Harmony rules the night for the City Council

A spirit of consensus swept the City Council on Monday night when it took every action by a unanimous vote.

It perhaps helped that the council had few actions to take. After consecutive 6-0 votes approved the meeting agenda and the voice-vote consent agenda, consisting of the minutes from the June 27 meeting and five tax refunds totaling $50.53, the council needed little discussion for a series of routine approvals on 7-0 votes. (Harriette Butler arrived late, and Bernard Alston missed the meeting).

The council:

* Approved resolutions and agreements to enter North Carolina League of Municipalities insurance pools for group health insurance, property and liability insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance. Council member John Wester made sure the full council was aware that the health insurance agreement places Henderson in a fully assessable pool, meaning that if other cities’ claims exceed the pool’s revenue, Henderson could be forced to pay a pro-rata share of those extra expenses.

* Passed a resolution to enter a financing contract with BB&T to purchase a $12,000 half-ton pickup truck for the Engineering Department over three years at 3.37 percent, for a total of $12,399.87; $62,030 in furnace and lab equipment for the Henderson Water Reclamation Facility, a $34,400 sewer rodder for sewer collections and a $30,000 roof for the old Aycock gym over five years at 3.44 percent, for a total of $135,123.40; and a $75,000 backhoe for water distribution over six years at 3.51 percent, for a total of $81,613.80. In total, the BB&T financing proposal was $1,615.39 cheaper than the only competing offer, from RBC Centura. The borrowing for the gym roof is contingent on the approval of the state’s Local Government Commission because it involves real property.

* Scheduled a public hearing for Aug. 22 on a rezoning request for 6.29 acres at 88 Parham Spring Lane in the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction. Salare Inc. owners Bob and JoAnn Esquivel want the tract changed from R-15M, a residential zone, to I-2, an industrial area, to allow the addition of warehouse space for their manufacturing business. The council had to push the hearing back from Aug. 8 because of the legal requirement for a minimal public notice.

* Allowed the Tar River Cruizers, a classic car club, to hold its annual car show in the parking lot of the Operations & Service Center on April 22, 2006. Real estate agent Mike Garrett, representing the Cruizers, said the show will involve about 100 cars, and the club will handle all arrangements and cleanup. He noted that the opening of the Sonic drive-in restaurant across Beckford Drive provides a natural tie-in to the classic cars. Garrett’s original request included the monthly use of the Operations Center’s parking lot for cruise-ins from April to September, but the council was not asked to approve that use.

Despite meeting for an hour and 45 minutes, the council didn’t take another vote until it agreed to go into a closed session for a legal matter at City Manager Eric Williams’ request.

The council did agree by consensus to have Williams ask the Army Corps of Engineers whether council member Elissa Yount may join a Kerr Lake Regional Water System delegation traveling to the corps’ Wilmington office Aug. 18; to sign off on the city’s official response to the Local Government Commission concerning the low fund balance; to invite a representative of D.C. lobbying firm The Ferguson Group to appear before the council to discuss its goals and successes before the council approves the annual $78,000 contract with the firm; to form a committee of Yount, Lonnie Davis and Mayor Clem Seifert to advise City Attorney John Zollicoffer in negotiations starting Friday with Time Warner Cable on a new cable TV franchise contract; and to try to fill four vacancies on the Henderson Community Appearance Commission by having each ward’s two council members recruit a ward resident to serve, with names to be presented for approval Aug. 8.