December 2013

December 03, 2013


The regular meeting of the Village of Forest Hills was held in the meeting room at the Jackson County Recreation Center at 6:00pm on December 03, 2013.

The following members of the Council were present:
Mayor Jim Wallace
Newly elected Mayor Kolleen Begley
Councilmember Clark Corwin
Councilmember Carl Hooper
Councilmember Ron Mau
Councilmember Dan Perlmutter
The following Non-Council members were present:
David Moore, Village Attorney
Stephanie Gibson, Finance Officer/Clerk
Quinton Ellison, the Sylva Herald
Janie Prentice, Village Planning Board Chair
Ric Cardona, Village Planning Board member
Curt Collins, Community member from Cullowhee
Bruce Plummer and Carl Iobst, property owners in Forest Hills
(1)    Call to order 6:00pm by Mayor Jim Wallace.   
(2)    Vote on Agenda.  A request was made by Councilman Hooper to move item #10, Public Comments on the agenda to item #5A.  A motion to approve the agenda as revised was made by Councilman Hooper, seconded by Councilman Corwin, and unanimously approved.
(3)    Approval of meeting minutes for November 12, 2013 Council meeting a motion to approve the minutes was made by Councilman Hooper, seconded by Councilman Mau, unanimously approved.  Stephanie Gibson asked that the Council to approve a revision to the October minutes, adding a section to the second paragraph under item #7for clarification, it should read:  Kolleen read an email from DOT saying that the roads need to be an average of 16’ wide for roads to be eligible for state Powell Bill Funds given to the Village.  A motion to approve the revisions to the October minutes was made by Councilman Corwin, seconded by Councilman Hooper, unanimously approved.  (Approved meeting minutes are posted on the Village website.)
(4)    Financial reports for the months of November, 2013  Stephanie Gibson provided copies of the Financial Report for November.  Revenues for the month included $2,382.45 in Ad Valorem Taxes, $1,517.22 from Sales Tax and $9.47 Interest earned.  Expenditures for the month included $600 for Police Protection, $584.25 for Attorney, $476.96 for administrative, $33.60 for notices, $1265.65 for the entrance, $800 for Workshops, and $937.50 for the final Audit fee.  As of November 30, 2013 there is $104,169.49 in the General Fund bank account and $14,127.10 in the Powell Bill bank account.
A motion to accept the financial report was made by Councilman Corwin, seconded by Councilman Mau and unanimously approved. 
(5)    a)  Swearing-in Ceremony for Kolleen Begley, Carl Hooper, Clark Corwin, and Ron Mau:   Mayor Wallace expressed his appreciation for holding the positions he has held with the Council and welcomed Mayor-Elect Kolleen Begley.  Kolleen Begley was sworn in by Clerk of Court, Ann Melton, to take over the Mayor’s seat.  Carl Hooper, Clark Corwin, and Ron Mau were sworn in by Clerk of Court, Ann Melton, as Councilmembers to fill their remaining terms. Mark Teague, recently nominated to fill a vacant position on the Planning Board, was unable to come to the meeting but will go to the Clerk of Court to be sworn in.
b)  Public Comments:  Curt Collins asked to speak about the prospect of using some of the property owned and for sale by Chris Green as an Organic Farm and Events Venue.  He said that initially Mr. Green was interested in just some small farming.  Mayor Begley asked if the plan would fall into the current Village ordinances and he said that it would not, he noted that he had emailed the Council about his idea that he spoke about at this meeting and to find out if there was interest by the Village for him to apply for a use variance.  She asked if she was correct in assuming that his plan was to approach the council as well as the property owner since the Village doesn’t own that property and he said yes.  Mayor Begley asked if the Council would like to put Curt Collins on the January agenda to hear more details.  Councilman Corwin suggested that Mr. Collins be put on the agenda for January and suggested there be a half hour time limit and Council agreed unanimously.
(6)    Planning Board Report:  Ric Cardona presented the Planning Board recommendation addressing both a hard surface on Cave Springs Road and water drainage issues on bordering properties.  He addressed Victor Lofquist’s report on drainage issues that was prepared at the request of the Village in September 2012.  Councilman Mau asked why only Cave Springs Road was being mentioned in the recommendation and when a more comprehensive would report would be available.  Ric said that they were reporting on the assigned tasks.  Mayor Begley asked for verification of the assigned tasks and Ric responded that the two tasks they had initially been assigned were the hard surface on Cave Springs Road and the drainage issues.  Councilman Mau asked about the master plan instead of just the road issues.
Councilman Corwin asked about a timeline for the master plan, he asked Janie if January would be too soon and she said that it would.  Ric said that they could come up with a rough draft by February.  Janie agreed that they could have a rough draft by February but said she felt that March may be better.  Councilman Perlmutter asked if the council wants to hear more about the road recommendations and they agreed that they would like to hear about the comprehensive plan.  Councilman Corwin suggested a joint meeting between the Council and the Planning Board.  Councilman Mau suggested putting the Planning Board on each agenda to discuss issues.  Mayor Begley asked if Ric’s report should be tabled.  Councilman Corwin and Councilman Mau said they did not feel that there was anything to table.  Mayor Begley said that she would like to schedule a work session with the Planning Board to clarify tasks assigned and prioritize them.  Councilman Corwin said that he would like the reports broadened.
Janie Prentice said that safety is the Planning Board’s first concern which they addressed in the recommendation and that if there are areas that need repair, trees down, washed roads, etc. that she be the first concern.
Jim Wallace, former Mayor, noted that Attorney Moore recommended that we hold spending down until we knew the costs of road maintenance.  Attorney Moore said that he gave practical advice about not spending funds until priorities were determined.
Mayor Begley said that she would like for the Council to meet with the Planning Board at their next meeting for a work session to further communication.  Councilman Corwin said that it was too late to give notice of a joint meeting in December that it would have to be in January.  Councilman Mau mentioned that the third Monday in January is a holiday.  Councilman Corwin made a motion proposing that the Council hold a work session with the Planning Board on Monday February 17th at 7:00pm at the Jackson County Recreation Center, council agreed.
(7)    Rules of Procedure:  Councilman Corwin asked if this topic should be deferred until after the training                   
      and it was agreed that this topic would be deferred until the February meeting.
Mayor Begley, Councilman Corwin, and Councilman Perlmutter have registered to attend the Essentials of Municipal Government course offered by the UNC School of Government to be held January 8 & 9th, 2014 in Asheville.
Council members voted to have a work session to discuss rules of procedure on January 28th at 6:00pm at the Jackson County Recreation Center.
(8)    Planning Board Terms:  Attorney Moore said that the parameters can be set for each member to serve up
to a three year term.  Mayor Begley got the dates members were sworn in and Stephanie posted those dates on the Village website.  Mayor Begley announced that Ken Dickert has stepped down as a Planning Board member but will remain as the Zoning Administrator.  Also, there are two homeowner’s interested in a position on the Planning Board, Nilofer Couture and Carl Iobst.  Attorney Moore said that he will clarify if the number of members is limited to seven people on the Planning Board.  Councilman Mau suggested addressing the issue at the January meeting.
(9)    New Business:  Councilman Mau gave a report on some benchmarks for a General Fund Balance Policy referring to a median amount kept by other municipalities of a similar small population size and assets.   Mayor Begley suggested having a discussion at the January meeting and putting a General Fund Balance Policy in place for the Village.
Councilman Perlmutter asked about the previous survey sent to the property owners in the Village on the pros and cons of living in the Village of Forest Hills and Mayor Begley replied that the survey requested input from those property owners regarding what they felt the community priorities were to them and that those survey replies and summarized results should be kept in the Clerk’s records.
Councilman Corwin asked to table the Organizational Meeting items to the January meeting.
Mayor Begley asked that the Council consider candidates to fill vacant positions such as the Co-Clerk.
Attorney Moore said that a Mayor Pro-tempore needed to be elected now.  Councilman Hooper made a motion, seconded by Councilman Mau that Councilman Corwin be the Mayor Pro-tempore, unanimously agreed.
Mayor Begley brought up a suggestion for requesting a Graduate student intern to assist in managing Village tasks.  Councilman Mau suggested asking Todd Collins.  Mayor Begley said that she will contact Todd Collins and Niall Michaelson to see if they can recommend an intern.
Mayor Begley suggested that all Village personnel have a Village email address to use when conducting village business or correspondence, council agreed that would be a good idea, she will check pricing and availability.
Mayor Begley mentioned that the signature cards need to be re-done at United Community Bank to include her name as the new Mayor replacing Jim Wallace.  Councilman Hooper made a motion that the signature cards be updated, Councilman Perlmutter seconded, unanimously agreed. 
Mayor Begley also suggested that the Finance Officer be authorized to sign checks up to $3500.00 without requiring a second signature and that checks in excess of this amount require two signatures or Council approval.  Councilman Hooper made a motion that the Finance Officer’s signature be the only signature required on checks up to $3500 and anything over that amount requires the second signature. Councilman Corwin seconded, unanimously approved.
Closed Session:  At 8:05pm Councilman Hooper made a motion that the Council go into closed session per statute NCGS 143-318.11 (a) (5), Councilman Mau seconded, unanimously approved.
At 8:40pm, Councilman Corwin made a motion that the Council come out of closed session, Councilman Perlmutter seconded, unanimously approved.
Councilman Perlmutter made a motion to approve the Fee Agreement presented by Attorney Moore on behalf of his firm Earwood & Moore as the Village Attorney, seconded by Councilman Mau, all in favor with the exception of Councilman Hooper.  Mayor Begley asked Attorney Moore if any Village official can contact him or if discussions should go through one person.  Attorney Moore said that anyone can contact him but it would be best to have one person acting as the Village contact.
Old Business:  To be tabled
Attorney Moore suggested that the Council ask the Planning Board to come up with a schedule addressing road and maintenance issues.
Mayor Begley asked how roads were formally dedicated and Attorney Moore responded that road dedications come from the owners. Mayor Begley stated that she can’t find where any of the roads in the Village of Forest Hills have been formally dedicated or documented on the Register of Deeds.  She stated that a motion was made in 2010 to maintain Cave Springs Road, and that motion was further amended to include maintaining all non-state maintained roads in the Village even though the Village had been previously maintaining North and South Country Club non-state roads.  Mayor Begley referred to these as “Maintenance Right-of-Ways.”  Attorney Moore suggested that a vote be held by the Council to determine the responsibilities the Village will assume in road maintenance. 
Mayor Begley stated that she would add this to the agenda for January for Council to determine which roads are Village roads and what maintenance responsibility they will assume for those roads.
At 9:00pm Councilman Corwin made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Councilman Mau, unanimously approved.