Also at Tuesday’s Spencer Board of Aldermen meeting:
• Aldermen met for nearly 90 minutes in closed session to discuss the performance of Town Manager Larry Smith.
Although Smith already had an annual evaluation in November, Mayor Jody Everhart said two aldermen wanted to review his performance again.
Alderman Reid Walters made the motion to go into closed session, and Mayor Pro Tem Jim Gobbel seconded the motion.
The board took no action after the closed session and members made no comment other than Alderman Jeff Morris saying, “Good job, Larry.”
Walters and Gobbel offered no comment as they left town hall but appeared frustrated.
• Police Chief Michael James said crime in Spencer was down in 2012 from 2011.
• The main garbage truck has engine trouble and will be taken out of service today for repairs. Aldermen approved up to $8,000 for repairs. The 2001 truck should be back on the road by Monday.
• Smith said the state has approved the security contract between Spencer police and the N.C. Transportation Museum.
• Walters and Morris attended an N.C. Department of Transportation discussion about the Wil-Cox Bridge and expressed the town’s interest in a possible greenway connection with Spencer. They said Alcoa and Davidson County officials offered to consider working with the town.
• Resident Bob Oswald asked the aldermen to have public comment at the beginning and end of their meetings.
• Resident Mike Boone, who is running for alderman, asked Spencer Police to look into the issue of people walking in the middle of the street, including some pushing baby strollers.
The practice is dangerous, and most streets in Spencer have sidewalks, said Boone, who added that he was speaking on behalf of several residents.
• With little discussion, the board beefed up the town’s panhandling ordinance by passing an amendment that prohibits begging within 20 feet of a bank or ATM, at a bus stop, while standing or sitting on the road or shoulder and at night. Violators can be fined $50.
The change was in response to recent complaints about one individual who has been begging, Everhart said.
• Aldermen changed the fee for Internet cafes to $1,000 per business, plus $500 per machine. The initial fee was $1,000 per machine. The change does not affect any fees already owed to the town.
• Aldermen approved a local match of up to $500 for Spencer to participate in planning for the Carolina Thread Trail.
Morris added language that reaffirmed the board’s commitment to not use eminent domain to take away property for the trail. Aldermen agreed.
• Aldermen agreed to split the parks and recreation master plan and a study of town buildings into two projects.
The town had planned to bid them as one. But aldermen took an exemption allowed by the state to skip the bid process for the parks and recreation study, because a landscape architect who volunteered for the Spencer Woods design charrette has offered to do the overall parks plan for the town.
The town still would negotiate a fee with Site Solutions of Charlotte, but Smith said the town will save money because Site Solutions already has completed a significant amount of planning legwork on Spencer Woods.
The 42-acre forest is larger than all of the town’s other parks combined.
The town will hire a different firm to study the buildings and make recommendations for repairs or new construction.
Alderman Kevin Jones said if the building study comes in over budget, he would like to put the parks study on hold.
“If we can’t afford to do both, I want to make sure we do the facilities,” Jones said.
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