Category: Craven County Board of Commissioners

November 24th, 2017 by newbernpostadmin

In 1992, the same year Bill Clinton was elected to his first term as president, the City of New Bern installed a software system called Banner. It’s still in use today, even though the software developer got out of the municipal software business long ago and focuses on education institutional software now.

Only one person among the 450 who work at New Bern City Hall knows how to maintain the Banner system, and the company that makes it will stop supporting the version the city uses in early 2018.

The city’s aging software system has been a subject of conversation by city leaders for at least eight years, but because the “current” version is aging out in 2018, there has been an increased sense of urgency that began in March.

The city has zeroed in on an “enterprise resource planning” (ERP for short) software package called Munis by Tyler Technologies. Described as the Cadillac of municipal software packages, Munis is used by more than 1,500 counties and cities including 89 in North Carolina and two in Craven County (Craven County, which is installing the system, and Havelock).

Munis will be able to handle functions throughout city hall, including financials, human resources management, computer information services, utility billing, contract and purchasing, content management, project and grant accounting, comprehensive annual financial report, time and attendance, work orders, talent management and permits and inspections.

In New Bern, those functions are presently handled by six other software systems or some other workaround (including forms filled out by hand, in triplicate). Costs to run and maintain the systems run at $273,000 a year, and with needed upgrades would cost the city $3.94 million over the next 10 years.

The Munis system, on the other hand, would cost the city about $106,000 a year following an up-front implementation cost of $1.35 million. The 10-year cost with the new system would be $2.6 million.

So, in boffin-speak, the city would save $1.34 million over 10 years by going with the new system, plus have software that is more integrated and user-friendly.

The bid for the project expires at the end of this month, so there was a sense of urgency in moving forward.

The Board of Aldermen went over the specs during a work session on Tuesday, but inexplicably went ahead and OK’d the new system (6-1, with Mayor Dana Outlaw voting against, saying that he would rather gamble on the price going up than gamble on the budgeted contingency — $115,000 — being sufficient to pay for unforeseen costs).

Inexplicably? The meeting was a work session, not a regular meeting. The board has one more meeting this month, on Nov. 28, before the bid expires. Typically, among most local elected bodies, work sessions are intended to work out bugs and regular sessions are intended to take action. Both run off agendas that are publicly available, both types of meetings are public, but regular sessions tend to be better attended by the public and media.

It amounts to a lame-duck board (four new members — a majority of the seven-member board — take office in December) committing to spend more than a million bucks during a work session just weeks before the new members take their seats. Erp!

Regardless of anything else, Outlaw said, because of the outdated system now in place, “This board or the next will implement a new system.”

Aldermen-elect Sabrina Bengel and Jameesha Harris attended Tuesday’s work session as private citizens. (Aldermen-elect Bobby Aster and Barbara Best did not.) Mayor Outlaw gave Bengel and Harris the floor to express any concerns. Harris said she supports city staff’s proposal and would vote for it.

Bengel, on the other hand, had some questions. She wanted to know why the cost increased from when it was initially unveiled in October, to when it was re-presented on Tuesday. City staff accounted for some of the discrepancy, but not the majority of it. Bengel also wanted to know whether the system would be compatible with the city’s electric utility billing software, which handles $80 million per year in utility payments.

“I strongly support the new system,” Bengel said. “I’m just concerned about the missing pieces.”

Following the meeting, Bengel expressed concerns about a decision involving such high expense being made at a work session. She sent Mayor Outlaw a message about her concerns:

My overall comment is that a Work Session should be for review and comment only and not a vote, especially when spending that large amount of taxpayer dollars. I do understand that the voting part of the agenda was noticed but felt strongly that it should not have been included in the agenda. There was no representative from Tyler to really assure us of what the system can and can not do. I also was concerned that you did not have any comment from Jordan or Carl Toler relative to the AMI system and the pay as you go application.

Our citizens deserve better when it comes to spending large sums of money and this item should have been scheduled for a vote at the next regular meeting of the Board of Alderman.  There still is a regular meeting on November 28th so the vote could have taken place then and possibly a Tyler rep could have been present and still meet the Nov 30 quote deadline.  I like you agree that Tyler would have happily given us at least another 30 days on a contract of this size.

Going forward I will ask the Board of Aldermen to review our policy for Work Sessions. The most transparent thing would be that during Work Sessions we review and discuss items in an informal manner that will be coming forward for a formal vote in the future. Work sessions should be where we get and digest information on particular items and then allow us some time to do additional research or ask questions based on what we learned at the Work Session.  If an item must be decided due to deadlines, etc I would ask that a special meeting be called to make the vote.

I am committed to working towards a more transparent process for our Board and most importantly for our citizens.

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Craven County Board of Commissioners, Mayor, New Bern Tagged with:

November 16th, 2017 by newbernpostadmin

This article is a stub while I wait to receive the news release from Billy Joiner.

Meanwhile, here is his bio from the Town of Trent Woods website:

Commissioner/Mayor Pro Tem
Billy R .Joiner.jpg
  • “Resident for 39 years”
  • Worked for Sprint for 37 years
  • Married with 2 daughters, sons-in-law and 4 grandchildren
  • Retired from the West of New Bern Volunteer Fire Department with 20 years
  • Active member of Tabernacle Baptist Church
  • Crossing Guard of Bangert Elementary School
  • 20 years as a referee for youth basketball & umpire for youth baseball
  • Serves on Town’s Citizens Emergency Response Team
  • Shriner & Mason
  • Serves on local Community Watch program
  • Retired military E-8 after 4 years US Air Force  3 years NC National and 23 years US Army Reserve

Trent Woods resident

Posted in Craven County Board of Commissioners, New Bern

November 15th, 2017 by newbernpostadmin

Sometime soon, when you call 911 in New Bern for an ambulance, the 911 dispatcher may ask a lot of questions that, in the heat of the moment, may seem beside the point.

But the questions 911 dispatchers ask, and the answers they get in return, will save lives.

New Bern’s 911 dispatchers are rolling out a system called “Emergency Medical Dispatch.” The system is a combination of software and training that allow 911 dispatchers to ask medically pertinent questions and then give medical advice about how to save that person’s life.

The program was hatched in New Bern earlier this year, and in October the first phase of implementation began: software installation and training.

Expect to see a PR blitz including brochures and a video explaining the system.

Said Dr. Stanley Koontz, Emergency Medical Services coordinator for Craven and surrounding counties, “We’re trying to make our city safer. I think we can save some lives. This is a good first step.”

Craven County 911 dispatchers have already been using the Emergency Medical Dispatch system for some time, said Koontz.

If you find yourself in one of those situations, don’t worry that the EMTs and ambulance will be delayed while you are answering questions and delivering first aid. The dispatchers will have already taken care of those details simultaneously.



Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Craven County Board of Commissioners, Mayor Tagged with:

November 9th, 2017 by newbernpostadmin

Saltwater Creek LLC, a real estate company that lists New Bern lawyer Kelly Greene as its manager, has put in a bid for $109,000 for long-vacant commercial building on Broad Street.

The two-story office building is on a half acre lot at 509 Broad St. The Craven County tax office puts the building’s value at $310,000.

The building, constructed in 1950, was once the location for Craven County Council on Aging and more recently the Craven County Probation Office. The building has been vacant for years.

At one point there was a plan to turn the building into a business incubator and work was started. But drainage problems in the rear parking area put an end to that project.

Saltwater Creek LLC is listed as a real estate business. In the limited liability corporation filing, Greene lists the company’s address as 401 Middle St., the same location as the law firm in which he is a partner, GreeneWilson, P.A.

GreeneWilson, P.A., is located in the renovated Clark’s Drug Store at the corner of Broad and Middle streets, location of a famous desegregation protest sit-in in 1960.

The Craven County Board of Commissioners accepted the offer at its meeting on Tuesday, which will be followed by the property being advertised for upset bids in accordance with General Statutes. If no further upset bids are received, the county may accept or reject the final offer, according to a Board of Commissioners report.

209 Broad St. is located in a C-4 zoning district, which the city of New Bern defines as: The C-4 neighborhood business district is established as a district in which the principal use of land is to provide for the retailing of goods and services to the nearby residential neighborhoods. The regulations of this district are designed to limit the businesses which may be established therein in order to protect the abutting residential areas.

Posted in Craven County Board of Commissioners, New Bern, New Bern business and commerce

November 8th, 2017 by newbernpostadmin

Paid parking on Broad Street won’t be among the recommendations an advisory committee brings to the Board of Aldermen at its Nov. 21 meeting.

The Downtown Parking Advisory Committee also decided not to meddle with current parking rules on Broad Street, New Street, Hancock Street and Metcalf Street.

Both proposals were among several contained in a draft list of recommendations that came before the committee on Tuesday. The committee will finalize its plan on Tuesday, Nov. 14, before bringing its recommendations to the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday, Nov. 21.

The committee will likely proceed with its recommendation to start enforcing 2-hour parking limits in the core of Downtown New Bern and call for improved directional signage to get motorists to city parking lots at the Farmers Market on South Front Street and at the intersection of New and Middle streets, among others.

The two-hour parking limit would be in effect from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, excluding holidays. The purpose of the limit is to discourage downtown workers from using on-street parking and instead use city off-street parking. It is estimated that 300-400 on-street parking spaces downtown are being used by people who work downtown each weekday, in an area where there are only 464 on-street parking spaces.

Studies of downtown parking in New Bern report that employee-used on-street parking is costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost sales each year from motorists leaving the downtown discouraged over a shortage of parking.

The two-hour enforcement brings its own set of complications, namely enforcement. New Bern Police Chief Toussaint Summers, when asked about the chances of having parking enforcement officers ready starting on Jan. 1, 2018, formed a zero with his thumb and index finger.

He recommended the city hire up to three officers, plus a supervisor, to enforce parking downtown and also serve as community resource officers, much like those stationed at local schools, to enhance law enforcement downtown, develop good community-police relations, and adequately deal with parking enforcement.

It would take as long as four months to recruit, hire police officers to fill the positions once they are approved by the Board of Aldermen, and then six months more to receive field training and equip them.

It is possible that he could backfill the downtown positions with current police staff — the department has just one vacancy, the lowest vacancy rate since he became chief in 2011 (just to compare, Wilson’s police department has 16 vacancies and Kinston’s has 10). But Chief Summers said he would prefer to use his officers on the force now to fight drug use and sales in the city.

A suggestion by City Manager Mark Stephens that parking enforcement could be contracted out to a private firm was generally rejected by the committee.

Said committee member Danny Batten, “This is more than a financial decision. If we bring in contractors, who knows how they’ll treat our visitors, or how they’ll treat our business owners. I see value in having community resource officers.”

Rather than work out the details about enforcement, the committee decided it would simply recommend that 2-hour parking be enforced, and leave it to the Board of Aldermen and city staff to work out the details.

There would be a phase-in period once the 2-hour limit is enforced, during which motorists would receive a warning rather than a ticket.

The committee may also recommend the fine for a parking ticket be increased from $5 to $25, which would double if it isn’t paid after 30 days.





Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Craven County Board of Commissioners, Mayor, New Bern, New Bern business and commerce

November 5th, 2017 by newbernpostadmin

Lots of folks in downtown New Bern think they dodged a bullet when a downtown parking advisory committee leaned against recommending paid parking throughout downtown.

Except along Broad Street. Folks there are still at the shooty-shooty end of the barrel.

The committee will probably recommend that the city start enforcing the two-hour parking limit downtown. But anticipating an exodus of cars to nearby unregulated streets starting with Broad Street, the committee came up with the idea of installing paid parking kiosks charging a dollar an hour on Broad Street from the traffic circle to Middle Street.

Parking would be free on nights, weekends, holidays and election day, by the way.

Most committee members thought it would be a good idea to see how folks along that stretch felt about the idea. (Alderman Jeffrey Odham being the only exception.) So they sent out invitations.

Of those who responded, here’s what they said:

Gary Clemmons, partner at Chesnutt, Clemmons & Peacock

Clemmons said the law firm has been at 225 Broad St. since 1994 and downtown since 1985. He said his offices has three partners and 13 employees, but the 10-space parking lot at his building is generally reserved for clients. That means the 15 people in his offices park on-street, competing for the 50 parking spaces along the 200-300 block of Broad Street.

His employees face the prospect of paying $2,000 a year to park on the street near where they work.

That’s not even the tip of the iceberg. He said District Court’s criminal calendar draws 300-600 people downtown, and “those people have to have somewhere to park. They come and need to stay all day.”

He anticipates the crowds will take up spaces in nearby neighborhoods where it is free and there are no time limits.

“A lot of those people are elderly,” he said. “I don’t think you should impede people from accessing the court houses.”

“There are no other blocks affected,” he said. It’s unfair, he said, and gives other law firms elsewhere downtown at a competitive advantage where parking is free.

Meloni Wray, director of the Craven County Board of Elections

She said the county already has problems with voter turnout without having something like paid parking to further complicate the process. The Board of Elections has already voted in opposition to paid parking.

During elections where crowds actually show up to vote, such as presidential elections, there may be a three-hour wait, she said.

Jack Veit, Craven County manager

Craven County is one of downtown’s largest employers and landowners. He urged the city to look for other options and not seek a plan that amounts to “self-inflicted chaos.”

He urged the committee to hold off making any decisions about paid parking on Broad Street.

Terri Sharp, clerk of Craven County Superior Court

She said people travel to the court house for many reasons, including criminal cases. Her office handles adoptions, estates, trusts, foreclosures, name changes, boundary disputes, domestic cases, small claims, Department of Social Services cases, juvenile court … and on andon anonanonanon.

The courts also deal with jury selection, 150 jurors per term, two per month … all looking for parking places.

City Manager Mark Stephens

He said New Bern is a 300-year-old city that has been kicking the can down the road rather than solving parking problems, which have existed for 100 years.

He points out the conundrum in solving downtown parking issues. A shortage of spaces (caused in no small part by employees and managers taking up on-street parking) would be solved by enforced two-hour parking, but would not be practical on Broad Street, where visitors may need to park all day due to court calendars.

“Judge Alford is not going to recess every two hours so everyone can move their cars,” Stephens said.

Paid parking would provide an option for court visitors while at the same time discouraging people from parking there if their business is in the commercial areas of downtown.

Ward 6 Alderman Jeffrey Odham

He said he was opposed to having Broad Street interests come to the committee to give feedback. He said the advisory committee has spent several months working toward solutions, and advised against “outside influences” and “everyone’s individual opinion” interfere with the committee’s recommendation.

“We’re not going to make everybody happy,” he said. “We want to find a way to make everyone equally unhappy.”

“Other cities have the same situation as New Bern with paid parking,” he said. “We need to make it work here.”

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Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Craven County Board of Commissioners, Mayor, New Bern, New Bern business and commerce Tagged with:

November 5th, 2017 by newbernpostadmin

Going into extra innings, the city Parking Advisory Committee is meeting Tuesday to iron out recommendations it will make at an upcoming Board of Aldermen meeting.

The committee meets Tuesday afternoon at the Police Substation at New Bern Mall, because what better way to encourage public participation than holding a meeting in a police station?

The committee was supposed to present its recommendations to the Board of Aldermen on Oct. 24 but has gone two meetings past that date, including the one scheduled for Nov. 7. It has until Dec. 12 to present its recommendations, after which it dissolves. Two aldermen on the committee vacate their seats on the Board of Aldermen at that time, Dallas Blackiston, who lost his reelection bid, and E.T. Mitchell, who was appointed to the board and did not choose to run for it in October.

Momentum is steering the advisory committee to make these recommendations:

  1. Enforce the two-hour time limit on parking downtown (which already has two-hour time limits; who knew?).
  2. Install paid parking on Broad Street between Middle and East Front streets to discourage people from parking there instead of closer in to downtown where parking is free but limited to two hours. In other words, to keep downtown employees and business owners from parking on Broad Street.
  3. Expand the two-hour time limit zone to include New Street, one block north of Broad Street.
  4. Issue two free parking passes to residents who live in the downtown area and on New Street, and charge them for any additional passes, amount to be determined.
  5. Increase and enhance directional signs leading visitors to existing public parking lots.
  6. Install charging stations for electric vehicles.

Final decisions on the recommendations are expected Tuesday at the police bunker.

Aldermen Mitchell, during the meeting last week, said the committee is merely making recommendations to the Board of Aldermen, which will make final decisions. She said it to Broad Street business owners, government representatives and court house lawyers generally opposed to the idea of paid parking on Broad Street. They were invited to the meeting to express their reaction to the proposal, and then promptly ignored.

Meanwhile, Alderman Jeffrey Odham told the New Bern Post that he would like the Board of Aldermen to adopt all the committee’s recommendations and not listen to anyone who might have different ideas he described as “politics.”

The advisory committee has been hashing over downtown parking during weekly 60- to 90-minute meetings since mid-September. Downtown parking has been a problem in New Bern for 100 years, City Manager Mark Stephens said. (Yes, he really said that.)


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Posted in Board of Aldermen, Craven County Board of Commissioners, New Bern Tagged with:

November 1st, 2017 by newbernpostadmin

Stretch of Broad Street that a committee may recommend be singled out for parking meters. The section is between the traffic circle at East Front Street, and Middle Street. Other downtown streets would have enforced two-hour parking. Google Maps photo

City Manager Mark Stephens said his research leads him to believe downtown New Bern has had a parking problem for the last 100 years.

A committee set up by the city seeks to solve downtown parking problems after about seven or eight meetings.

Chaired by lame duck Alderman Dallas Blackiston as his swan song gig as alderman, the committee plans to recommend to the Board of Aldermen during an upcoming meeting that two-hour parking be enforced on downtown streets …

… Except for two blocks of Broad Street, between the East Front Street traffic circle and Middle Street. That stretch of city streets would be getting dollar-per-hour parking meters. About 50 parking spaces would be affected, by my count. (Count for yourself.)

Why treat Broad Street differently? The way the committee figures it, people fleeing two-hour parking would flock to the nearest street without two-hour parking, and that would be Broad Street.

That stretch of Broad Street is different than other downtown streets. It has no restaurants or boutiques or tourist destinations. It has county offices, courthouses, lawyer offices and the county elections office. Folks who park on Broad Street in that vicinity have serious business to conduct, not all that touristy stuff.

To discourage tourist traffic from descending on the 50 or so parking spaces along that stretch of Broad Street, the city would install parking meters with solar powered kiosks distributed at regular intervals into which motorists would pour their money.

The committee decided (with Alderman Jeffrey Odham advising against it) that lawyer offices, county government, local courts and the lone resident along Broad Street ought to be notified and given a chance to comment on the plan.

That meeting was Tuesday afternoon.

Lawyers, appointed and elected officials, and the only resident on that stretch of Broad Street showed up to oppose the idea.

Odham, while not saying “I told you so,” on Tuesday advised the committee to not fall prey to public comments after the committee did all that hard work over so many weeks while managing to avoid seeking input from people directly affected.

“We’re not going to make everybody happy,” said Odham. “We have to find a way to make everyone equally unhappy.”

The plan would commence around March if approved by the Board of Aldermen.

Check back later at New Bern Post later for more details about the plan.

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Craven County Board of Commissioners, Mayor, New Bern, New Bern business and commerce Tagged with:

October 25th, 2017 by newbernpostadmin

Alderman Bernard White was in charge of coordinating the opening prayer at the board meeting on Tuesday night. With the clock winding down until he leaves office after serving two terms, he let his wife of 47 years deliver the prayer.

Later in the meeting, one-term Alderman Dallas Blackiston asked that the remaining thousand dollars in his discretionary fund go to Parks & Rec, specifically Thalmann Field, the ball field named after the New Bern policeman who was killed in the line of duty in 2014.

Quarter-term Alderman E.T. Mitchell asked that the remainder of her funds (she did not specify how much that is) be distributed to Colonial Capital Humane Society.

The three aldermen, along with two-term Alderman Victor Taylor, are all leaving office, resulting in the largest turnover of seats on the board since way back in the last election in 2013, when four seats changed hands, or 2009, when six seats changed hands. OK, so maybe that’s not so unusual.

Coming back to the board is Sabrina Bengel, who recaptured the Ward 1 seat that she gave up in her unsuccessful run for mayor in 2013. Coming back to City Hall as Ward 3 alderman is Bobby Aster, the retired New Bern fire chief who had sought an appointment to the board when Pat Schaible stepped down in 2016; Aster ran uncontested.

New to City Hall are Jamee Harris in Ward 2, replacing Victor Taylor, who did not run; and Barbara Best in Ward 5, who spent 20 years working in City Hall as a tax clerk and, for a period, was interim tax collector, who beat Bernard White.

How the four new board members will affect the mix on the board is hard to predict, especially when there are two political novices (Best and Harris) taking seats. But there are some things that I assume will be interesting from the start.

First, Sabrina Bengel. She and Dana Outlaw were once friends but their friendship grew stale when both were aldermen and the two found themselves often voting on opposite sides. The end of their friendship came in 2013 when the two ran for mayor and became political enemies.

Bengel is an alpha personality and will be sitting directly across from fellow alpha personality Jeffrey Odham, who is a strong ally of Mayor Outlaw (the two are neighbors, and Odham replaced Outlaw as alderman when Outlaw became mayor),

No one prepares for meetings more than Odham … except Bengel, who has been a critic of Odham and Outlaw on her Friday morning radio show, CityTalk. This ought to be interesting.

Bobby Aster was fire chief, but also served in interim roles as public works director and city manager during his decades of service to the city. He is arguably more qualified to be city manager than City Manager Mark Stephens himself.

When Aster sought an appointment to the board to fill the Ward 3 vacancy left by Schaible, Mayor Outlaw, who has a knack for saying and doing the wrong things at exactly the right times, said (and I paraphrase here) that Aster would be a good choice if he was looking for expertise in firefighting, but Mitchell was a good choice if he was looking for expertise in everything else.

Kind of a dumb thing for Outlaw to say. And now Aster has won the seat on his own and may not be a big fan of Outlaw. Regardless of past relations, Aster has proven himself to be a dedicated, intelligent public servant, and I don’t think he will let personal history get in the way of wise decisions.

Barbara Best also has knowledge of the inner workings of city hall, albeit her role as a tax clerk was less prominent than Aster’s. Still, it is the clerks, secretaries and other keepers of secrets at an organization who truly know how things work.

Ward 4 Alderman Johnnie Ray Kinsey survived his reelection bid (Outlaw and Kinsey were the only two incumbents who faced challengers who kept their seats). Kinsey, a dedicated father who started and runs a successful fitness center after serving time in prison, has been a steady supporter of Outlaw and Odham and I don’t expect that will change.

And what of E.T. Mitchell? A former naval intelligence officer who has made the rounds on boards and commissions in New Bern over the past decade, Mitchell did not run to keep the Ward 3 seat she was appointed to. But she has been talking about running for Scott Dacey’s seat on the Craven County Board of Commissioners. Dacey will be stepping down and is running against U.S. Rep. Walter Jones in the 2018 Republican primary.






Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Craven County Board of Commissioners, Mayor, New Bern, Opinion Tagged with:

October 21st, 2017 by newbernpostadmin

OCTOBER 24, 2017 – 7:00 P.M.

1.  Meeting opened by Mayor Dana E. Outlaw.  Prayer Coordinated by Alderman White.   Pledge of Allegiance.

Randy’s note: Bernard White, who lost his reelection bid, began closing out his term by having his wife of 47 years deliver the opening prayer. Because wives should always have the last word.

2.  Roll Call.

Randy’s note: All present, if by all present you mean that aldermen Victor Taylor and Jeffrey Odham were not present. Odham and City Manager Mark Stephens were at a city manager convention. Not sure where Taylor was at.


Consent Agenda

3.  Consider Approving a Proclamation for Craven County Veterans.
Dobert Owsley, Chairman of Craven County Veterans’ Council, has requested a proclamation recognizing Veterans of Craven County. (See Backup)

Randy’s note: Seems like a proclamation for veterans would carry more force if it were located anywhere else in the agenda than the consent calendar. Just saying … 


4.  Consider Adopting a Resolution Closing Streets for Berry Merry Christmas.
(Ward 1) Amanda Banks, Event Chair for the Downtown Council’s Beary Merry Christmas, has requested to close the following streets for the identified activities on the dates and times noted:   a) the 200 block of Middle Street on November 24, 2017 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. for “Light Up the Season”; b) the 200 block of Broad Street and 300-500 blocks of East Front Street on November 25, 2017 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the Community Christmas Tree Lighting and Sledding; and c) the 200 block of Craven Street and the “Talbot’s Lot” on December 10, 2017 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. for the “Sledding Shopping Sunday” event.  A memo from Matt Montanye, Interim Director of Parks and Recreation, is attached along with a copy of the pre-event questionnaire. (See Backup)

Randy’s note: Come on  … it’s not even Halloween yet … 


5.  Approve Minutes.
Minutes from the October 17, 2017 regular meeting are provided for review and approval.



6.  Presentation of Accessible Pedestrian Signs.
Cheri Moyers, President of the Coastal Carolina Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of NC, will discuss changes in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and Americans with Disabilities Act with respect to accessible pedestrian signs at signalized intersections.  Ms. Moyers will be joined by Byron Hood, who will assist with the presentation.  A copy of the PowerPoint presentation is provided. (See Backup)

Randy’s note: The backup link contains some interesting information providing perspective about what it’s like to be blind, and the differences between various kinds of blindness. Ironically, the PowerPoint presentation in the link looks like a black and white photocopy of a photocopy and is, itself, somewhat hard to make out. See story


7.  Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving a Memorandum of Understanding for the FY2017 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant.
The New Bern Police Department (“PD”) applied for a 2017 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (“JAG”), which required no matching funds.  Grant funds have been received in the amount of $11,190 and will be utilized to purchase equipment for the PD’s fitness room.  Since the PD is part of a disparate jurisdiction with Craven County, a Memorandum of Understanding is required to document an agreement between the City and County that the funds will be used solely by the PD.  A memo from Chief Summers is attached. (See Backup)

Randy’s note: Info about Edward Byrne, a New York City policeman killed in the line of duty when he was just 22, and the memorial grant established in his name.

The grant money will be used to buy free weights. Last time I was at a sporting goods store, weights sold for a dollar a pound, so assuming that’s correct, and that’s a big, heavy assumption, they plan to buy more than 11,000 pounds of weights. 


8.  Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving a Contract with Tyler Technologies, Inc. for a Financial Software System.
At the Board’s March 24, 2017 meeting, a discussion was held about the City’s current financial software system and the need to consider options for a newer software system that is more efficient and has the ability to integrate with current and future systems.  The Board gave approval for staff to issue a Request for Proposal to seek quotes for a new system.  Krissy Culler, Assistant City Manager, will share a presentation on the proposals received and selection of the desired vendor, Tyler Technologies.  After the presentation, the Board is asked to consider adopting a resolution approving a contract with Tyler Technologies.  A memo from Mrs. Culler and J.R. Sabatelli, Director of Finance, is attached along with a copy of the proposed contract from the vendor. (See Backup)

Randy’s note: Go ahead, I dare you – follow the “See Backup” link and read the 119-page attachment.  See story


9.  Consider Adopting a Budget Ordinance to Establish the ERP Project Fund.
This budget ordinance relates to the previous item and will establish a project fund for the ERP in the amount of $1,250,000.  This project will be funded with debt proceeds.  A memo from Mr. Sabatelli is attached. (See Backup)

Randy’s note: Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, is a large-scale software program designed for modern businesses, both large and small. A simple definition is that ERP systems aid the flow of internal business processes and allow for communication between a business’s departments and its internal functions and data. Source

In other words, the system will integrate all the city departments into one system. See story

10. Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving a Declaration of Intent to Reimburse for the ERP Project.
This item also relates to the ERP Project Fund.  Pursuant to IRS regulations, items paid for prior to obtaining a financing agreement require a declaration of intent be adopted prior to or within 60 days of payment of the expenditures to be reimbursed.  A memo from Mr. Sabatelli is attached. (See Backup)

Randy’s note: See story


11. Consider Adopting an Ordinance Amendment for the Neuse Boulevard Phase II Sidewalk Project Fund.
(Wards 2, 4 and 5)  The Neuse Boulevard Phase II Sidewalk Project is now complete, and the project fund needs to be closed out.  The total of the project was $462,770, which was funded with $454,659 from grant proceeds and a transfer of $8,111 from the General Fund.  A memo from Mr. Sabatelli is attached. (See Backup)

Randy’s note: In short, the project is completed and the Board of Aldermen needs to give its final blessing.

Sidewalk on steroids. Google Street View photo

12. Consider Adopting an Ordinance Amendment for the Glenburnie Multi-Use Path Project Fund.
(Ward 4) The Glenburnie Multi-Use Path Project is now complete, and the project fund needs to be closed out.  The total of the project was $462,120, which was funded with $457,380 from grant proceeds and $4,740 from the General Fund.  A memo from Mr. Sabatelli is attached. (See Backup)

Randy’s note: This is that project that added extra-wide, multi-use sidewalks along Glenburnie suitable for pedestrians, bicycles, and space shuttle landings should they be necessary.


13. Consider Adopting a Budget Ordinance Amendment for the FY2017-18 General Fund Operating Budget.
This budget ordinance amendment appropriates funds from Public Work’s – Streets to cover costs deemed ineligible by DOT for the Neuse Boulevard Phase II Sidewalk Project in the amount of $8,111 and the Glenburnie Multi-Use Project in the amount of $4,740.  The amendment also appropriates $19,830 from the General Fund to cover costs deemed ineligible by the NC 911 Board, $15,876 to allow for PD’s special operations to attack the opioid epidemic, and it acknowledges receipt of $11,190 in grant funds from the 2017 Edward Byrne Memorial JAG Program for the purchase of fitness equipment at the PD. (See Backup)

Randy’s note: I’ve sent an inquiry to the city for additional information about the $15,876 to attack the opioid epidemic. Here is the response:

Chief Summers is at a conference & I (city public relations director Colleen Roberts) wanted to make sure to touch base with him about the New Bern Police Department budget and your inquiry.  He has responded that the money will be used for special investigative purposes. That is all the detail that can be provided.

14. Appointment(s). 


15. Attorney’s Report.


16. City Manager’s Report.


17. New Business.

See commentary

18. Closed Session.


19. Adjourn. 

Out in less than an hour

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Craven County Board of Commissioners, Mayor

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