02/02/07 — City council eyes staggered terms plan for members

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City council eyes staggered terms plan for members

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on February 2, 2007 1:51 PM

NEW BERN -- Instead of voting for all six Goldsboro City Council members in future elections, council members decided at their annual retreat Thursday to look into staggering terms.

The idea, suggested by City Manager Joe Huffman during the second day of council members' three-day gathering, would still allow council members to have four-year terms, but half of the members would be up for re-election one year while the other half would have to wait.

"If we're going to do it, we need to do it now," Huffman said.

All of the council members and Mayor Al King are up for re-election next November. If the council wants to change its members' terms, Huffman said the city would need to change its charter and make sure that any changes are acceptable with the General Assembly and the Department of Justice.

Councilmen Chuck Allen, Jimmy Bryan, Don Chatman and King agreed that staggered terms are necessary for future councils, while the Rev. Charles Williams and Jackie Warrick voted against the change. Councilman Bob Waller said council should study the issue, but didn't vote one way or the other.

Huffman told the council that he and his staff would determine how to implement staggered terms.

Council members also discussed infrastructure issues facing Goldsboro.

As the city continues to grow, more residents in and outside the city limits are requesting more services, Huffman said.

Historically, the city hasn't provided many residents who live outside its limits sewer services, Allen said.

City Engineer Terry Gallimore told council members that the city usually only serves schools outside of its limits. But there are exceptions, such as some churches, Woodard Retirement Home, Goldsboro Milling's truck wash, Walnut Creek, Fremont and Case Farms.

According to a city ordinance approved in 1982, the city can provide water and sewer connections upon the receipt and approval of a voluntary annexation. If residents or property owners choose to be included in the city, the city can provide those residents with water and sewer, Gallimore said. Some of the costs can be also be passed along to the developer asking for services to be provided to his subdivision, he added.

Also, if the city has the available money, the council can choose to extend any services to the existing city limits, according to the ordinance.

The council agreed that it will always consider the possibility of extending services to residents, but also agreed with Huffman's suggestion that ensuring new businesses and homes in the city limits have adequate water and sewer services is a priority.

"Our No. 1 priority is Goldsboro and those in the city limits. We don't want to overcapacitate, but if we have the capacity we should sell it off," Bryan said.

In addition to services, council members also discussed roads. Officials said many city roads are scheduled for resurfacing in 2007.

The city plans to resurface more than 27,000 feet of 25 different roads at a cost of about $682,000 during the next year. The road in the worst condition on the list according to its pavement condition rating is Clarence Court beginning at Salem Church Road. While some of the roads on the list have as high as a 98 rating on a 100-point scale, Clarence Court has a rating of 14.

Other roads in dire need of improvements are Acorn Road beginning at Oak Forest Road and Lynn Avenue from Redwood Trail to Deluca Road, Gallimore said. The longest improvement will be the more than 4,300 feet of Slocumb Street from Olivia Lane to Dixie Trail.

All of the improvements will be paid for using street bond money that is still available from a 1998 referendum. Gallimore said he has about $747,000 available for the estimated $682,000 project.

Council members also discussed trash collection.

Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. executive director Julie Thompson presented a plan to limit the number of dumpsters downtown and to improve trash collection.

The plan's policies require that restaurants share dumpsters or contract out their services to a private company. The city would allow commercial and residential areas to use roll-out carts that would be picked up by the city's General Services Department.

Applications would be filed with the city. Residential cart service would cost $15 a month and commercial carts would cost $40 a month.

The council agreed to start the program on the north side of the 100 block of East Walnut Street and both sides of the 100 block of East John.