At this month’s Board of Mayor and Alderman, the board voted on a new alderman, recognized the accomplishments of a few different groups, and took steps to improve pay for city employees. The meeting’s agenda can be found here.
As expected, Mayor Michael Whisenant put forth Rachael Martinez’s name to fill the open 5th alderman seat. Martinez was the fifth highest vote getter in the August election. Receiving a unanimous vote, she’ll now serve in that seat until the next city election in 2020. You can listen to my election interview with her here.
Bernadette Roche, director of the FLC Library, gave the aldermen and mayor an overview of the programs and progress made in 2018. With over 34,000 visitors in the past year, the library has loaned over 54,000 items, hosted 250 programs, and provided free Internet and computer access to 12,000 local residents. The library team also partnered with all of the schools in the county to provide educational resources and programs to students and teachers.
During the standing committee reports, Fire Department Chief Coby Moon reminded everyone of the ongoing Toy Drive. Led by the Fayetteville Fire Department, Fayetteville Rotary Club and The Elk Valley Times, the drive provides Christmas toys local children up to the age of 12. The final Toy Buy Night will be on Thursday December 13th at Dollar General Market. With $13,000 raised so far, the Toy Drive is on track to bring Christmas presents to over 500 children right here in our community.
Chris Mitchell, Parks & Recreation Director, updated the Board on the Christmas lights display at Stone Bridge Park. It’s been a big draw for locals, especially with the music-synced light show. Mitchell already has plans to add more lights and setup to it next year.
The Board applauded two groups for their work in different areas. First, Fayetteville Public Utilities CEO and General Manager Britt Dye brought up employees that recently volunteered to work in disaster recovery efforts in North Carolina and southern Georgia. Dye praised the volunteers saying, “That’s what makes them so good at what they do. They get in there and go right at it. They don’t pass up any of the work to be done.” Whisenant agreed, “You represent us, not just here every day, but when you go into other communities. And when Mr. Dye gets that call from people at his level who say, ‘We want your people first’ – that’s an honor.”
Later in the meeting, Mayor Whisenant presented the Fayetteville Middle School football team with a resolution honoring their accomplishments as 3-peat champions. Reading the resolution, Whisenant applauded the team as one that “exemplifies the spirit, character, dedication, and commitment to excellence for which we should all strive.” Alderman Tonya Allen added that the team had put in over 243 hours of practice all while having five players on high honor rolls and nine players on honor rolls.
During the City Administrator’s report, Scott Collins noted that several city projects were advancing along their respective schedules. The city team continues to work closely with the County Commission representatives on plans for the recycling center. Collins plans to have more information on those efforts to present at the January BMA meeting.
Collins also mentioned a fact-finding trip to Ninth Grade Academy during the holiday school break. It’s a preliminary look at if the building could be updated for use as a new recreation center. If the building proves to be a feasible option, Collins will approach the county on the possibility of a joint-effort partnership in the project.
Let’s walk through the votes and see what was decided. These were all passed unanimously.
- A resolution honoring the accomplishments of the Fayetteville Middle School football team, who are 3-peat champions.
- A resolution to fix the overtime pay issues with the fire department. The plan approves $83,439 in back pay for 23 firefighters. This plan will be submitted to the Department of Labor for approval.
- A change to the city employee pay scale. This moves from the current eight 5% step pay scale per level to twelve 3% steps. Finance Director Stacy Rozell proposed this as step one of a multi-step process to “bring our lower paid levels and lower paid departments up to their equivalents in other comparison cities.”
- A request for $5,000 for Christmas lights. These will be used for to purchase new lights for next year’s Christmas display at Stone Bridge Park.
The board also approved the permit for next month’s Martin Luther King, Jr. March, set for January 21st. It also set a public hearing for a new Floodplain Ordinance, set for January 8th at 5pm.
Mark your calendars for next month’s meeting on Tuesday January 8th at 5pm.