Mayor To Resign, Fitzsimmons Taking Mayor Seat - TribPapers

Mayor To Resign, Fitzsimmons Taking Mayor Seat

Weaverville Mayor Al Root explains his decision to resign three months early at July council meeting.

Weaverville – Al Root announced his decision to resign at the start of the meeting. Root said that since the mayor’s race would not be contested and Fitzsimmons would be the next mayor, “…I have been twice in the position of having to wait four months, I can say from a personal level it’s not terribly good for the person waiting, but also I don’t think its good for the town.” He went on to talk about new challenges for the town and that he will be resign at the upcoming town council workshop on August 10 so that Fitzsimmons can take office at the August regular council meeting. He then congratulated Fitzsimmons, with Fitzsimmons saying that was very gracious of the mayor. “I have talked with Al and asked that he remain in a position of the honorary sage advisor for eternity.”

With that, the meeting moved on to the agenda. No one spoke during the public comment sections. The council then approved the consent agenda, which contained the year-end tax report (98.3 percent collected), a budget amendment for a grand of $27,000 for recycling containers, acceptance of a waterline for Amblers Chase and a North Buncombe Fire District Service agreement. 

Weaverville Town Manager Selena Coffey then gave her report to the board, where she said the grand opening of the new Community Center at Dottie Sherrill Knoll is set for Labor Day, September 6 at 11 am. She also told the board that she was ready to make an offer to one of the candidates for the Recreation Coordinator position, is developing a steering committee for the ped/bike project to be presented to NCDOT for approval and a comprehensive pay and classification study is underway.

The council then moved into the action and discussion items. The first on the list was a change order for the new community center for a high-temperature dishwasher instead of the low temperature. The change will allow dishes to be cleaned in 141 seconds from start to finish. 

A performance pay plan for employees was next on the agenda, with Coffey explaining the new system of evaluating performance as a three level system with the first being an exceeds expectation with up to a five percent pay increase; the second a meets expectation with up to a three percent increase; a third below expectation with zero increase. Three people from the audience spoke on the issue, saying it was wrong to do away with a cost of living increase for employees. The three are all candidates for this council in the upcoming November election. Councilman Doug Jackson, who is also up for reelection, joined the trio in decrying a lack of cost of living increase, saying, “we have heard nothing but great reports from the public.” The council voted three to one to pass the item, with Jackson being the no vote.

Next, the council took up a perpetual easement for a US Cellular tower. The town had wanted $300,000 for the easement after the cell carrier offered $216,000, but when US Cellular said they would only go to $270,000, the council voted to take it with Councilman Jeff McKenna making the motion to accept the offer. The town plans on using the money for the new community center. 

Town Attorney Jeniffer Jackson then updated the board on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) five-year plan. She told the council that several updates are complete for to the town’s owned buildings and sidewalks. After Jackson finished and the mayor asked for comments from the public, Jan Lawrence with the Dry Ridge Museum said that the museum will be ADA compliant, 

Jackson then spoke about a new ordinance for a voting place to be free of guns, whether concealed or open. The issue came to the forefront during the last election, where a voter openly carried a firearm. Several members of the public spoke on this issue, including some that which email in comments which were read. All were for the town moving to prohibit firearms from election areas, which the town voted to do. 

The council also heard an update from Town Finance Director Tonya Dozier, who told the board that the town was receiving an additional $100,000 from the American Rescue Plan. The total to be received is $1,283,394.62, $600,000 of which has already been received. She then gave a financial report which was followed by Town Planner James Eller with a planning report. The board then voted to go into a closed session, after which they adjourned for the evening. 

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