February 2012



February 07, 2012

The regular meeting of the Village of Forest Hills was held on February 07, 2012 in the meeting room at the Jackson County Recreation Center at 6:00pm.

 The following members of the Council were present:

Jim Wallace, Mayor

Clark Corwin

Carl Hooper

Suzanne Stone

Gene Tweedy

 The following Non-Council members were present:

David Moore, Village Attorney

Stephanie Gibson, Village Clerk/Finance Officer

Mark Teague, Village Zoning Administrator

(1)   Call to order: 6:00pm by Mayor Jim Wallace

(2)   Vote on Agenda:  Jim Wallace proposed an addition to New Business, Office Supplies.  Carl wanted to postpone the request to install guardrails. Clark proposed the Council members write a letter of appreciation to the previous village clerk and finance officer.  Jim Wallace called for approval of the agenda as amended, unanimously approved.

 (3)  Approval of meeting minutes for January 17, 2012 Council meeting:  A motion to approve the minutes as amended was made by Carl Hooper, seconded by Gene Tweedy, unanimously approved.  (Approved meeting minutes are posted on the Village website.)

 (4)  Financial reports for the months of January, 2012.  Stephanie Gibson provided the Financial Reports that were handed out.  The budget for January included $944.80 in revenues and $1280.65 in expenditures. Sales Tax earnings, which came to $937.74, accounted for most of the revenues. Other revenues included interest ($7.06). General expenses included police protection, street maintenance, and attorney fees.   Motion to accept the financial report was made by Carl Hooper, seconded by Suzanne Stone, unanimously approved.

 (5)  New Business:

       a)      Jim Wallace’s Meeting on Economic Factors for the Potential Development of Jackson County:  Jim Wallace shared that at the Mayor’s meeting Cecil Groves, the former president of Southwestern Community College presented a report on working with Balsam West Cable Company.  The idea was to try and spread the word to anyone who may be interested or know someone interested in settling business here.  Jim said that he was unsure of Cecil’s role with Balsam West but that he has done similar work in Colorado Springs, Colorado and when he moved back to Texas, the governor assigned him to do something similar in Austin.  Local counties were not set up with fiber optics and worked under the auspices of Balsam West.  They had a figure/bid of $74 million to lay cable from Sylva to beyond Murphy and back, Jim shared the map he had been given.  It is a circular route and they have met more stringent guidelines than AT & T and Verizon.  They did a great job of this but when they tried to get Federal aid they were told no they could not do it and when they approached the state they were told that there were not enough people to justify this so they looked into laying the fiber themselves.  Cecil got with a few other companies including Balsam West and they did it themselves.  It is buried to a depth of 3’ all of the way except for a few places they were not able to do it.  They drilled under and through rock.  We are supposed to be the most up to date wired six counties in the state, every school and medical facility is hooked up to it.  There are a lot of state incentives to locate here, the climate, population, roads and transportation, airports, and outdoor entertainment.  Balsam West is trying to entice high tech businesses to the area.  There biggest recommendation for counties is to establish a good website that would entice businesses to the area.  Jim said that he wanted to share how local groups did what the state and Feds would not help pay for, he encouraged everyone to share the information.  Clark noted on the map that Jackson Co. Airport was missing.  Clark noted that Metrostat was listed and that they are no longer in business.  It was noted that Drake Enterprises and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians owned Balsam West, that is was a joint venture with EBCI, Drake, and Southwestern Community College that formed Balsam West.

       b)   Suzanne Stone’s Meeting with the Chancellor’s 20/20 Sub-Committee on Development:  Suzanne Stone shared that she had her second meeting with the Committee on Development with Western Carolina University.  She said that nothing has been published so far, there is one final meeting.  They are basically trying to get WCU more involved in the community not just with Cullowhee and Sylva but regionally and how they can do that.  It includes government, non-profit, and for profit businesses in brainstorming sessions to see how they can help and make themselves and their resources available.

      c)    Office Supplies:  Jim discussed the need for the Village Clerk/Finance Officer to be able to purchase some general office supplies including a printer, Microsoft Office, stamps, envelopes, paper, etc.  Carl Hooper made a motion that the Clerk have the authority to buy supplies needed up to a maximum of $400.00, seconded by Suzanne Stone, unanimously approved.

(6)  Old Business: 

       a)  Carl Hooper – Road Condition:  Carl said that at the last meeting the road condition was discussed and that council members had volunteered to visit some of the neighbors about the road conditions and he wanted to check the progress.  Suzanne Stone said that it was in progress but there was nothing concrete to share.  Jim Wallace said that he is going to check with the water company and the Department of Transportation about road maintenance issues where there is a tree down at the Moss residence.  Jim said that he discussed the possibility of his church removing the tree and using the firewood to assist people with heating as they have done in other areas.  Jim noted that the ordinance states that if you are doing something on your property that affects the value of your neighbor’s home you can be cited.

       b)  Mark Teague – Zoning Administrator – Zoning Variance:  Mark Teague resigned as the Zoning Administrator; he was unable to continue the job due to time constraints.  Mark gave the council Bill Edward’s petition for a zoning variance.  The council then discussed this and a couple names for possible replacement of this position.

 At 6:55pm Jim Wallace called for a motion to adjourn, motion was made by Suzanne Stone, seconded by Carl Hooper, unanimously approved.