Town Council Winter Retreat Summary 2024

The Blowing Rock Town Council met for its Winter Retreat at the American Legion Building on January 29-31, 2024.  A variety of topics were discussed over the three days; on the last day, the following items were identified as 2024 priorities.

!. Paid parking with a target implementation date of April 2025; tied for #1 is additional parking with Town-owned locations to be assessed for potential by McGill (engineering firm)

2. Memorial Park – Phase II – financing options for either full project ($2.1 million) or modified project (w/out pickleball, $1.8 million) to be reviewed.  In either case $500,000 grant from state expected to be available.

3.  Mayview (Broyhill) Lake Spillway repairs

4.  Overall employee pay/benefit evaluation, including police officers (the interim chief suggested an across the board raise of 16% over the next two years (in addition to COLA increases) would be appropriate to help recruit and retain needed officers).

5.  Update and upgrade Town website

6.  Water tank maintenance RFP

7.  Creation of stormwater utility (this would be a separate charge on the water bill – $5/month was mentioned as the statewide median). A $5 fee for Blowing Rock was estimated to produce $135,000 annually.  This would “free up” a certain amount of General Fund expenditures for other areas and would allow additional work that needs to be done to be accomplished.

8.  Cemetery expansion

9.  Sidewalk master plan – McGill to be asked for an estimate to do this work

Also discussed, but not placed on the priority list were continuing work on a number of areas:  the downtown development code, additional water/sewer work, sewer expansion to properties now on septic systems, potential for bond referendum on ballot in November 2025 for water/sewer/paving, the potential opening of the Town daycare facility (projected for February 2025, with 4-5 children for starters), study of various historic landmark/historic preservation programs (benefits and burdens), the improvement of public safety communications (while the initial discussion was in reference to a potential Special Use Permit for a higher tower (or tree cutting?) on Green Hill, there was further discussion about the definition of the communications problems and in what ways improvement can be accomplished), possible relocation of police department to 321, town government increased space needs and planning.  

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