The Blue Ridge City Council held its regular meeting on June 13th 2017. The meeting began with approval of previous meeting minutes and moved on to action items.
The items on the agenda were the 2016 budget amendment No.2, Burn Permit Ordinance (first reading, Work Detail agreement, Carter & Sloope Task Release No. 12 (Downtown West Water Main Upgrades, Phase II), Swimming lessons contract with Rene Mashburn, Downtown Park Grant, & Parking and Streets. See Full Video of meeting:
The meeting moved quickly until the Parking and Streets which was added to the agenda by Blue Ridge City Council member Angela Arp. Discussion regarding changing the current ordinance from 2 hour parking in certain sections to 3 hour between particular hours of either 10am to 4pm or 9am to 5pm turned into a motion. The motion carried with Blue Ridge City Council member Rhonda Thomas voting no and voicing her concerns stating she would prefer to perhaps hold a town hall or discuss with downtown business owners. Arp claimed she had spoke with business owners however local business owner and President of the Blue Ridge Business Association, Cesar Martinez, stated he had never discussed this with her.
The council approved the purchase of two additional cameras for the pool and an invoice for Welch, Walker & Associates was approved as well. Discussion was had regarding work on streets in downtown. Bids came in from Johnson and Caldwell on two bids with Johnson coming in lower on both bids.
During the public comments Cesar Martinez was on the agenda to speak. While giving his update he once again voiced his concern for business owners and visitors due to the parking problems. Another business owner who owns the Blue Ridge Bed & Breakfast also asked to speak and he too voiced concerns over the parking.
Pictured L-R (Cesar Martinez, Bill Ryan, Gene Holcomb, and Council Member Angela Arp)
Arp requested a motion in order to respond to Martinez but Arp did not receive a 2nd so the motion died. She did however use the opportunity to work in a response to Martinez after a motion carried to allow more discussion on the Streets. Council member Thomas voiced her concerns about the parking situation and said she may be within a month or two from a major announcement which would address the parking issues.
Bill Ryan spoke during Public Comments and is concerned with the storm water drainage. He is interested in a time frame for resolution to the issue stating water was up to their steps at their establishment. He said he filed a request with the City of Blue Ridge to remove debris from the drainage ditch but to his knowledge nothing had been done.
The meeting concluded with a motion to move into executive session to discuss personnel. During executive session the council replaced two lifeguards with new hires and moved existing lifeguards to Head Lifeguard positions. Danny Cook was rehired at $16 dollars per hour to work at the Water Plant. The decision was made to also move Mark Patterson and Brad Hawkins, employees at the Water Plant, to $16 per hour.