February 2022

Village of Forest Hills Council Meeting
Tuesday, February 01, 2022 – 7:00 pm
Forest Hills Assembly Hall, Cullowhee NC

The following members of the Council were present:

Mayor Jim Wallace

Councilmember Nilofer Couture

Councilmember Ron Yount

Councilmember Daniel Shields

Councilmember Marcia Almond

The following Councilmembers were absent:

The following non-Council members were Present:

Stephanie Gibson, Clerk

Jack Brown, Village Homeowner

Rick Cardona, Planning Board Chair

Russ Harris, Executive Director of Southwestern Commission

  1. Call to order: at 7:00pm Mayor Wallace called the meeting to order. 

     2.  Announcements:

Reminder – Please silence cell phones for meeting 

     3.  Approval of Agenda: Councilmember Couture made a motion to approve the agenda, Councilmember Shields seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 

     4.  Approval of Meeting Minutes for January 4, 2022, Regular Council Meeting:(All meeting minutes are posted on the Forest Hills website once approved.) Councilmember Shields made a motion to approve the meeting minutes for January 4, 2022, Councilmember Couture seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 

     5.  Acceptance of Financial Report & Checklist for the month of January 2022: (All financial reports are posted on the Forest Hills website once approved.) Councilmember Shields made a motion to accept the financial report, Councilmember Couture seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 

Stephanie noted that the Administrative line of the budget was over and that it was discussed previously about making a separate line item for the Village social which was to be held in the fall and spring and asked about moving funds from Streets, non-Powell in the amount of $2,000 to cover the first social and the social to be held in the spring.  Councilmember Shields made a motion to move funds from Streets, non-Powell to a new line item for the Village Social expenses.

Also, Stephanie checked on local interest rates for the Village money market account and found Jackson Savings to have the best rate.  Councilmember Shields made a motion for those funds in the amount of $109,176.00 be moved from First Citizens bank to Jackson Savings bank, and that Mayor Wallace and Stephanie as signers on that account meet to move those funds, Councilmember Yount seconded the motion, unanimously approved.

  1. Public Comments: None 
  1. Southwestern Commission – Russ Harris:  Mr. Harris presented information to the Council about Southwestern Commission, what they do, and what potential funding and grant opportunities are available to Municipalities.  He provided a handout about a grant available to broadband providers if enough people in a particular area are unable to get internet services.  He also mentioned several other potential funding sources such as the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, the State Division of Water Infrastructure, and the Dogwood Health Trust.  He also mentioned a grant that they manage that could be a source of revenue for Infrastructure projects from $10-20K that can be applied for if a project is outlined and submitted for approval from the Governor. 

Russ also noted that the ARP funds are now allowed to be used for other things not originally permitted.  He said that the Village should get the second check from those funds in 12 months from the first installment.  Those funds must be committed to be spent by 2024 and funding completed by 2026. 

Council discussed potential ideas for projects in the village and several were mentioned, a playground, purchasing small tracts of land available within the village for park or recreational areas and putting streetlights at the entrance to light up the area where students cross from the Prospect to WCU.

     8.  Reports: 

Mayor’s Report: Jim Wallace –

Mayor Wallace said he wanted ideas for grants that were feasible for the village to obtain and use.

Roads: Ron Yount - He said that he spoke with the BH Graning employee who cleared the snow and told him that some areas were missed so he came back and cleared the areas he was not aware needed to be cleared and had been missed.

Councilmember Yount said that the only road issue he is aware of is a small area in the pavement that was dug up and needs to be patched near the Shapiro’s house.  He said he would speak to CWS about the area.

Councilmember Yount said that he spoke with Kim Shuler about the Solid Waste Committee and said he plans to attend the meeting this month.

RPO/TAC: Marcia Almond – Councilmember Almond said she invited Russ Harris to speak on potential grant opportunities and would like the Council to explore more funding options.

Planning Board: Rick Cardona said that they do need two additional members to be on the Planning board, currently it is him, Jayne Buchanan, and Diane Martinez.  He said that he had been working on figures and ideas about the property in the valley and would like to present his ideas.  Mayor Wallace asked if he could present that at the April meeting and he agreed.

Village Safety: Nilofer Couture – Councilmember Couture said that two officers patrolled a combined 40 hours for the month. She noted that 94% of the 911 calls made for the month came from The Summit, Prospect and The University Inn.

Councilmember Couture said that there is a grant writer that works at the hospital where she does, and she asked the lady if she might be willing to work a couple hours a month and look for and research potential grants available for the Village and she was interested.  She asked the Council if it would be ok to invite her to the meeting in March and the Council agreed to have her come.

  1. Unfinished Business:  
  • Village Entrance Repair Update/Estimates: Councilmember Couture said that she spoke with the Insurance assessor and that he came out last week and she gave him BH Graning’s information and he said that he would call them and get back to her. 
  • Election of Mayor pro tem:  Councilmember Yount made a motion for Councilmember Almond to remain as the Mayor pro tem and Councilmember Shields seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 
  • Planning Board meeting/member status: Rick Cardona spoke to the Council about the Planning Board and said that they need to additional members to fill the vacant seats.  

    10. New Business: Discussion of potential commercial business at Prospect: Council discussed the new commercial business the “Axe Bar” advertised to be in the Prospect buildings being built.  They expressed concern about it being more of a bar and social club than a restaurant as permitted.  Mayor Wallace will ask the attorney about what is allowed.     

    11.  Adjourn: At 9:00pm, Councilmember Yount made a motion to adjourn, Councilmember Shields seconded the motion, unanimously approved.