Forest Hills Council Meeting 5-3-04


Village of Forest Hills Council Meeting


Monday, May 3, 2004


The regular meeting of the Forest Hills Village Council was called to order at 7:10p.m. by Mayor Jim Davis.


In attendance were: Councilpersons Sue Burton, Jim Wallace, Dick Iobst and Joe Rossano.


Invocation was given by Mayor Davis.


Mayor Davis called for a report from the Economic Development Committee of the Planning Board. Then the Mayor corrected his agenda to have a report from the Budget Committee before the report from the Economic Development Committee of the Planning Board.


Finance Officer, Jim Weir, had three items in his report. 

·       Number one was regarding the wishes of the Council concerning the sheriff’s patrol during the summer months.  It was decided that the patrol would be continued as is until August.  Before August, a decision will be communicated to the Sheriff’s Office about the month of August.

·       A second item that Jim Weir presented was the financial statement, a hard copy of which was distributed to each council member for their examination.  Weir noted that little financial action had taken place in the Village during the preceding month.  Six-hundred dollars were received; five-hundred dollars were paid to the police.

·       A third topic presented by Weir was the budget proposed by the Budget Committee.  Councilman Iobst reminded the council that acceptance of the financial statement was necessary before presentation of the proposed budget.  Councilman Iobst moved acceptance of the submitted financial statement for the month of April.  Councilwoman Sue Burton seconded this motion.  The motion passed.


Before discussion of the proposed budget proceeded, Jim Weir reminded the council that state law prohibits the Village from making money.  The budget must balance.  Weir noted for the Council that the hard copy of the proposed budget included three columns: one of figures for the past two years; one of figures for the first nine months of the current fiscal year; and the last column is the figures for the proposed budget of the coming fiscal year.  It was noted that a possible increase in taxes might provide the Village additional funds, but since this is only a possibility and not fact at this time, the committee had to propose a budget based on anticipated revenue from property taxes, interest, sales tax, utility tax, and Powell Bill Funds.  Expenditures are essentially fixed with the exception of a miscellaneous category which the committee left rather large to allow Council as much leeway as possible for unforeseen expenses.  Jim Weir requested the council to keep the budget committee informed of any anticipated large expenditures coming up during the first six months of the upcoming fiscal year.

Councilman Jim Wallace noted that when the county reappraised property, they lowered the millage rate, and he feels that the Village should do likewise.  Councilman Iobst disagreed and he pointed out that the Village has a lower millage rate than Sylva, Webster, or Dillsboro.  He noted that the Village has anticipated expenditures such as road improvement that will require funds of the current millage rate.  A discussion of the use of ad valorem taxes among council members followed.


Mayor Davis asked for volunteers to serve on a committee of the Planning Board to develop plans for an improved entrance to the Village.  He noted that three thousand dollars in grant funds have been obtained for this purpose.  Councilman Wallace volunteered to chair that committee, and Councilman Iobst volunteered to serve on the committee.  Councilwoman Burton asked a question regarding property rights.  Mayor Davis appointed Councilman Wallace to chair the Entrance Enhancement Committee and he appointed Councilman Iobst to serve on the committee.


Finance Officer Weir asked for action on the proposed budget.  A discussion of proposed expenses such as road maintenance and development of a street map followed.  Councilwoman Burton asked for a vote on the budget.  Councilman Iobst stated that the vote should be taken on a public hearing on the proposed budget at the regular meeting of the council in June, 2004.  This public hearing will be announced twice in the Sylva Herald according to North Carolina Statute.


A discussion of the three-thousand ($3,000.00) dollar restricted grant for entrance improvement and funds required for Powell Bill Mapping followed.  Mayor Davis asked for any additional discussion on the report of the budget committee.  Councilman Iobst moved that the proposed budget be presented to the residents at the regular Village Council Meeting on June 7, 2004, and that this public hearing be advertised for two consecutive weeks in the Sylva Herald according to North Carolina Statute.  This motion was seconded by Councilman Wallace.  Councilman Wallace asked who would be responsible for getting the public notices to the newspaper.  Councilwoman Burton was asked to be sure the notices were delivered to the newspaper in a timely fashion for publication.  Mayor Davis asked for a vote on the motion on the floor.  The motion to present for public hearing the proposed budget at the regular council meeting in June passed.


Mayor Davis inquired of Councilman Wallace whether amendments to the ordinances would be ready for public hearing at the regular June council meeting?  Councilman Wallace replied that they would not, and he suggested that these amendments be presented to the Council for discussion; then, to Attorney Coward before presentation to the public.  A brief discussion of the amendments followed.


Mayor Davis asked Mr. Eugene Tweedy for a report on the roads.  Mr. Tweedy reported that his committee is working on a map based somewhat on the Mars Hill Model.  Councilman Wallace asked if this map would be congruent with the Powell Bill map that Mayor Davis had previously spoken of.  Mayor Davis responded that the maps would be similar but would serve different purposes.  Councilman Iobst asked when the Land Use Planning Committee would be finished with their report.   Mr. Tweedy responded that no dead line had been established, but the committee’s next meeting would be the third Monday of May.  A discussion of Planning Board meetings and minutes of these meetings followed.


Councilwoman Burton was asked for a report of the Campus Liaison Committee.   Progress on this project has been delayed until the fall when students return to campus.  Mrs. Burton had gotten the names of contacts for each participating department and had made calls to these contacts.  She is waiting for return calls from the contacts.  Councilwoman Burton had learned that approval for an overhead sign over highway 107 for the Village would not be granted, but the Village might get approval for a sign on the side of the road going both south and north.  A discussion about straightening the existing state road signs at North and South Country Club Drives followed.


Mayor Davis has received complaints about the small advertising signs at the intersections of highway 107 and North Country Club Drive and North and South Country Club Drive.  He has asked Councilman Iobst to examine the ordinances to see what they allow.  Councilman Iobst read the ordinance relating to signs to the group.  (Reference: Ordinances Section 404) Mayor Davis said that realtors would be notified of the zoning ordinances for the Village that relate to signs.


Mayor Davis reported that the Spring Clean-Up was successful and perhaps a dozen bags of debris and a rusted out culvert were cleaned up and properly disposed of.


It was announced that the web site is operational.  It is accessible at  It is still a work in progress, but can currently be accessed.  A discussion of its capability and the percentage of residents who have access to it followed.  It was noted that polls could be conducted via the web site to determine the residents’ wishes regarding issues that come up.  All residents who have access to the Internet are encouraged to use this web site.  (Some forum is to be placed on the web site and this was discussed.)  It was recommended by members of the Council that Mayor Davis not have to personally finance placing this forum on the web page, but that this expense be paid by the Village.


Mayor Davis reported on a party that was held at the old townhouse apartments in late March.  He reported the loud noise at 12:00p.m. and was called back by the police at about 2:00a.m.  The residents were cited and the case was to be heard in court on May 10, 2004.  Although the residents were cited, this did not stop the noise immediately.  Mayor Davis noted that he wants to work with the University to encourage them to assume more responsibility for students’ behavior even when the students reside off campus.  Hopefully the Liaison Committee, including work with Elizabeth Worley, may help in this respect.  A discussion of this situation followed.  Councilwoman Burton relayed to the group that Elizabeth Worley is a public relations person for the University, and not a liaison person.


Jim Weir suggested that since the Village is paying the sheriff’s office for special police protection, perhaps Kim Hooper, who is the sheriff’s contact for payment of services, should be contacted regarding any noise ordinance violation.   A discussion of the arrangement of the campus Greek Village as the site for parties of sororities and fraternities followed.  This is believed to be a voluntary arrangement,


A discussion of a location for storage of Village records, etc., was conducted.  Councilman Wallace asked that the Council set up a committee to examine the clerk’s position.  Mayor Davis asked for a motion for this.  Councilman Wallace moved that a committee be appointed to report to the Council at the June meeting concerning paying someone, on a contractual basis, to serve as clerk for the Council.  The motion was seconded by Councilman Iobst.  Mayor Davis asked for volunteers to serve on this committee.  Jim Weir and Councilman Iobst volunteered to serve.  Councilman Iobst suggested that a third person such as Mr. Eugene Tweedy be asked to serve on the committee as chair.  Mr. Tweedy volunteered to serve on the committee and suggested that the committee name their own chair.  The motion passed.  It was suggested that a court reporter be contacted to see if s/he would be willing to serve in this capacity.


The open meeting was adjourned and it was moved by Councilman Iobst that the Mayor and Council members go into closed session with Attorney Coward.  This is according to North Carolina Open Meeting Statute.



Tape transcribed and submitted by:

Evelyn Rooks-Weir