Davidson board plans out-of-town meeting
by Staff Writer
Though the Davidson Board of Commissioners met Tuesday night, they’ve planned another meeting later this week that’s more than two hours and 120 miles away from the town.
Commissioners will attend a retreat in Asheville on Sept 13-14.
Mayor John Woods said the retreat is “strictly a team-building exercise,” where town matters will not be discussed.
The two-day retreat is being held at the Asheville Hotel Indigo. Town Public Information Officer Cristina Shaul said commissioners will pay for their own food and rooms for the first day of the trip, while the town will cover the second day, totaling $409.87.
The second day meetings will be held in the hotel’s “Inspiration Meeting Room” where the board will have “an opportunity to reflect on how (they) are working together.”
The meetings are being facilitated by Anne Davidson, a human resources consultant who the town hired to lead the board through these team-building exercises. The town will also pay $2,250 for Davidson’s expertise – making the retreat a $2,660 bill for the town.
The board plans to hold another two-day retreat in October, where they plan to hold a more functional discussion of the town’s budget. That meeting will be held in Statesville.
PNG, town reach deal
On the board’s list of new business was the implementation of a gas line from Piedmont Natural Gas. The gas line would go along the Fisher Farm side of the west branch of East Rocky River.
Piedmont Natural Gas is paying the town about $74,500 for the appraised value of the land at the rate of $15,345 an acre for 4.85 acres, totaling about $74,500. The money from sale of the land to Piedmont, will go into the town’s general fund, which can be used at the board’s discretion. The easement will be 70 feet wide and have two 20-foot swaths on both sides.
Several commissioners expressed concern for the project, wanting to ensure that any exposed piping would not disturb the aesthetic elements of the park. Along with the usual signage, Piedmont may include some testing stations, used to monitor the performance of the piping.
Town Manager Leamon Brice told the board that they are only expecting one piece of the exposed pipe, but the board requested that they try to eliminate any exposed stations altogether, if it’s legally feasible. There will also be signage around the area that states where the pipe is and include other messages such as where digging should not occur.
Town discusses five-year priorities
Commissioners also discussed the town’s five-year Capital Improvement Program, which outlines the town’s funding needs for the next five years.
Those needs include:
• New servers, computers and software for the town administration, which would total $50,000.
• A new vehicle to replace the 13-year-old Dodge Intrepid used by the town’s administration and planning departments. The cost is estimated at $25,000, but will save money for the town when compared to the 55.5 cents per mile reimbursement fees that town employees are paid to use their personal vehicle when going on long distance trips.
• Signs for parking and way-finding, which would cost $6,500.
• Kim Fleming, Davidson’s Community and Economic Development Manager, proposed a “buy local” campaign that would cost $4,500. She said she hoped the program would produce a valuable return for local business and residents of Davidson.
• Additional staff for the police department. Police Chief Jeanne Miller said Davidson needs two or three more police officers to have the recommended two officers for every 1,000 residents. Davidson has 18 police officers and approximately 11,000 residents.