City must adopt a resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute an Offer and Acceptance form.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Resolution

  1. Consider Adopting an Ordinance to Establish the Stormwater Study and Analysis Project Fund.

In relation to the previous item, this ordinance will establish the Stormwater Study and Analysis Project Fund. The project will involve the investigative hydrologic study of frequently flooded areas within the City, analysis of stormwater control measures, and an engineering concept plan.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Resolution

  1. Consider Adopting a Budget Ordinance Amendment for FY2021- 22.

This budget amendment will recognize an award from the Internet Crimes Against Children (“ICAC”) Grant in the amount of $70,902. The funding will be used to purchase GrayKey, a device that can unlock cellular and mobile devices to access critical digital evidence for use in prosecution. It also recognizes $5,000 in grant funds from Walmart that will be divided equally among the Police and Fire Departments. Police will utilize their $2,500 for National Night Out and the New Bern Noble Knights Chess Club, and Fire will replenish its supply of smoke detectors. Neither the ICAC nor the Walmart grant require matching funds.

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to Adopt the Resolution

  1. Discussion of American Rescue Plan Funds.

With more than $4 million in American Rescue Plan (“ARP”) funds still available for designation, the board reviewed potential projects identified by staff and those requested by Governing Board members. After a lengthy discussion, the Board decided to divvy the remaining ARP funds up by 6 (for each ward).

Decision: Voted 7 – 0 to add item as an Amendment to the Agenda for June 14, 2022 meeting

  1. Appointment(s).
  2. Attorney’s Report.
  3. City Manager’s Report.

– Election Day is the same day as the July 26, 2022 BOA meeting. They voted to cancel the meeting.

– The Tisdale House needs to be removed or relocated because it’s where the Stanley White Recreation Center will be constructed. Hughes explained that the city cannot legally give it away to anyone. He said, “We can open this up to the highest bidder which we have already done and, and no one took advantage of that…we can give the house to a non-profit who has experience as specializes in historic preservation.” Proposals are due to the NBPF by 5 p.m. on June 27, 2022.

Some neighborhood signs that are starting to fail and they need attention. He asked the board to give him and staff direction on how to proceed. He mentioned, “One thing we did do in this budget, is we added some funding for sign repairs as well in the public works.”

– He mentioned the progress on the City Hall Elevator project.

– The City used MSD funds to purchase 16 additional trash cans.

– Police are increasing downtown patrols on their Segways on Friday and Saturdays to address any of the issues that the residents have had.

– Congratulate our City Clerk, Brenda Blanca, who was appointed to the North Carolina League of Municipalities Board of Directors during the recent City Vision Conference.

– Congratulate Battalion Chief Dennis Tindall on receiving the Firefighter of the Year award.

– Announcement of Footloose on the Neuse Summer Concert Series

– Update on the damaged headstones in Cedar Grove Cemetery. Hughes responded, “We’ve actually just gotten, two sets of bids from Historic Preservation folks and we’re vetting those. We’re also working with the Questers on that.”

Rehabbing will be started on the F 11 Jet at Lawson Creek Park on June 1 and should be completed in approximately three weeks.

  1. New Business.

Alderman Bengel:

– Mentioned Johnnie Sampson Day

– Visit the Pepsi Store to celebrate Caleb Bradham’s 155 birthday

– Said there was a lot of loud music from the Block Party in the Beermuda area that could be heard on Middle Street. They’re trying to figure out how it won’t happen again next year.

Alderman Harris:

– Asked for an update on Stanley White Recreation Center. Foster Hughes responded and also provided an update for Henderson Park.

– Requested an update on FEMA the money that was spent on ditches. And asked for an update on the ditch located at 211 West Street.

Alderman Best

– Asked for an update on Kensington Street and bank erosion.

– Announced the passing of Dr. Sydney Barwell.

Alderman Odham:

– Announced the Mayor Leander Morgan Golf Tournament

Rehabbing will be started on the F11 Jet at Lawson Creek Park on June 1 and should be completed in approximately three weeks.

  1. Closed Session.
  2. Adjourn.

The agenda, packet, and minutes are published on the City of New Bern’s website here.

Let us know if you have any comments or questions by sending an email.

Wendy Card, Editor-in-Chief