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Council to decide on utility policy

Council to decide on utility policy


Morganton City Hall and city offices will reopen to the public today.

The Morganton City Council will hear a suggested change to the city’s utilities policy at its meeting Monday night.

A proposed change to the city’s policy came after a large presence at the council’s September meeting, and again at City Hall on Sept. 25, according to information from the city.

The new policy would allow the city to accept:

» Any non-expired formal identification document with photograph issued by the federal government or any of its agencies.

» Any non-expired formal identification document issued by any state government or agency.

» A non-expired passport with photograph issued by the government of any nation.

» A non-expired driver’s license or military service ID with photograph issued by any nation.

However, the city would not accept matricular consular or similar documents issued by any country’s consulate, any identity document or form issued or created by any city, country other local government entity or any private individual or corporate entity, information from the city said.

City staff members believe the policy change would match up with state law, information from the city said.

“Additionally, we believe that the policy amendment and clear language balances the business decision with the humanitarian decision,” the city said.

In addition to the utility policy change, the council also will disburse entitlement funds to local nonprofits.

The city’s fiscal year 2019 Action Plan said that it would give $22,235 in Community Development Block Grant funds to organizations that met the goals and requirements of the program.

The Outreach Center requested $9,845 to purchase an electric pallet jack and two new computers. The city has found the actual cost of those items to be $5,399, and staffers have recommended that as the grant total.

Options requested $11,000 for HVAC repairs, heavy-duty bunk beds with mattresses and bedbug covers and a new dishwasher, plus $1,000 for the Client Housing Assistance Fund to help women and children transition out of the shelter, information from the city said. The city found the total for the HVAC repairs, bunk beds and dishwasher to be $9,930, and city staff recommended the organization be granted $10,930.

The Meeting Place requested $4,500 to assist with drainage repairs for its shelter, and city staff have recommended awarding the full amount requested, information from the city said.

City staff have recommended awarding Olive Hill Community Economic Development Corporation the remaining funds, $1,406, after the group requested the full amount available to stimulate home ownership opportunities for low and moderate income home buyers.

Two other applications were received but will not be receiving funds. The House of Refuge was not eligible because it received funds for two consecutive years, and Burke United Christian Ministries was not funded this year, information from the city said.

Public hearings also will be held for three zoning amendment changes:

» An amendment to make it so that “accessory buildings” like storage buildings and separate garages would not be larger than half of the square footage of the house

» An amendment to allow banquets and events so long as they aren’t the primary purpose for a building within neighborhood conservation overlay districts

» An amendment to make zoning conditions for restaurants the same for both drive through and non-drive through restaurants

The council also will consider awarding a contract to purchase a trailer mounted high sewer vacuum system from Vermeer Mid-Atlantic for $42,600.

The city budgeted $45,000 to replace the department’s previous unit, and the total from Vermeer Mid-Atlantic was $2,240 less than the amount the unit was listed for through the state’s contract with Vermeer Sourcewell Landscape Equipment, information from the city said.

City staff also are looking to make better plans for parking in downtown Morganton with the request to award a contract for a downtown parking study.

Gannett Fleming has been tapped by city staff as the group to facilitate the study at a cost of $40,000, which the city’s Main Street department already has set aside in its budget, information from the city said.

Council members also will decide on giving city staff the go ahead to write an amendment to the zoning ordinance to allow the cutting of standing timber, at least in some zones and subject to certain restrictions, information from the city said.

Other business on the council’s agenda include:

» Approval of minutes from the council’s Sept. 9 meeting

» Appointing a tax collector and directing them to collect taxes

» Three budget amendments for CoMMA

» A budget amendment for the water department to appropriate funds from a customer for water line improvement

» Amending the schedule of fees and charges to make changes to the electric rate schedule for the industrial coincident peak rate class

Chrissy Murphy is a staff writer and can be reached at or at 828-432-8941. Follow @cmurphyMNH on Twitter.

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