Annexation policy gets approval

Mar. 13, 2013 @ 06:31 PM

Commissioners have approved a policy on annexation in exchange for connection to city water and sewer systems.

In a 4-3 vote, the approved policy options will require property owners petitioning for water and sewer service to be annexed, allow the city to consider relevant factors in determining if annexation is required and defer annexation for a specified period of time.

Commissioners Robert Williford, Ron Bullock, Frank Strickland and Betty Moseley voted for the policy. Howard Herring, C. J. Harris and Danny Currin were opposed, but had endorsed Herring’s amended motion with a single option of the city annexing property owners wanting service.

The city manager and city attorney were asked to formalize the policy.

Commissioners approved a budget amendment of $50,000 for a study of water and sewer rates to be conducted by Raftelis Financial Consultants. Harris said he voted against the amendment because a study is not yet required and doing it early is an unnecessary expense. Bullock said it might save money in the long run by revisions in rates.

Mayor Jackie Sergent presented retired police Lt. Gordon Blackwell his service sidearm saying, “I want to say how much we appreciate the service you provided for so long and so well to the city.”

Police Chief John Wolford added, “When I think of Gordon, I think of terms like duty, honor, service, integrity. I want to tell him he’ll be missed and God speed.”

The commissioners approved a recommendation by interim city manager Leonard Barefoot to accept a $42,725 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to purchase a Breathing Air Fill Station and appropriated $2,136 to provide a 5 percent match. Fire Chief David Cottrell said he would attempt to sell replaced equipment and use the funds to reimburse the city for the matching funds.

Sergent opened a public hearing on a budget amendment for the Raleigh Street Community Development Block Grant Community Revitalization Project. No one spoke at the public hearing.

After the hearing was closed, the commissioners voted to amend the project budget by transferring $20,000 from clearance and relocation to the rehabilitation line item. The move was made after it was found that a structure originally designated for demolition could be rehabilitated.

The board reappointed Helen Mitchell and Randolph Lockett to the Community Appearance Commission for three-year terms.

The board amended the Oxford Personnel Policy to prohibit hiring family members as part-time, seasonal and contracted positions in the same work unit. The policy already prohibited hiring family members to permanent positions in the same work unit.

The commissioners heard reports from:

• Susan Wicker, who presented the annual report of the Historic Preservation Commission.

• Williford, who provided a Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments update.

• and Finance Director Steve McNally, who presented the February financial report.

The board approved the following street closings:

• May 11, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., for the Strawberry Festival; Main Street from Williamsboro to Spring, Littlejohn and Court streets.

• May 11, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., for a 5K road race in conjunction with the Strawberry Festival; Spring Street from Cooper Avenue to Belle Street.

• June 20, July 18 and Aug. 22, from 6 p.m. to midnight for movie nights.

• Sept. 14, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., for the annual N.C. Hot Sauce Contest.

• Dec. 6, noon to 8 p.m., portions of Main, Hillsboro and Williamsboro streets for the Lighting of the Greens and Christmas Parade.

• May 23 and Sept. 19, 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., portions of Littlejohn and Gilliam streets and the Littlejohn parking lot for the chamber of commerce’s Alive After Five events.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.