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January 28, 2021

Town of Landis receives recommendations for three-year plan to improve roads

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

LANDIS — Aldermen on Monday received a recommendation from a surveying firm about future road improvement projects for nearly two dozen roads that would amount to a little more than $803,000 over the next few years.

Town aldermen received a presentation on a pavement condition survey and capital improvement plan from former NCDOT engineer Chris Corriher, who served as project manager for the survey along with Anthony Roper, the asset management and maintenance director for SEPI Engineering. In May, the town contracted with SEPI Engineering, based out of Charlotte, to develop an updated Pavement Condition Survey of the town’s maintained streets. The survey assists the town in developing, improving and maintaining its street system. The last survey took place in 2008, town aldermen said at the meeting.

The survey covered 20 miles, 72 streets and 110 street segments in Landis and revealed that most of the street segments — 63 totaling 11 miles of the survey — were rated “fair.” Then, 35 segments totaling 6 miles were rated “good,” 10 segments totaling 2 miles were rated “excellent” and two segments that cover less than a mile were considered “poor.”

A good rating shows minor defects, while fair denotes some wear and aging but no significant structural failures, like major pot holes.

Roper told aldermen that the quality of the roads doesn’t speak to the management from its public works department. Instead, it’s a sign that the town has been unable to allocate all the necessary funds for road improvement projects, which is the case with many municipalities, he added.

The town currently has a backlog of $3.4 million in maintenance and repairs on the town’s road system, with $2.4 million estimated for minor rehabilitation.

The survey recommends the town repair “good” roads with crack seals and surface patching, while “poor” and “fair” roads will need repairs and overlays. It also recommends 10 specific roads be included in a 2021 capital improvement plan, including E. Rice, S. Correll, W. Mill, Laurel, N. Kimmons, N. Meriah, W. Blume, S. Beaver and South Zion streets as well as Highland Avenue. The total cost amounts to $403,879 and covers about 28% and nearly 6 miles of the town’s road network.

For 2022, the surveyors recommend $200,523 in improvements for Turner, Dial, Ney, S. Upright, E. Mill and E. Garden streets, along with E. Mills Drive, E. Ridge Avenue and Coldwater Street Ext.

And for 2023, it’s recommend that $198,669 be designated for the repair of five other streets, including E. Taylor Street, Lake Drive/Lawing Drive, Town Street, N. Central Avenue and S. Central Avenue.

“This is great to see a three-year plan and know that we’re moving in the right direction,” Mayor Meredith Smith said.

Also at the meeting, town aldermen were presented with Landis’ current financial status. Finance Officer Diane Seaford said the fund balances and/or the retained earnings are currently growing in each fund, which signals a good financial standing. Seaford also said next month’s meeting can include a more detailed discussion as the town will have six months of finances to review.

The financial report showed that as of Nov. 30, the town has a $1.94 million cash balance in the general fund, with $306,497 of that restricted. The restricted cash balance covers the Powell Bill Funds, which includes costs associated with payroll, the town’s FSA account, USDA Reserve and passive park funds.

Additionally, a cash balance of $1.2 million sits in the water fund along with $249,319 in the storm water fund, $116,925 in the sewer fund and $1.89 million in the light fund.

In other business:

• Town aldermen declared eight pieces of the town’s equipment “surplus” and voted to auction the outdated property. The equipment includes a 1991 lawn mower, a 1990 generator, a 1999 Chevy Astro van, a 2003 Ford F-250 truck, a 2007 Ford F-150 truck, a 2007 Ford Expedition, a jet machine and air compressor.

• Town aldermen passed a resolution that authorizes the sale of a .78-acre tract of land located at the corner of Old Beatty Ford Road and Dial Street. The property will be sold to Michael and Tonya Hatley of the 1100 block of Coldwater Street Extension in Kannapolis for $5,000.

The parcel is one of the former D.C. Linn properties donated to the town in 2013. The parcel is zoned for residential development but a major power line traverses the property, which prevents it from being used for such development. Though the tax value for the property is $29,835, at the Dec. 10 meeting, Barefoot called that price “too high” because it’s “unbuildable” due to the power line issue. The property is adjacent to Michael Hatley’s land and he intends to use the lot for added land for his family, according to the offer letter he provided to the town. Following the Dec. 10 meeting, the offer was advertised for 10 days to allow for an upset bid of at least 10% more than the current offer. No upset bids were made.

• Town aldermen also approved Interim Town Manager Leonard Barefoot’s request to schedule future town aldermen meetings on the second Monday of each month to avoid conflicts with holidays. The time was also moved up to 6 p.m. This change, however, requires a public hearing at the next meeting to amend chapter 30, section 30.15 of the Town of Landis Code of Ordinances.

• Town aldermen appointed two locals to the Landis Planning Board following the resignation of Planning Board Chair Susan Shirley, who served on the board for more than 20 years, as well as Vickii Lumsden. Smith nominated Dale Eudy and Stephen Overcash, and town aldermen approved them. The board membership now includes six regular members with one vacant regular member seats and two alternate member seats open. Barefoot encourages more nominations because to be compliant with the newly adopted state law regarding local planning and development regulations, or NCGS 160D, a quorum must be at each scheduled Planning Board meeting.

Also at the meeting, Barefoot praised Rebecca Powell, the town’s new billing/revenue collection supervisor, who began her duties on Dec. 9. Town aldermen also welcomed Zachary Lechette, the town’s new public safety director, who began working on Dec. 30. He will oversee both the police and fire department operations.

Barefoot also announced the completion of improvements to the town’s external pay window at the town hall’s drive-thru drop box, fully funded by COVID-19 funds received from the state.

And as of Monday, the town has received 10 applications for the position of town manager. Barefoot said the town will continue accepting applications into January before meeting with town aldermen in a closed session for a review of the applicants.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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