2017-10-12 / Front Page

City increases millage rate to 7.10 after holding it steady since 2013

The Lincolnton City Council voted to increase the M and O mill­age rate to 7.10 for the 2017 tax bill, a motion that broke the three-year consistency of keeping the rate at 6.10.

According to City Clerk Martha Jo Austin, due to the overall tax digest going down – which led to a decrease in property tax revenue – Lincolnton has seen a decrease in the net taxes levied which were at $222,768.02 in 2013, but were totaled at $202,396.26 as of 2016.

With estimations of continued decrease in intake for 2017, coun­cil unanimously voted for the one mill increase, with the exception of councilman Kyle Reese who was absent from the meeting, however Mayor Henry Brown assured that the members were in agreement of the increase.

In other business, board member of the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Zay Banks spoke on behalf of the organization to request the sponsorship of $3,000 from the city for the Holidays in Olde Lincoln Towne Festival and Parade, which has been set for Saturday, December 16, with the parade beginning at 3:30 p.m.

“This year we’re marketing it very differently. We’re revitalizing the Chamber of Commerce, so everything that you’ve thought in the past about the Chamber we just want you to get that out of your head, because this year we’re going to go all out with a bang,” Banks said. “We just wanted to let you know that this year, 2017, not only marks the 20th anniversary of the Holidays in Olde Lincoln Towne Festival and Parade, but 2017 also marks the bicentennial celebration for Lincolnton as well, so we want to take that and we’re going to make this a joyous occasion by having an extravagant parade and festival. I felt like if we’re going to use the name festival we should make sure we go toward that name, so this year we have an extravagant plan that we have set forth.”

Banks highlighted many new events and activities anticipated by the Chamber, including a kids corner, which is hoped to include bounce houses, face paintings, and more kid-centric attractions, along with having local historians on hand to discuss the upcoming 200- year celebration of the city and its heritage.

“We’ve been in contact with several bands in the CSRA, and we’ve made contact to get them in the parade. We are also trying to get what we call ‘Christmas at the Courthouse,’ aka CATCH, where we’ll have different youth groups and churches and different people come out to sing,” Banks said. “We’re going to have Santa and Mrs. Claus and the elves out there with the kids taking pictures in front of the courthouse. And, we’ll ask Mayor Brown and Commissioner Norman to light the [Christmas] tree.

“You know that Lincolnton is rich with entertainers, bluegrass fans, and local talent, so we want to go off and spotlight that talent. We’ve been in contact with Little Roy and Lizzy, Jeff and Sherri Easter, and Carole J. Bufford. It’s just something to say this is an actual festival – this is an all-day festival and something that can deserve the name of festival,” Banks added.

He likewise presented a list of signatures from the business owners within the city giving their approval of the date of the parade and certain street closures, to which Banks com­mented, “I included this list to show the support of the community.”

Banks and Chamber Co-Chairman Harry Hafer, who was also present, included that they are anticipating close to 5,000 festival-goers this year.

“We’re just excited to be here and share some of the ideas we’ve been working on, and we’ve got some really great plans that are falling into place for the holidays coming up,” Hafer said. “We’re going to encourage downtown businesses to stay open after the parade to take advantage of all those people who are actually downtown. With it be­ing December 16 they can get their last-minute Christmas shopping done, and things like that, and we would also like to encourage them to maybe have sales and things of that nature. With the scope of it we hope to actually get more people from out of town to make this a little bit of a tourist attraction as a small town Christmas celebration. I’ve been a part of this in other communities, and it has worked and grown.”

As with other communities Hafer has witnesses exponential growth through good organization and pro­motion, and he expressed, “We’re laying the groundwork to have that type of thing here this year.”

After the presentation, council voted to give the $3,000 to the Chamber of Commerce for parade and festival use.

In other business, council voted in favor of the 2018 alcohol license renewals for Bell’s Food Market and Fast Trip #3, after Clerk Austin affirmed that both businesses have met all the requirements for the renewal.

In a departmental report, Chief Brandon Lively said the Lincolnton Police Department answered 280 calls to service over the month of September, which included 29 inci­dent reports, 47 miscellaneous call, seven accident reports, along with five citations, and 23 warnings.

“We want to get the opinion of council for our annual calendar before it gets too late in the year to do the 2018 calendar,” Lively said. “In the past we’ve received negative feedback on the calendars and we would like to know if you want us to continue or stop the calendars.”

Lively segued, “Our department is currently experiencing more is­sues with drugs inside the schools, so we are working on setting up a program to have more officers pres­ent inside the schools.”

Chief Matt Ivey reported that the Lincolnton Fire Department had four calls over the month of Septem­ber. He included that Engine 21 – a 1968 Ford – is out of service, and that M/M Fire Apparatus was noti­fied, and a repair was scheduled for this week.

Ivey added that one of the back doors of the station jumped off track and H&H Industrial will make the repair.

In a water department report, Adam Minyard noted that water production for the month of Sep­tember was 17.9 million gallons; that the plant received 3.2 inches of rainfall; that GWI repaired the high service pump #2; that they had 10 meters to turn off on the cutoff list; and that they repaired three quarters of an inch service lines on New Petersburg Road and on Goshen Street.

Ben Alligood reported that at the wastewater treatment plant Lincoln County had an approximate influent of 576,000 gallons; the city influent was 4.8 million gallons; that there were 5,397,400 gallons of treated effluent/discharged; and that accu­mulated rainfall was three inches.

Building and Code Enforcement Official Jim Farrand reported that over the month of September there were nine building permits issued, which totaled $388.75. He included that nine inspections on building permits were conducted; there was one plat approval; 15 meetings with property owners were held; there was one complaint/related issue; and one violation.

The next meeting of the Lincoln­ton City Council will be held on Tuesday, November 7, beginning at 7 p.m. at city hall.

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