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Statesville firefighters recently completed the necessary training for their new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), purchased with the help of a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG).  Following the completion of the classroom training, the firefighters completed an air consumption course to determine their air consumption capacities while going through a series of strenuous exercises. The training took place at the Fire Training Grounds where the firefighters climbed a series of stairs, hoisted fire hose 3-stories, climbed out of the tower using a ladder and then hustle to an area where they used a Kiser Sled to simulate additional work .  Their air consumption and blood pressure numbers were monitored. “Each person has different capacities and it’s important to know their limitations before they enter a hazard area wearing their SCBA,” said Deputy Chief Glen Kurfees. The old SCBA equipment is 10 years old and no longer meets current standards. The new equipment will increase firefighter safety, effectiveness, and efficiency, allowing for improved community service.   The total cost for the new equipment is $413,410; the FEMA AFG grant provided $375,827 and City Council approved the 10 percent matching funds of $37,582.  
Posted by ndavis  On Apr 07, 2021 at 8:40 AM
  
Focus on Infrastructure: One of the City’s hottest topics is “infrastructure”. It’s always been around, but because Statesville is growing, expect it to be brought up more frequently during Council meetings, budget sessions and in the local media as updates on these important, and expensive, projects begin to impact and improve Statesville’s quality of life. Here is a review of some of the projects, starting with two of the biggest infrastructure projects happening underground. WATERLINE INSTALLATION: Under construction is a $2.3 million water line extension, primarily built to serve Larkin Commerce Park, located on Amity Hill Rd. at exit 45 off I-77. The installation of the line at Larkin has been completed. Drivers along Amity Hill Rd. on the west side of I-77 will see the installation continue along Amity Hill Rd. to the Pine Forest subdivision. The line will also extend to Moose Club Rd. These water line extensions will tie into the City’s existing water system and help in economic development efforts in Statesville’s southern end. SEWER REHABILITATION: Another major infrastructure project underway involves sewer line rehabilitation in the Sullivan Rd. and Margaret Drive (off Salisbury Rd.) areas. A camera was used to explore the existing sewer lines to determine which sections will need replacing and where it will be possible to insert a new lining into the older pipe. This is a $2.1 million project that will involve lane closures and traffic rerouting during the day. Customers will not experience any disruption in their sewer service during construction. While initially funded from the Water/Sewer fund balance, the City has applied for a loan to pay for both projects. INFRASTRUCTURE PRIORITIES The City keeps a running list of important infrastructure projects it hopes to tackle in the future. To balance the project needs vs. available resources (staff and funds), staff and City Council continue to prioritize them according to necessity, balancing how quickly it needs to be done versus what funds are available. On the list are areas where aging water/sewer lines need replacing, where stream erosion is threatening City infrastructure, and where lines need to be extended or enlarged to serve growing areas around the City. Although NCDOT handles most of Statesville’s road construction projects, the City does try to provide a significant financial share of the projects in order to accelerate the project. Recently, the City received word from NCDOT that the following road projects were being funded: The City has committed to help fund the construction of the Brookdale Drive connector from Brookdale Drive to US 21 (Sullivan Rd.) and the relocation of Bethlehem Rd. at the Statesville airport. The City’s total match for both projects is about $3.5 million. ABOVE GROUND INFRASTRUCTURE Not all infrastructure projects are under ground. Currently, the City is developing plans to build a new fire station on Wilson Lee Blvd to replace Station 1 on Meeting St. Plans for a new Operations Center are also being developed. This project involves expanding and refurbishing the current facility on Winston Ave. that houses Electric Utilities, Sanitation, Streets, Water/Sewer, and Fleet Maintenance. We’ll keep you updated on these and other projects as Statesville continues to grow!
Posted by ndavis  On Mar 26, 2021 at 10:38 AM
  
Human Resources Director Mildred Minor is retiring this month following more than 48 years of public service with the City of Statesville. Right out of college, Mildred Minor took a job in 1972 with the City’s Community Development Department as the Assistant Director and worked there until the program was abolished in 1983. That’s when she was hired as the Human Resources Director by then City Manager Dale Emerson. Recently married and anxious to impress her new colleagues at her first department head meeting, Minor nervously introduced herself using her maiden name. “There I was trying to make a good first impression and I couldn’t even get my name right,” Minor recalls. Working under eight different city managers and having numerous office locations, Minor has seen many changes in the City’s employee policies and processes. But through it all, “I’ve benefitted most from being able to make a difference in someone’s life. I have been able to sit down with employees and help them understand why things happened the way they happened. I have sat and listened and walked them through the different processes,” she explained. “It’s been very rewarding.” Minor has seen a number of changes in the human resources profession during her tenure. “Technological advancements associated with the way we do things in HR,” have been challenging, she said. “Also there have been many changes in market conditions, HR laws and regulations. I have been an advocate for the need to stay competitive in the job market in regard to pay. That has been a huge challenge.” But Minor said she has “always enjoyed the opportunities to engage and develop lasting relationships with employees from all levels within the organization as well as being afforded the opportunities to establish relationships with external groups. And I know I will take them with me into retirement.” Retirement for Minor means more time for teaching piano lessons and sharing her musical talents with her church, Logan Presbyterian Church, USA, where she serves as minister of music. “And of course, I’m going to spend more time with family. I’ll be driving my car up and down interstate 40,” she added, referring to visits with her son, Trevor, and grandson, Skyler. Minor is a Statesville native, who attended N.C. A&T, UNC-Charlotte and Mitchell Community College. She is a member of the N.C International Personnel Manager’s Association, the International Personnel Manager’s Association, Organizational Manager’s Personnel Association and has served on the Iredell United Way, Employment Security Commission’s Advisory Committee and Iredell County Personnel Association. City Manager Ron Smith said he has enjoyed working with Minor and considers her an “important part of the City’s management team. I appreciate her perspective and understanding of the human resources department. Her leadership will be missed.” Minor was honored at Monday night’s Council meeting with a special proclamation (see attached). Her last day is March 31, 2021. Smith will announce the new Human Resources Director next week.
Posted by ndavis  On Mar 16, 2021 at 2:14 PM
  
2020 Annual Crime Report Presented by Statesville Police Chief David Addison
Posted by ndavis  On Mar 04, 2021 at 11:10 AM
  
Statesville’s city-wide election scheduled for October 5, 2021, as well as dozens of other North Carolina municipalities, are likely to be impacted by the anticipated delay of the 2020 census data. Because Statesville’s election system includes six voting districts, there are several guidelines it must follow: (1) If the census shows a 5% increase or decrease in population, by law, Statesville’s districts must be redrawn. (2) The populations in each district must be comparatively even, with the population in the largest district no more than 10% of the population of the smallest district. (3) A directive specific to Statesville is that there must be two wards with a population that contains a majority of minority citizens. As it stands now, Statesville and other municipalities with voting districts are waiting for more information on the timeframe for receiving the 2020 Census data. It is not known if the N.C. General Assembly will take up the matter and make any changes to the state laws that guide municipal elections. By state law, most municipal elections are held in off-years. There are several alternatives; Statesville holds its election on the first Tuesday in October, followed by a runoff, if necessary, on the first Tuesday in November. The requisite for having two majority minority wards was issued in 1985 when the City’s method of electing members of the City Council was declared a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in Federal Court. The Statesville NAACP began the efforts to change the system around 1984, and many community organizations – including the Statesville Chamber of Commerce – supported the endeavor. The Federal Court and City officials were able to agree on a method and it went into effect for the 1985 election. Prior to that time, the City was divided into six wards, with a Council member representing each ward. This ward system determined the residency of the candidate, but the candidates were elected by all the City’s qualified voters. The Federal order amended this system and required that there be six single-member wards where the candidates for each ward seat must be a resident of the ward in which they seek election, and voted upon only by qualified voters of the ward to which seat they were seeking election. It also allowed for two at-large seats that would be elected by all the voters. This is when Council went from six to eight members and when holding staggered two-year elections began, with some seats open for election at different times. Wards 1, 4, 6 are held one year and wards 2, 3, 5, plus the two at-large members and mayor are held two years later. In 1985, the ward boundaries were redrawn, making wards three and six the majority minority wards. They have retained that designation since that time.
Posted by ndavis  On Mar 03, 2021 at 2:06 PM
  
By Ron Smith Statesville City Manager rsmith@statesvillenc.net Big decisions and projects take time. That’s why the best way to describe City Council’s most recent actions is “progress”. The decision to move forward with redeveloping the Vance Hotel, the approval of a location to house a new fire station one, and the authorization to finance two major utility projects are important actions that indicate Statesville is moving in the right direction on the future growth of the City. The Vance Hotel, the keystone of our beautiful downtown, has needed redevelopment for many years. There has been much interest in the hotel, and the City has received proposals with merit, but for various reasons have not made it to the point of execution. The redevelopment of a 100-year-old hotel is not an easy one, and the progress toward that redevelopment has been painfully slow. Over the last two years the City has been working toward a development agreement with a third party that will bring life back to the building. City Council approved that agreement at their last meeting. Is it perfect? Nothing is, but it is progress and my hope is that this project contributes to the betterment of Statesville. “The Rock”, or Fire Station 1, is located on Meeting Street downtown and is almost 70 years old. The engines and associated companies in that building run the most fire and medical calls of all four stations, but the building is tired and in need of major renovation. The City has been examining replacement options for several years, and at times it has been a contentious process. However, after reviewing several potential locations, one site has come to the top that will provide the best replacement coverage for Station 1. City Council unanimously voted to move forward with that project and we hope to have a new Station 1 within the next 18 months to two years. Finally, but not least importantly, the City Council moved forward with the financing of two major utility projects. The first is a major infrastructure project which includes updating the sewer lines along Sullivan Road and a portion of Salisbury Road. This overhaul is needed to fix longstanding problems with those lines. The second is an economic development project, which will finance the extension of a water line to serve the Larkin Commerce Park. This project will bring investment and jobs to Statesville, and hopefully kickstart this development that originally was annexed into the City some twelve years ago. Of course, there have been many past actions that have helped Statesville move forward. But it seems that these three major decisions, coming all in one meeting, are worthy of noting. They are the result of multi-month - and in some cases – multi-year efforts and will have long term impacts on the City’s future.
Posted by ndavis  On Mar 01, 2021 at 4:11 PM
  
“Rain, rain go away. We can’t pick up leaves when you come every day.” Statesville leaf crews don’t like it when the forecast calls for rain. It’s hard to pick up wet leaves. “It’s almost like sucking up dirt,” described Russell Brown, assistant Sanitation Superintendent. “Plus you end up sucking large amounts of water into the equipment. This isn’t good for the equipment and causes mechanical issues … also, leaves are heavier when they’re wet and harder to get vacuumed up.” The crews made their first run through the City starting in mid-October and finishing in mid-December. Holiday schedules, rain delays and larger piles of leaves on the curb have slowed down the second rotation. Currently, the crews are working in Area 3. This is northeast Statesville, east of N. Center St. and north of E. Broad St. The trucks are working north of Hartness Rd. and expect to be in Area 4 next week; weather permitting, of course. “If we get a break from Mother Nature, we should be able to finish up leaf season by the end of February,” said Brown. In the meantime, Brown encourages residents to consider using leaf bags. “We can pick up leaf bags a lot quicker and the bags keep the leaves from blowing away.” The bags are available in the Customer Service area of the City Office Building, 301 S. Center St., $2 for 20 bags. Updated schedules are available on the City’s website at www.statesvillenc.net/yardwaste. 
Posted by ndavis  On Feb 15, 2021 at 9:02 AM
  
The request for approval of a Master Development Agreement (MDA) between the City of Statesville and the Rainier Group, LLC, for the purchase and redevelopment of the Vance Hotel is on Monday night’s Council agenda. The MDA lays out the terms for the next steps in redeveloping the Vance Hotel, which the City has owned since 2012. According to the MDA, the project includes turning the Vance into an approximate 60-room hotel, along with making structural and aesthetic renovations to property such as a restaurant, bar and lobby, and renovating the parking deck to increase the number of parking spaces. In 2012, Statesville City Council, citing the need for more parking and control of the redevelopment of the Vance Hotel, purchased the hotel from the estate of Thomas Wilson for $475,000. Since that time, the City has been unsuccessful in reaching an agreement with a developer. Stephen Barker, representing Rainier Group, expressed interest in redeveloping the hotel following the City’s purchase, but, at that time, Council decided to focus on converting the hotel to residential housing. About two years ago, Barker contacted the City and reopened conversations about his plans. The proposed agreement states that the City will sell the Vance Hotel, the 47-space parking deck with lower level retail and the former Livery Building, described as a three-sided, open air building shell, for its appraised price of $47,000. The appraisal provided the current market value of these properties “as is”, taking into consideration their age, quality and condition as well as the cost to rehabilitate the building. The City will then pay Rainier $47,000 to purchase 20 leased parking spaces for 30 years. Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh describes the proposed agreement as a “net zero cost to the City”, explaining that past proposals have required the City’s financial participation; one asked the City for $2.8 million. The agreement also gives Rainier a year, with the possibility of two 90-day extensions, to go through with its due diligence and determine if the proposal to restore the Vance as a hotel will work. “I want to see the Vance Hotel successfully redeveloped. I am confident that its use as a hotel will energize the downtown and our economy,” said Kutteh, adding that economic benefits will include “increased occupancy tax revenues, increased rentals at the civic center, and increased commercial traffic.” Kutteh said that he realizes the reopening of the Vance Hotel may be several years away, but added that the “due diligence” period is very important in that it will allow Barker to begin cleaning up the building and get a better look at its structure and viability. “There are no guarantees in a project of this size. Redeveloping a historic hotel is a lot harder than building one from the ground up,” Kutteh explained. He referenced a similar project in neighboring Rowan County where recently, a four-year effort by the City of Salisbury and a developer to convert the historic Empire Hotel into market-rate apartments ended unsuccessfully. A public hearing will be held prior to Council’s discussion on the agreement so that interested persons can express their views on the project.
Posted by ndavis  On Feb 11, 2021 at 9:18 AM
  
The relocation of fire station one is moving ahead after Council’s unanimous approval Monday night to build the new station on property located on Wilson Lee Blvd between Garner Bagnal Blvd and Western Ave. Recently, Statesville City Council agreed that its highest capital priority is replacing station one. Also, it has had several discussions in closed session about selecting a site for the new station that will provide the best coverage for the area. Last night, all their efforts resulted in the decision to enter into an agreement with the development arm of the Statesville Housing Authority (Iredell-Statesville Community Enrichment Corporation) to obtain the Wilson Lee Blvd. property. In lieu of a direct purchase of the property, the City will instead install decorative lighting on Shelton Ave. between SHA offices on Allison St. and McElwee St., which will complement improvements SHA is making to their property and the surrounding campus. The agreement will also include the City’s commitment to, over the next five years, apply the SHA’s “payment in lieu of taxes” to projects that will benefit the SHA, which will in turn benefit the City. As part of the design, the City has agreed to put up a wall and/or vegetation, as well as to work with the fire department, to minimize station noise. City Manager Ron Smith described the agreement as “more about a partnership than a purchase … Through these efforts, we hope to build a station that is beneficial to the area as well as help the Housing Authority achieve its visions and goals as they move forward.” Staff will come back to Council on February 15 with plans on moving forward into the construction process, establishing a budget number and giving options how the project will be funded. Smith is enthusiastic about the site and the flexibility the property may allow for growth. He expects groundbreaking to occur this year and to hopefully be in the station by 2023, and estimates the cost to be between $5 and $5.5 million. There are no structures on the property that is bounded by Wilson Lee Blvd. on the west, Fifth St. on the east, Charlotte Ave. on the south and Wise St. on the north. Station One, located on S. Meeting St., was built in 1952. Station Four is Statesville’s newest station, constructed in 2011.
Posted by ndavis  On Feb 02, 2021 at 5:17 PM
  
City Council has voted to implement the AMI System.  Basically, AMI allows electric and water meters to be read remotely.   Because of the impact the AMI system is expected to have on City utilities customers, and in preparation for the citizen response to such an important project, staff has prepared an overview of the program with some frequently asked questions.   FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT AMI (Download FAQ .pdf) What is AMI? AMI stands for Automated Metering Infrastructure.  Some people call it Smart Metering or Smart Grid, but in plain language, it is electric and water meters that provide their readings remotely to the City in an automatic, daily fashion.  These meters usually have secondary functions that will help the City deliver better customer service.  How Does the AMI Meter Work? With AMI meters, Statesville will be able to read, receive alerts, disconnect, and reconnect power remotely.  The AMI meters “talk” electronically to a base station for a few seconds each day.  During storms or situations where the meter is experiencing trouble, the meters will “speak up” and alert the base station.  This means that in the future, meters can report an outage before the customer can dial the digits for the outage line on their phone.  The City will be able to get an automatic map/picture of outages so that crews can be directed to find the outage faster than we can now, in most cases. The meters have a host of special features, some of them are: Electric Water Can Self-Report Outages The meter reports itself out, and back on instantly so even a customer out of town can have a good chance of getting their service restored. Can detect water leaks that occur over time The leak information can be supplied to customers, helping prevent possible structure damage or high water bills. Leaks are a waste of water, a precious resource Can sense when a meter base is too hot, which is a likely result of a bad connection in the meter base. At best, poor connections create hot spots, which can increase customer bills for no benefit. Poor connections, left uncorrected, can become dangerous ones that may start fires. Can detect reverse water flow Reverse water flow means that potentially contaminated water is entering the clean water pipes, possibly making people sick.Finding such problems and correcting them improves public health. Provide engineering data to help lower power line losses—cutting power line losses is a direct savings to the City’s customer/owners. There are too many examples of this to mention, but accurate meters reporting data on sections of line simultaneously in a discrete time period can show areas with unbalanced loads that create unnecessary line loss. Can detect major pipe breaks as a special alarm A person digging near a customer’s pipe may inadvertently damage the pipe and not realize the damage until a yard is flooded from a “spring”. Catching this immediately can save a lot of damage. Can detect attempts to steal power— Preventing power theft saves the City’s customer/owners money and dissuades thieves from performing dangerous electrical modifications that could hurt or kill them or children. Provide engineering data on water system pressure, alerting staff to potential pipe damage, enabling the City to spend Water fund capital monies in a more cost effectively. There are too many examples of this to mention, but accurate meters reporting data on usage and pressure for sections of pipe simultaneously can show areas with pipe cracks or breaks. Automatic Disconnect/Reconnect (for most house type services) Allows less wear and tear on meter bases (all meter bases are owned by the building owner) The Fire Department could potentially turn power off to a house fire, making it easier for Fire Fighters to put water on a burning building. In the future, the City may offer a pre-pay service.(This is contingent on the City’s billing system completing a pre-pay module). Can detect attempts to steal water— Preventing water theft saves the City’s customer/owners money and dissuades thieves from potentially introducing contaminants in the City’s potable water system that could make people sick. What are the benefits of Customer Portal? This tool will empower customers to have the best data available to understand in a real way how their usage patterns affect their bill:  The customer will be able to: Access and review electric and/or water meter usage on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis Compare usage to weather data. Receive notification of alerts about usage levels (if requested).   What is the cost and cost savings to converting to AMI? We expect the City’s all-in cost for AMI to be just under $6.7 million dollars.  From a financial perspective, we expect savings in excess of $900,000 annually from this system, most of which will come from reduced electric and water system losses and significantly reduced meter reading costs.  Adjusting for inflation and expected growth of the City, we expect AMI to have an eight-year payback, an approximate 10% rate of return.  In 2020, a 10% rate of return on a project that also brings significant non-financial or hard-to-quantify benefits is excellent.  Because of unusually good financing available to the City at this time (completely self-financed between the Electric, Water, and Sewer Funds), AMI implementation can be done without raising utility rates to pay for the project. What is the timeframe for installing the AMI system? If Council approves Full Implementation of AMI, we expect implementation to be done in about 12 months.  Most customers should experience one brief outage for their electric meter swap (about 15 minutes) and for their water meter swap (about 30 minutes).  The City will notify customers before their meter is upgraded. The City plans to use contractors to make the meter changes who will provide proper identification and paperwork when requested.  City officials will acknowledge contractors working for the City if called at City phone numbers, etc.
Posted by ndavis  On Dec 31, 2020 at 12:37 PM
  
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