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02-05-2019 City Council Strategic Planning MeetingA CITY COUNCIL STRATEGIC PLANNING MEETING 300 WEST CROWELL STREET MONROE, NORTH CAROLINA 28112 FEBRUARY 5, 2019 — 4:00 P.M. AGENDA www.monroenc.org 1. Winchester Neighborhood Vacant City -Owned Property and Vacant Residential Property Research 2. State Legislative Agenda for 2019 Long Session (Tabled from December 4, 2018 Regular Meeting and January 8, 2019 Strategic Planning Meeting) 3. Travel Policy for Elected Officials (Tabled from October 2, 2018 and December 4, 2018 Strategic Planning Meetings) City Council Strategic Planning Meeting February 5, 2019 Page 46 CITY OF MONROE CITY COUNCIL STRATEGIC PLANNING MEETING FEBRUARY 5, 2019 MINUTES The City Council of the City of Monroe, North Carolina, met in a Strategic Planning Meeting in the City Hall Conference Room located at 300 West Crowell Street in Monroe, North Carolina at 4:00 p.m. on February 5, 2019 with Mayor Bobby Kilgore presiding. Present: Mayor Bobby Kilgore, Mayor Pro Tem Gary Anderson, Council Member Surluta Anthony, Council Member Marion Holloway, Council Member Billy Jordan, Council Member Lynn Keziah, Council Member Franco McGee, Assistant City Manager Brian Borne, City Attorney S. Mujeeb Shah -Khan and City Clerk Bridgette Robinson. Absent: None. Visitors: Lisa Stiwinter, Bruce Bounds, Teresa Campo, Brian Borne, Jim Loyd, Doug Britt, Tonya Edwards, Debra C. Reed, Sheri Laney, Chris Plate, Holly Morgan, Peter Cevallos, Kyle Ketchum, David Lucore, Lisa Strickland, Ron Fowler, Ashley Britt and others. (4moe Mayor Kilgore called the City Council Strategic Planning Meeting of February 5, 2019 to order at 4:00 p.m. A quorum was present. Item No. 1. Winchester Neiehborhood Vacant Citv-Owned Property and Vacant Residential Property Research. Planning and Development Director Lisa Stiwinter stated that at the December 4, 2018 City Council Meeting, Staff presented a zoning text and map amendment request to remove the Winchester Overlay District from the Unified Development Ordinance and zoning map. She advised that Council denied removing the Overlay District in order to provide an opportunity for new revitalization initiatives to be developed in the Winchester Neighborhood. (6w Ms. Stiwinter stated that Council also requested Staff propose possible development opportunities for the vacant City -owned properties located on the south side of Winchester and conduct research on vacant property located within the Winchester Neighborhood to identify vacant property in an attempt for the City to gain ownership and then offer for residential development that would be geared toward home ownership. Ms. Stiwinter advised that Staff had conducted preliminary research on vacant residential property located within the Winchester Neighborhood and categorized the properties into four tiers: Tier 1 vacant property with no City or County liens or taxes (15 parcels); Tier 2 vacant property with only City liens and taxes (two) parcels; Tier 3 vacant property with City and County liens and taxes (13) parcels; and, Tier 4 vacant property that only had County liens and taxes (0) parcels. She advised that research conducted consisted of receiving a list of vacant properties for Council Member Jordan, developing a list of vacant properties that had received Code Enforcement liens City Council Strategic Planning Meeting February 5, 2019 Page 47 due to demolition, meeting with City Attorney Shah -Khan to discuss clearing of titles, and receiving information from the Tax Collector regarding properties within the neighborhood that were ready for foreclosure. Ms. Stiwinter stated that additional research would be required in order for the City to move forward with gaining ownership of vacant properties and then offering the property for residential development and was not all inclusive. However, Ms. Stiwinter advised that the following would also need to be done: additional title searches to determine if there were any outstanding liens besides what was owed to the City and County; determine if the property was heir property; conduct an environmental assessment to determine if there were any environmental issues, development, feasibility, were the lots buildable/unbuildable, zoning, flood plain, utilities, topography, would foreclosure be required to obtain ownership of specific properties; were there City or County taxes or liens; was the property owner interested in donating or selling to the City; and, determine if the City would also sale or donate property once ownership was gained for the residential development. Ms. Stiwinter advised that Council Member Anthony, Winchester Neighborhood Subcommittee Chair, held a meeting with the Winchester Neighborhood on January 29, 2019 to discuss revitalization initiatives in the Winchester Neighborhood. She noted that Planning Staff was requested to provide an overview of the Winchester Development Plan that was adopted in 2005 and introduced Council's task for Staff to conduct research on vacant residential properties located within the neighborhood. Ms. Stiwinter stated that Planning and Development Staff recommended an environmental assessment of the City -owned lots on Winchester Avenue to determine if there were any environmental issues before seeking any development opportunities. Ms. Stiwinter explained that once the environmental assessment was completed and if there were any environmental issues, of course mitigated, then Staff would recommend a feasibility study to be performed to determine the highest and best use of the property. Ms. Stiwinter stated that Council Member Anthony tasked the residents with developing their ideas of how the neighborhood could be revitalized and bring to the next tentatively scheduled special meeting on February 19, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. Ms. Stiwinter stated that Staff was in the process of developing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for environmental impact. Council Member Jordan stated that he specifically requested Staff look at three properties; however, he was not sure why 612 Boyte Street was listed and questioned if the demolition costs were not included. Ms. Stiwinter stated that the demolition costs were included. Council Member Jordan questioned even 612 Boyte Street. City Council Strategic Planning Meeting February 5, 2019 Page 48 Ms. Stiwinter stated that the City demolished 610 Boyte Street, but not 612 Boyte Street, but she would follow up. Council Member Jordan questioned which property was the corner of Boyte Street and Jerome. Ms. Stiwinter stated that it might be 612 Boyte Street because she knew that 610 Boyte Street was demolished and the demolition cost was reflected in the City taxes, but Staff could not find anything on 612 Boyte being demolished. Council Member Jordan questioned if 610 and 612 Boyte Street were part of the same property. Ms. Stiwinter stated that it was two separate properties with two separate parcel numbers. Council Member Jordan stated that it was the property that the City demolished. Ms. Stiwinter stated that one would need to be switched. Council Member Jordan requested Ms. Stiwinter to look at that one. Item No. 2. State Legislative Agenda for 2019 Long Session (Tabled from December 4, 2018 Regular Meeting and January 8. 2019 Strategic Planning Meeting). City Attorney Mujeeb Shah -Khan advised that the State Legislative Agenda was previously discussed at the December 4, 2018 City Council Regular Meeting and January 8, 2019 Strategic Planning Meeting; however, at Council's request, Staff had deferred discussion until today's meeting. He stated that the agenda was much shorter because as noted, with the General Assembly now having the supermajorities eliminated, there were some issues that Staff had been concerned about that might not be issues, but also wanted to see how the new General Assembly worked together. City Attorney Shah -Kahn stated that most of the items were those ensuring City authority and City assets were protected as well as the conduct of local elections. He stated that Council discussed protecting municipal assets, local management, public utilities, local elections and municipal authority. City Attorney Shah -Khan stated that the major issue for Council's consideration and required action by the General Assembly in the form of a local act was for a Prepared Food and Beverage Tax. City Attorney Shah -Khan stated that in the last session, Council had requested that Staff pursue a Prepared Food and Beverage Tax and the authority to levy through a referendum. He explained that Staff brought that to the City's delegation and due to the nature of the short session, they did not think that it was an appropriate item for their consideration. City Attorney Shah -Khan stated that Staff believed that there may have been some opposition within the delegation over the proposed Prepared Food and Beverage Tax. City Attorney Shah -Khan stated that Council requested Staff push the Prepared Food and Beverage Tax back a year and bring it back for their consideration as an extra one percent tax charge on food and beverages. He explained that Staff's analysis suggested that it could provide from $200,000 to $500,000 per year in revenue with a more reasonable estimate around $300,000 to $325,000 City Council Strategic Planning Meeting February 5, 2019 Page 49 and the revenue would be earmarked for debt service on the construction and exhibits at the Center Theatre and the Monroe Science Center. City Attorney Shah -Khan stated that additional revenues not needed for debt service would then go to operating costs and any remaining funds used for future tourism projects, as well as enhancements to the Science Center and Center Theatre. City Attorney Shah -Khan advised that timing for the referendum could be determined by the General Assembly even if they decided to not set the referendum date on their own because of State law; however, if a referendum were held this year, the only time it could be held was during the November General Election, which included electing three Council Members and the Mayor. City Attorney Shah -Khan stated that a referendum could be held in November 2019; however, the only other dates would be during county -wide elections. He advised that it was possible if the State Board of Elections decided to hold a new election for the 9t' Congressional District, that could be a possible date, but given where the State Board of Elections was in the process, Staff did not believe that it was likely that there would be the opportunity to get a local bill through for a Prepared Food and Beverage Tax before any such election if it was actually held. City Attorney Shah -Khan stated that if Council felt it was appropriate to pursue, Staff could prepare to meet with the City's delegation to support the introduction and passage of a local act of Prepared Food and Beverage Tax. He explained that there were issues for Council's consideration and one of them being the fact that the referendum would likely, if it passed this year, be held in November this year and also whether or not Council felt it was an appropriate tax to be levied by the City. Council Member Anthony questioned City Attorney Shah -Khan's statement that "if this tax came about that it would be earmarked only for the Monroe Science Center and Center Theatre." City Attorney Shah -Kahn stated that was correct and it would also be used for Downtown and tourism projects which was the original intent and typically those special revenues tended to be earmarked by the General Assembly. He stated that another part of the City's agenda also included incorporating the North Carolina League of Municipalities (NCLM) Annual Goals in addition to the other goals. Council Member McGee asked if this tax was only for prepared foods and alcohol. City Attorney Shah -Khan stated that the Prepared Food and Beverage Tax would be up to the General Assembly to further define what would be in there, but typically that was what they would charge it on and authorize the City to do. He stated that Council had the option if this local act passed, to request a referendum and let the citizens vote whether or not to levy the tax; however, Council could request that they receive the authority after conducting a public hearing to levy the tax on its' own, but Council's request last time was that it be handled by a referendum process. Council Member Anthony stated that she was in favor of a referendum since it would be the people who ended up paying it and she would be more comfortable if they voted on it; however, she was opposed to it being on the ballot in November. City Council Strategic Planning Meeting February 5, 2019 Page 50 Council Member Jordan asked if there was a sunset date on the current Hotel Occupancy Tax that the Monroe Tourism Development Authority administered. Communications and Tourism Director Pete Hovanec advised that the current revenue received from the Hotel Occupancy Tax was paying debt service on the facility and would help towards the operation; however, the main purpose of the Prepared Meals Tax would be to help sustain what Staff was doing, but also looking for future projects. Council Member Jordan asked if the Hotel Occupancy Tax went on forever. Mr. Hovanec stated that was correct as far as he knew. Council Member Jordan asked if he knew how much revenue was received annually from the Hotel Occupancy Tax. Mr. Hovanec stated that it was around $600,000 in a very good year; however, with the downturn of the economy it was about $200,000 to $300,000 per year. He stated that last year was one of the City's best years and the hotel industry as a whole was seeing an increase; however, it was starting to level out. Council Member Jordan questioned how $600,000 was broken down. Mr. Hovanec stated that with the debt service on the Monroe Science Center, it would be around (6w" $200,000 per year and there were other costs. Council Member Jordan asked what percentage had to be used for advertising and actual operations. Mr. Hovanec stated that during the first ten years of the Hotel Occupancy Tax, one-third went to operations and two-thirds went into a capital project such as the Science Center or the Center Theatre. He explained that after ten years which was about a year ago, it swapped and two-thirds went to operation and one-third went into a capital project. Mr. Hovanec stated that Staff did not use all of that operation money; however, it was used for Staff, salary and marketing and were able to quasi roll that money back into capital. He stated that Staff would still build up capital for future projects, but not as quickly and would be more limited as to what larger projects could be done in the future. Council Member Jordan stated that it was doing what it was designed to do and provided assistance after the initial setup. City Attorney Shah -Khan stated that if there was concern about one item, Staff would ask Council to approve the remainder of the agenda absent that item; however, the deadlines for action to be taken by the General Assembly in terms of sending bills to bill drafting started to impact at the end of this month. He noted that Staff was meeting with the delegation on February 20, 2019 and also attending the Town and State Dinner and appreciated Council's action. City Council Strategic Planning Meeting February 5, 2019 Page 51 (W Council Member Jordan questioned that if Council removed the Prepared Food and Beverage Tax as a part of the overall plan being presented to the General Assembly and presented it separately, would it change the timeline. City Attorney Shah -Khan stated that it would not change the timeline and if Council approved the remainder and Staff could still provide that information to the General Assembly. He explained that it would have impact if it was deferred for another month and then it would start impacting the bill drafting deadlines; however, if Council's concern was to not present it at this time and present it next year, then that could be done during the short session; although, Council would run into the same situation that happened last year. Council Member Jordan stated that his only concern was the other agenda items were very important from a standpoint of operation. He would hate to have all of the City's agenda items held up because of getting bogged down with the taxing of local citizens. Council Member Jordan stated that the General Assembly had always been very hesitant to move forward with something like that especially since it was a local action and not something that the NCLM could help the City push forward. He also noted that it was not something that any other city was going to be pushing for and he was not supportive of the City joining it. City Attorney Shah -Khan stated that if Council approved the entire agenda, Staff could note what Council's priorities were for moving forward with the delegation. Council Member Anthony made a motion that Council approve the proposed Legislative Agenda minus the Prepared Food and Beverage Tax. PROPOSED STATE LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY PRIORITIES 2019 LONG SESSION TO BE CONSIDERED AT FEBRUARY 5, 2019 CITY COUNCIL STRATEGIC PLANNING MEETING PROJECT/ISSUE ACTION ITEM Protection of Municipal Assets Staff continues to be concerned about attempts to transfer (City Attorney) municipal assets such as a water system or airport to new entities or authorities. While there is no impending threat, staff is concerned that the possibility exists. Staff recommends that Council authorize staff to oppose legislation that interferes with local management or ownership of local assets. Protection of Local Management of Staff recommends that Council support legislation that recognizes Public Utilities that management of a public utility is best determined by the local (Water Resources) owning entity due to their consideration of financing, engineering, and regulatory responsibilities. While there is no impending threat, staff notes the possibility may exist for legislation to take away utilities management from municipalities. City Council Strategic Planning Meeting February 5, 2019 Page 52 A PROJECT/ISSUE ACTION ITEM Staff recommends that the Council authorize staff to oppose legislation that would attempt to take management of utilities awa from municipalities. Local Elections Staff recommends that as local governments have the right to (City Attorney) determine their form of government, the Council should continue to oppose attempts to impose changes on its and other local governments' elections systems on a statewide basis. Staff recommends that the Council notes that local governments are best able to determine when local elections should be held and whether or not those elections should be partisan or non-partisan. Staff recommends that Council authorize staff to oppose legislation that would attempt to unilaterally change when local elections should be held and whether or not those elections should be partisan or non-partisan. Protection of Municipal Authority Staff is concerned with efforts to impact or modify municipal (City Attorney) authority. While the General Assembly has broad authority with respect to expanding or limiting municipal authority, staff is concerned with some efforts to limit that authority. Staff recommends that Council authorize staff to oppose attempts to limit municipal authority if those attempts arise during the long session. In addition to the items listed above, the North Carolina League of Municipalities adopted advocacy goals for 2019-20 biennium session of the General Assembly that the City has, in the past, adopted as part of its legislative agenda. The League adopted the 17 goals listed below at the 2018 Advocacy Goals Conference. Mayor Kilgore, Councilmember Anthony and Councilmember McGee participated in the conference and collectively voted on behalf of the City (Councilmember Anthony was the official voting representative of the City). Staff recommends that the Council adopt the League advocacy goals as part of this agenda. The League's goals are: 2019-2020 NCLM Biennium Advocacy Goals • Seek legislation to ensure that the amount of Powell Bill funds appropriated by the state are sustained and distributions to municipalities are increased and grow over time. • Seek legislation to boost funding availability for public transit and transportation programs. • Seek legislation that provides additional tools and financial resources for addressing the affordable housing crisis. • Seek legislation granting local governments the authority to build broadband infrastructure and to partner with private internet service providers using long-term infrastructure leases. • Seek legislation to alter the current statutes governing distribution of local sales taxes by requiring a one-year delay in implementation when a county or the legislature changes its method of distributing sales tax revenue. City Council Strategic Planning Meeting February 5, 2019 Page 53 • Seek legislation to provide municipalities with authority for additional locally -controlled revenue options and flexibility in the use of those options, including — but not limited to — city -only sales tax, [ city occupancy taxes, prepared meals taxes, and impact fees for transportation. �r • Seek legislation that supports adequate, fair school funding between state and county in all school systems across the state by repealing municipal authority to fund schools. • Support legislation which defends the fiscal integrity of the Local Government Employees' Retirement System and its defined benefit structure, promotes reasonable pension reforms that are prospective in nature, and meets the needs of local employees, employers, and retirees • Support legislation that will provide sufficient funding at the state level for incentive programs such as a competitive film incentive program, state historic preservation tax credits, and the Main Street Solutions fund necessary to grow jobs and the economy. • Seek legislation to provide additional grant funding to municipalities for equipment and facility needs for public safety (fire, police, ems). • Oppose legislation that shifts to taxpayers the costs of overseeing development and completing development -initiated infrastructure. • Support measures, such as additional funding, to enhance cities' ability to meet federal and state stormwater control mandates. • Oppose legislation that interferes with local management or ownership of local assets. • Seek changes to the law governing the disclosure and release of law enforcement recordings to clarify that disclosure to a municipal manager is allowed and to allow disclosure to a city or town council or citizen review board in a closed session and under confidentiality agreements. • Only support legislation providing additional post -employment benefits to public employees that includes a funding mechanism to fully support the cost and liability of the benefit and support the study of existing post -employment benefits, such as special separation allowance programs, to ensure that the liability of providing the benefit isn't solely borne by the last employer. • Support legislation to revise the current methods of determining economic needs that are used by the state to allocate funds so that additional areas of the state in need may benefit from increased economic development, jobs, and see more entrepreneurial innovation. • Support a system of spirituous liquor sales that maintains a local referendum about the decision to sell, preserves local control over the location and density of outlets, and preserves the local revenue stream. Council Member Jordan seconded the motion, which passed unanimously with the following votes: AYES: Council Members Anthony, Holloway, Jordan, Keziah, McGee, Mayor Pro Tem Anderson and Mayor Kilgore NAYS: None `✓ Item No. 3. Travel Policv for Elected Officials (Tabled from October 2, 2018 and December 4, 2018 Strategic Planning Meetings). City Manager Larry Faison stated that Council requested City Council Strategic Planning Meeting February 5, 2019 Page 54 refining the Travel Policy GA -02 reducing exposure and vulnerability to allegations of waste, fraud and abuse of governmental funds. He stated that the topic was initially referred to Council at the October 2, 2018 and December 4, 2018 City Council Strategic Planning Meetings. City Manager Faison stated that the initial reasons referring this Policy to Council involved two basic points: number of current travel practices were inconsistent with best practices and the existence of public scrutiny on travel expenses. He stated that each of those elevated his concern and intention with the current Policy and its' flaws and the point of increasing the Mayor and Council exposure and vulnerability. City Manager Faison stated that the two previous City Council Strategic Meetings did not discuss the following concerns and provisions of Council's Travel Policy: Section 1. Purpose — this did not clearly express the travel at the City's expense shall be for a designated public purpose; Section 7.A. Transportation — this did not set forth parameters to use the lowest cost means of travel out of state; Section 7.B. Lodging — this did not discourage lodging when the meeting or conference was within a reasonable commuting distance; Section 7.D. Spouse/Companion Travel Costs to State and National Conferences — this lacked requiring instance of official City business as a basis for reimbursement of companion travel expenses and; Section 8. A. Submission, approval and processing of reimbursement requests — items not reimbursable did not exclude or limit personal phone call charges billed to the City or the use of City credit cards. Council Member Keziah stated that he agreed with everything; however, it was difficult looking at something that broad. He recommended that City Manager Faison and City Attorney Shah - Khan bring the revisions back to the March 5, 2019 City Council Strategic Planning Meeting in Policy format and Council could discuss at that time. City Attorney Shah -Khan questioned if Council agreed or disagreed with any of the proposals or preferred bringing the policy back as requested. Consensus of Council was to bring the Policy back for their review. Council Member Anthony stated that City Manager Faison indicated the current Travel Policy for Elected Officials had flaws; however, she noted that whatever revisions were brought back would still have flaws because it was impossible to have a flawless policy Council Member Keziah made a motion for City Manager Faison and City Attorney Shah -Khan to revise the current Travel Policy for Elected Officials and bring the proposed revisions back in Policy format to the March 5, 2019 City Council Strategic Planning Meeting for review. Council Member Jordan seconded the motion, which passed unanimously with the following votes: AYES: Council Members Anthony, Holloway, Jordan, Keziah, McGee, Mayor Pro Tem Anderson and Mayor Kilgore NAYS: None City Council Strategic Planning Meeting February 5, 2019 Page 55 A (W 0 There being no further business, Council Member Keziah moved to adjourn the City Council Strategic Planning Meeting of February 5, 2019 at 4:44 p.m. Council Member McGee seconded the motion, which passed unanimously with the following votes: AYES: Council Members Anthony, Holloway, Jordan, Keziah, McGee, Mayor Pro Tem Anderson and Mayor Kilgore NAYS: None Attest: Y1�J W- Bri tte H. Robinson, City Clerk Minutes transcribed by Deputy City Clerk Sherry K. Hicks ��.(I/�� L,.__ .. :••• • City Council Strategic Planning Meeting February 5, 2019 Page 56