By Tim Gardner
The Newland Board of Aldermen made committee appointments and approved creation of a new online social media section during a workshop in the early morning hours of Saturday, January 13 to discuss long range planning and capital improvements.
Town officials present included: Aldermen (Town Council members) Lauren Jaynes Turbyfill, Joleta Wise, Jamey Johnson and Greg Seiz; Mayor Valerie Jaynes; Town Administrator Keith Hoilman; and Town Clerk and Board of Aldermen secretary Tammy Gardner. Alderman Kenny Caraway could not attend due to a medical problem involving one of his family members.
Under North Carolina law, aldermen cannot cast any votes or enter into executive (closed) session during a workshop. However, aldermen can approve or adopt items during a workshop by a general consensus in the open forum.
All issues discussed at a workshop can be addressed at regular Board of Aldermen meetings, where further action about them can be taken, tabled or discarded.
Hoilman said of Saturday’s workshop: “I believe much progress was made in breaking down many topics that needed discussion and perhaps can be acted upon at regular Board meetings that will be beneficial for the town. It was a productive and positive meeting.”
Among the Long Range Planning topics the Aldermen discussed included: the town’s growth; its future events; finance; service and technology; Board development; and policies and ordinances.
The aldermen agreed that they want input from the town’s residents and business owners and their employees to involve them in the long range planning process to decide where the town will be in several years. When municipalities such as Newland apply for grant monies, that those providing the funding want to know what the money will be used for and the long range plans of those towns or cities being considered for grants.
Hoilman declared that any “big wish” items for the town will “initially be considered and handled” by the Long Range Planning Committee. He added that one of the committee’s top priorities will be 10-year assets for the town.
During the workshop, the Board appointed alderman Seiz to serve as chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee and Roy Rogers to serve as a committee member.
The planning committee’s responsibilities include: creating an effective and permanent organization for the exchange of information on matters of planning interest, including formulating and recommending major development and expansion policies.
The committee would also make recommendations to the board on items such as a moratorium in the town.
The aldermen voted 3-2 at their December 2017 meeting to rescind the idea of adopting a moratorium in the town. Turbyfill, Johnson and Wise were in favor, with Caraway and Seiz opposed.
A moratorium stops all construction in the town’s limits for a certain time frame. But under North Carolina Law, if a building permit had already been issued by the county prior to the construction of a building or dwelling and that construction process is underway, that it can continue and a moratorium will not create an automatic stay and halt its process.
The Board also appointed Alderman Turbyfill to serve as Events Committee chairperson and Alderman Wise and Mayor Jaynes as members of that committee.
Additionally, the Board approved the town having a new social media page and section on Facebook, which Alderman Turbyfill will create and maintain.
The Events Committee’s responsibilities include: the planning, organization and carrying out of special events in the town—including new ones and those already held annually and at other times.
Hoilman said the town continues to seek others to serve on the Long Range Planning and Events Committees and anyone desiring to should contact him in person at Town Hall or by phone (828) 733-2023.
During the Capital Improvement Plan segment, items address included: town administration; its police department; water and sewer department; and its public works department.
Johnson suggested that the town should consider using its maintenance department to provide garbage pickup for its citizens and businesses.
Hoilman told Mayor Jaynes and the aldermen that the town’s most immediate needs are a new furnace and a new, enhanced phone system –both for Town Hall.
In two more items, the Board approved:
* That Hoilman be excused from the Board’s regular monthly meeting on February 6 to attend the National Rural Water Convention in Washington, DC.
*That all persons addressing the Board of Aldermen at future meetings be required to do so from the speaker’s podium stand in the Town Hall’s Board room.