June 2009


                                                                 VILLAGE OF FOREST HILLS

                                                                               June 2, 2009



The regular meeting of the Village of Forest Hills was held in the lobby at the University Inn at 6:00pm

on June 2, 2009.


The following members of the Council were present:

Dick Iobst

Gene Tweedy

Suzanne Stone

Jim Wallace, Mayor


The following Non-Council members were present:

Jim Weir, Finance Officer

Wes Stone, Zoning Administrator

Clark Corwin, Planning Board

Kolleen Begley, Clerk

Carl Hooper, ALT Clerk & Planning Board


(1)    Call to order 6:03pm by Mayor Jim Wallace


(2)    Ann Melton, Jackson County Clerk of Court: Swearing in Ceremony for: Olin Dunford as a Planning Board member.


(3)    Srgt. Hollifield of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (Crime Prevention Office) gave an initial presentation on the Community Watch Program.  Sgt. Hollifield reported that statistics show that these programs show positive results in reducing the crime rate as well as apprehending perpetrators after the fact.  He also reported that although he feels the Village is a relatively safe area with few crimes reported, this program further reduces the “opportunity” for crime to occur.  Handouts were given outlining the program details and tips on awareness.  (A copy of this handout can be obtained from the Village website.)  The Village Council will be defining block coordinators at the August meeting to further this program implementation into the Village.  Presentation ended at 7:15 pm.


(4)    Review of meeting minutes for May 5, 2009. A motion to approve the minutes was made by Dick Iobst and seconded by Gene Tweedy, unanimously approved.



(5)    Copies of the electronic archive documents were distributed to Mayor Wallace, Kolleen Begley (Clerk) and to the safe deposit box.


(6)    Jim Weir gave the financial report for the months of May, 2009.  Jim reported very little activity for the month of May with $946 in revenue and $1,647 in expenditures.  (Line item details of this report can be found on the Village website under Budgets).  Jim also reported that approximately $20,500 of the $96,808.00 bank balance is accumulated unspent Powell Bill fund income.  This amount is earmarked for only approved Powell Bill expenditures in the future.  A motion to accept the financial report was made by Dick Iobst  and seconded by Gene Tweedy, unanimously approved.  Jim Wallace inquired about the status of the Powell Bill application for the portion of Cave Springs Road that meets the 16’ average width requirement. Jim Weir responded that it was in the hands of the engineer and would have an answer by the end of June. 


(7)    Jim Weir gave a report of the proposed budget for the next fiscal year (07.01.09 to 06.30.10)  The Budget Committee is Jim Weir (chair), Kolleen Begley, Carl Hooper, and Gene Tweedy.    The proposed budget includes approximately $67,000 in revenues from taxes, interest, and Powell Bill funds from the state balanced against approximately $67,000 in expenditures.  Some of the larger non-Powell Bill expenses discussed were liability insurance for the Village, attorney costs, and the cost of the CPA to do the audit.  (Details of all of the line items on this budget can be obtained from a copy of the budget on the Village website.)  Dick Iobst asked what the property tax millage rate is set at for the next fiscal year and  Jim Weir replied that it will remain at .01


Councilmember Suzanne Stone questioned the Miscellaneous account of $17,800 on the proposed budget and the $7,000 allotted for additional Capital on the entrance on the proposed budget.  Jim Weir responded that the budget committee did allot $7,000 in the budget for potential Village Entrance improvements but explained that it would have to be approved by Council later before it could be paid for.  Jim Weir also explained that the Miscellaneous account was “wiggle room” for if the other accounts were underestimated for the year and expenses exceeded their individual proposed budget amounts. 


At this time, Mayor Wallace opened up the proposed budget for discussion by all.  Wes Stone addressed the Mayor and the Council about his concern about spending more than the $9,000 total amount allotted on the budget for the Village entrance (capital and maintenance accounts)  therefore dipping into that Miscellaneous account.  Mayor Wallace responded that he agrees with Wes’s concern and stated that the Village is supposed to be good stewards of their finances but that he feels the entrance needs to be taken care of and maintained. 


Clark Corwin addressed the Mayor and the Council with his concern that it appears that $1 out of every $8 of the proposed budget is going toward the Village entrance.   Kolleen Begley addressed the Mayor and the Council with her concern that she didn’t feel that and additional $7,000 spent on enhancing the Village entrance would be a wise use of taxpayers money in the current state of the economy when there are potholes and other road related maintenance that needs to be done throughout the Village.   Mayor Wallace responded that Powell Funds are dedicated to road expenses so it wouldn’t detract from what is available in Powell Funds to spend on roads.  Councilmember Suzanne Stone pointed out that the $7,000 currently allotted for the Village entrance improvement might be better allotted toward adding green space or something else rather than adding to the already $50,000 + that has been spent on the Village entrance.  Mayor Wallace responded that there was a lot of pressure a few years back for the Council to do something about the entrance.  He stated that just to get the legal work done cost approximately $10,000.00 and the actual sign itself was approximately $3,000.00.  Suzanne Stone replied to Mayor Wallace that she feels that if people knew ahead of time that the Village entrance was going to cost $50,000 + that there would have been less pressure to get the entrance done.  Mayor Wallace stated that when they started the planning for the entrance, that it was estimated to be approximately $30,000.00  but they ran into some legal issues getting the right-of-way to do the entrance and had to hire outside help to deal with TWSA, Duke Energy, and the DOT.  Mayor Wallace stated this from memory and stated that he was not in charge at that time.  Kolleen Begley stated that she understands the money allotted to maintain what is already there, but doesn’t feel it is wise to add to the capital investment amount at this time.  Village resident, Evelyn Weir, addressed the Mayor and Council stating that she likes the entrance and she pays taxes and appreciates that the nice entrance shows something for her tax dollars paid in. 


Clark Corwin addressed the Mayor and the Council regarding the need for the non state-maintained roads to be upgraded in the Village and he questioned whether or not the Powell Bill funds alone would cover the cost that may be incurred by bringing the roads up to a certain standard and he hasn’t seen any work go toward these roads. 


Councilmember Gene Tweedy expanded on Clark Corwin’s statements with that he feels that before he will approve more spending on the entrance, he wants to see funds appropriated toward fixing the potholes throughout the paved portion of the Village-maintained roads.  Gene stated that he feels this maintenance should be taken care of by the Village sooner rather than later because it may be a long time before the DOT may take over the roads. Gene stated that he would like the Village-maintained portion of the paved roads to look as good as the state maintained portions of the roads and that includes cutting back the brush. Gene stated that if you want to be proud of a community and have it look good as a whole, then represent the citizens tax dollars by well maintained roads.  Councilmember Suzanne Stone stated that she would rather see the roads maintained and the brush cut back than to see an additional $10,000 spent on the entrance. Mayor Wallace responded in question of what Gene feels would need to be done.  Gene’s response was to resurface the roads to make them smooth.  Mayor Wallace responded that he thought to do these roads right  would put the Village in debt for years to come when he is hoping for the state to take them over instead.  Gene responded that is a decision for the Council to vote on, not a decision for the Mayor to make.  Mayor Wallace stated that to widen and pave Cave Springs Road would probably use up all of the Powell Bill funds.  Kolleen Begley addressed the Mayor and stated that Gene was not referring to Cave Springs Road, he was referring to the back loop of South Country Club Drive and North Country Club Drive. Gene Tweedy stated that the roads are breaking up and cracking up in this area and he speaking for others that live on in this area of the Village.  Mayor Wallace asked who else Gene was speaking for and asked why they didn’t come to the meetings.  Suzanne Stone replied that Council members represent them.   Mayor Wallace asked Gene Tweedy if he could get an estimate of what it would take to resurface the paved roads not maintained by the DOT.    Clark Corwin addressed Mayor Wallace and stated that the individuals in the community shouldn’t have to request this individually – it should be the Council’s responsibility to find out the information and act as a body that represents a Village.   Suzanne Stone stated that there is also a need for a mirror to be placed at the entrance of Oak Forest for safety reasons.  


Mayor Wallace made a suggestion that some of the major budget expense items be put to a vote to all the residents in the Village to represent the Village.


Clark Corwin addressed the Mayor and asked what the Village gets for the $6,000.00 spent on the Police Protection line item on the proposed budget.  Mayor Wallace responded that this money pays for the police to patrol the Village on certain days (number of days and when patrol happens has been omitted here for safety reasons.)  Clark Corwin asked Mayor Wallace if it the local law enforcement has been directed by a Village official to enforce the Village ordinances.  Clark Corwin stated that he learned this needs to be formalized with the sheriff.  Mayor Wallace said that definitely needs to be addressed and that he will call the sheriff’s department and follow up on this in the August meeting.  Clark Corwin stated this should not cost the Village any more than the budgeted amount. 


Mayor Wallace announced that he is concerned that the proposed budget needed to be approved tonight because it is due and that the amounts on the individual budget lines will need to be approved by Council anyway before they are an actual expense.  A motion to approve the proposed budget was made by Suzanne Stone, and seconded by Gene Tweedy, unanimously approved.



(8)    Destruction of archival materials.   There are 6 boxes of paper archive materials no longer needed to store since these archives are scanned and stored electronically.  This is public information so Dick Iobst suggested to recycle all this paper rather than pay to have it shredded.  A motion was made by Suzanne Stone to take it to the dump and recycle it, seconded by Gene Tweedy, unanimously approved.



(9)    Entrance Landscaping Update.  Mayor Wallace reported that he contacted 2 other area landscaping companies to obtain quotes on enhancing the color of the entrance with seasonal bulbs to add to the already received proposal from Roger Turk discussed at the May 5th meeting.  Both of those landscaping companies were busy to date so these bids have been delayed.  Gene Tweedy made a motion to not rush this decision and to delay it to next year, seconded by Dick Iobst, unanimously approved. 



(10)Tim Green – Green’s Excavating, Inc.   Tim Green was already in the area this week to scrape Cave Springs Road for Forest Hills Estates, so he called Mayor Wallace  to see if the Village wanted to get the loop scraped while he already had his equipment there.  The cost was $275 so Jim Wallace told him to go ahead to get it done.  A motion was made by Dick Iobst to approve payment of $275.00 to Tim Green, seconded by Gene Tweedy, unanimously approved. 


Jim Wallace mentioned that Tim Green can do snow removal if necessary if the snow accumulates to 3” or more for an estimated cost of $400.00 Green does not salt or sand.   Jim also mentioned that Tim gave a quote to maintain all of the non-state maintained roads which would include scraping and removing the leaves in the fall for $5,200.00.   Mayor Wallace would like to address this in the August meeting. 



(11)Begley Electric, Inc. upgrade sign lighting and maintain water and electrical.  Mayor Wallace asked Alan Begley (Begley Electric, Inc.) for a quote to upgrade the existing lighting on the Village entrance sign as well as a quote to maintain the water and electrical at the entrance on a monthly basis.  The maintenance would include at least 2 trips to check on the condition of the sprinkler heads and lights and fix any minor problems.  The monthly maintenance would be $100.00 month.  Any major repair over that amount would be charged to the Village at a discounted rate of $25/hr labor plus parts.   Begley stated that the current lighting system put in by the previous contactor was inadequate for landscaping lights and the expensive bulbs will continue to blow easily.  The quote to replace this system is $800.00 for a low voltage lighting system that will be more durable and less likely to be broken by people working in that area.  This system is easily moved, bulbs are easy to replace, electrical energy savings and many more options including complying with any future lighting ordinances, future solar options.  Council member Suzanne Stone questioned who ordered the inadequate existing lighting be installed.  Gene Tweedy  made a motion to approve both quotes to be done, seconded by Dick Iobst, unanimously approved.  Alan is to start these projects at the beginning of next week.


(12)Greenway Feedback  Mayor Wallace requested suggestions and requests for the Village or anywhere else in the County regarding the Greenway to report back to the Greenway Commission.   The Greenway Commission will be working with the DOT.  There is a preliminary plan for a sidewalk to connect the Village to the Post Office.  The Greenway itself is planned to connect the Village to WCU.  Mayor Wallace is suggesting a sidewalks from Oak Forest down to Hwy.107 and from the University Inn down to Hwy. 107 and possibly a walkway all around the valley.  Suzanne Stone suggested connecting Oak Forest down to the Cullowhee Valley School. 


(13)Friends of the Library donation.  Mayor Wallace asked the Council to make a decision on if, how much, and when the Village would be able to donate to the new County library being built behind/attached to the old courthouse in downtown Sylva.  Mayor Wallace stated that he would like to see the Village donate around $10,000.00 to help fund this new Library.  Suzanne Stone made a suggestion that the Village donate $5,000 this coming new fiscal year and pledge another $5,000 to be disbursed in the following year.    A motion was made by Dick Iobst to pledge $10,000.00 to the Library to be disbursed in two payments – one this fiscal year fiscal year (09-10) and a second $5,000 pledge for the following fiscal year (10-11), seconded by Suzanne Stone, unanimously approved. 


(14)November 2009 Election.  Terms expire for Mayor, and 2 council seats – Kay Shapiro and Dick Iobst.  Dick Iobst stated that he will not be running for another term due to health concerns.  Gene Tweedy and Suzanne Stone recognized Dick for all the years service and contributions that he has made to the Village.   Mayor Wallace stated that he will be running for another term.  More than one person can run for the open positions.  Any open seats will need to be filled for the Village to continue as a municipality.  Suzanne Stone suggested that these seats be advertised on the website and via email to the residents’ addresses that Kolleen Begley has collected thus far.   Those who are planning to run for these positions have a deadline of July 31st to apply at the County courthouse.  The fee is $5.00 


(15)Jackson County Solid Waste Department.  A motion was made by Suzanne Stone for Mayor Wallace to write a resolution in support of the Jackson County Solid Waste Long-Range Plan .  The motion was seconded by Gene Tweedy, unanimously approved.  The report can be found on the Jackson County website www.jacksonnc.org


Kay Shapiro had volunteered to Jim Wallace to represent the Village at these Jackson County meetings.  Suzanne Stone made a motion for Kay Shapiro to attend the meetings, seconded by Gene Tweedy, and unanimously approved. 


(16)Discussion about setting a cap on any contractor expense to be approved by Council before contract is awarded.  A motion was made by Suzanne Stone that Council needs to approve any expense over $1,000.00 before the work commences.  Dick Iobst seconded this motion, unanimously approved.  



(17)NEW BUSINESS:  Discussion  for August meeting is to include how many and where to put the Community Watch Program signs and stickers and who will be Block Coordinators.  Suzanne Stone mentioned the potential of Forest Hills annexing in WCU.   Mayor Wallace will set up a meeting with the Chancellor of WCU.  Discussion about the WCU officials coming to a Village meeting. 




(18)OLD BUSINESS:    Trimming the roadsides.  Mayor Wallace was not clear on a previous Council decision on which funds (Powell, non-Powell, taxes) to use to pay - and when to have - the roadsides right-of-ways and brush cut throughout the Village so he suggested this work be delayed until August.  Gene Tweedy stated that it didn’t look overgrown and could probably wait.  The finance officer, Jim Weir, stated that by August he will have a rough estimate of the amount that the Village will receive in Powell Funds this year.


(19)The July meeting will be cancelled.  There will not be a quorum present.  A motion was made by Suzanne Stone to keep the monthly Council meetings at 6:00pm, seconded by Gene Tweedy, unanimously approved.  Meetings will resume at a set time of 6:00pm the first Tuesday of each month, starting again in August.



There being no further business (and no other persons to be heard), a motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Suzanne Stone, seconded by Gene Tweedy, and unanimously approved.  Meeting adjourned at 9:04pm.