03/19/14 — City sets annual retreat agenda

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City sets annual retreat agenda

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on March 19, 2014 1:46 PM

The Goldsboro City Council will begin its two-day retreat Thursday at the Goldsboro Public Works Complex on Clingman Street to discuss an array of issues affecting the city.

The retreat will begin at 8 a.m. Thursday and Friday with breakfast before council members head into a review of last year's retreat and begin a city planning exercise.

After a break for lunch, Goldsboro Finance Director Kaye Scott will make a presentation about the city's automatic meter readers which have been failing at a high rate.

The problems have plagued the system since the meters were outfitted in 2007 with a device designed to read the meters wirelessly.

The devices, called fireflies, were installed on the city's 15,000 water meters at a cost of $1.6 million.

Following the discussion about the city water meters, Mrs. Scott will make a presentation about the city's health insurance.

The city provides its own health insurance, which took a hit last year from high claims.

During the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the city's general fund decreased by $1.4 million due to the high insurance claims. In response to the claims, city insurance premiums were increased 17.5 percent.

The City Council will wrap up the day with a tour of the Public Works facility and a mid-year finance update.

Beginning Friday morning, the council will discuss progress toward making the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course more self-sustaining.

The golf course has been a drain on the city budget since the city took over its operation in 2001. In the last 13 years, the course has never met its goal of covering 70 percent of its expenses.

In October, the course was on schedule to cover 88 percent of its operating expenses with those levels to decrease during the colder months.

The retreat agenda will continue with discussions into the city's $18.9 million Parks and Recreation bond referendum set to come before the voters in May.

If approved, the city property tax would increase a little less than $.03 per $100 of valuation bringing the tax rate to almost $0.68 per $100.

The proceeds from the sales of the bond would go to fund a new W.A. Foster Recreation Center, renovations to Herman Park and Herman Park Center and the proposed multi-sports complex.

Following Parks and Recreation discussions, Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. Director Julie Metz will discuss Preservation North Carolina houses up for renovation in Goldsboro and the requirements to renovate the houses.

After lunch Friday, discussions will begin to determine sidewalk and street resurfacing priorities across the city with the city Engineering Department.

A presentation will be given by Goldsboro police Chief Jeff Stewart on the annual crime report for the city followed by discussions of staffing and debt financing.

Beginning at 2:30 p.m. Friday, the City Council is expected to vote on issues discussed during the retreat.