2013 Burlington City Council Retreat
April 8, 2013
John Robert Kernodle Senior Center
Harold Owen opens the meeting with introductions and a brief overview of the day's topics.
1. Dialogue with State Legislative Delegates
State Senator Rick Gunn, State Representatives Steve Ross and Dennis Riddell
o Senator Gunn – discussed Senate Bill 515, Nutrient Management Standard Reform Act, for which he and Senator Trudy Wade are primary sponsors. The bill is an effort to revise the nutrient management standards put in place for the Jordan Lake Watershed.
• Michael Layne, City stormwater administrator, said this bill would not affect the City’s current work to comply with the Jordan Lake Rules.
o Mayor Wall asked each legislator to speak on the proposed tax reform bill and where they see it going at the state level.
• Representative Ross said when the bill is first introduced and you read the comments, they are sensitive about the revenues that flow to cities and dialogue was there to help protect the cities.
• Senator Gunn said that no (tax reform) bills in their current form would be passed. The Legislature is hoping to build a tax structure that is friendly to tax payers and businesses. Senator Gunn said that North Carolina was the seventh from the bottom in its tax structure and that they were striving to be in the top 5. He said a vote would take place on some type of tax reform package this year.
• Representative Ross said that North Carolina needed to be competitive with other states in order to bring development and jobs to North Carolina. He said the issue was the economy and that income tax was the high, which made developers look to locate in other states. Trying to get NC a place where businesses want to come to and making it fair, simple and transparent at the federal and local levels.
o Mayor Wall asked what was the most effective way to communicate with our representatives is with so many bills coming through that could have an impact on the City of Burlington.
• The response pointed to keeping in touch with the NC League of Municipalities and contacting the local delegation as well as the committee in which the particular bill was being reviewed to express concerns.
2. Public Transportation
Presented by Mike Nunn of the Burlington MPO
o Fixed route – 80% of future planning and capital costs
o 50% net operating costs
o Federal grant history:
o Provides 90% of all start up cost
o 80% of future planning
o 50 – net operating cost
o Operating expenses:
o Fixed route service - $68.00 per hour of bus service
o Start-up Estimated costs:
o 5 vehicles – 360,000 each
o Total 2,100,000
o 5307 grant – based on ridership –
o Needs Assessment/Plan update
o Update of 2006 transit feasibility study
o Analyze 2010 census data
3. City Code/ City Charter Update
Presented by City Attorney Charles Bateman
o Need to look at charter and time to look at ours and cleanup and do things locally and will require a consultant and will get a price
o City code – lots of inconsistencies and needs to be looked cleaned up and updated at least three to five years and was time to update.
o Asked council to go forward with the update.
o Ward stated that the update was needed and over time the law changes and interpretation changes and it’s a good time to move forward.
o Consensus was to go forward and bring the cost back.
4. Status Update on Comprehensive Fire Services Implementation
Presented by Fire Chief Jay Smith
o A potential site for Station Six location has been identified in the southwest portion of the city.
o Utilities service in the area, it is close to things that need fire service, travel is time and time is key
o The Fire Department has worked through manager and city attorney
o Came down to a specific location
o Bonner-bridge parkway proposed site – good location, close to school, interstate and university drive.
o Charles Bateman – fire station sites need to be where the business is and we were lucky to get this land at a reasonable price. We have an option to purchase $185,000.00, 2.25 acres and would include an easement for water and sewer. We will need to get a conditional rezoning for use of a fire station. We anticipate closing within four months.
o Wall recommended moving forward.
o Consensus of Council was to move forward with the acquisition of the land identified for Fire Station #6.
5. Proposed Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Ordinance
Presented by Planning Director Amy Nelson
o A Comprehensive Plan is a City’s long range policy statement, outlining future development and addressing citizens’ future needs and desires. It provides needed coordination to assist Council in preserving community values and using public funds wisely to provide and maintain facilities as development occurs.
o The plan will inventory and analyze existing land use, growth trends, natural resources, population, economic factors, public facilities, environment and natural resources.
o The plan will make recommendation for redevelopment of again commercial corridors and the general development of the City.
o Elements of a Comprehensive Plan include:
• Future Land Use
• Quality of Life
• Regional Issues
• Recreation, Parks & Environment
• Public Infrastructure & Facilities
• Economic Development
• Neighborhoods & Housing
o The plan will include:
• A vision statement
• A plan to manage anticipated growth
• Strategies to focus on economic growth target areas
• Goals and policies related to housing, infrastructure and environment
• Implementation Plan
o Old plan is out of date. Development has changed since its inception. The economy has shifted significantly.
o Plan will lay the foundation for Burlington’s first Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).
o A UDO is a re-write of the City’s land development ordinances, combining sections like zoning and subdivisions into one easily-understood document.
o A UDO will create guidelines to focus on key districts like downtown and redevelopment zones. The document will help developers and citizens discover what they need to know faster and with more accuracy.
o 2 year time frame on Comprehensive Plan and 3 year time frame on Unified Development Ordinance.
6. East Burlington Update
Presented by Planning Director Amy Nelson
o Over 150 people came out to the first meeting. Good information was shared and received.
o Some problems were relatively easy to address through CBC.
o Other problems are more complicated and center around economic development
o Approximately 30 volunteers will meet on April 11th to move forward with completing a plan for suggestions to improve East Burlington.
7. Health Care Program Model
Presented by Chris Harrison and David Moore
o Eben Concepts is a national consulting firm that has been working with the City since 2008.
o The City’s healthcare plan remains “Grandfathered.” Rate increases have remained minimal. The Wellness Clinic is a very successful design and is used by Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC as a model for other organizations.
o The City’s medical plan passes PPACA Affordability Testing and continues to provide excellent benefits to employees
o Primary Marketplace Changes include:
• Individual Mandate
• Employer Mandate for employers with 50+ full time employees
• Healthcare exchanges
• Modified Community Rating for Groups with under 50 employees
• Age compression and removal of gender rates
o Partially Self-Funding eliminates profits earned by insurance companies and applies a minimal risk to the plan sponsor (City) with reinsurance program.
o The City consistently operates better than Blue Cross/ Blue Shield’s “expected” costs and significantly lower than “maximum” costs.
o The proposed medical insurance carrier budget for 2012-2013 is $6.3M where actual costs were $4.3M thanks to partial self-insurance
o In the past 11 years, the City has saved $10M from the “expected funding” for the medical plan.
8. Additional Topics
o Celo Faucette would like to add an agenda item to the next Council meeting regarding water provision for a home on White Kennel Road
o Bob Ward asked that the proposal of increasing the number of City Council members be considered. No action is needed at this time, but Ward distributed some research to the Council for review.