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Wednesday, 13 January 2021 17:23

Hamlet Council adopts $1.37M wastewater treatment plant proposal

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Hamlet Council adopts $1.37M wastewater treatment plant proposal C.K. Craven - Richmond Observer

HAMLET — The Hamlet City Council held its first session of 2021 Tuesday night, unanimously approving no less than seven items of business for the year.

With all Council members present (albeit Mayor Pro Tem Jesse McQueen attended vicariously via telephone), Mayor Bill Bayless called the meeting to order promptly at 7 p.m.

After the customary moment of silence, adoption of the agenda and approval of the minutes from the December 2020 meeting, the Council moved on to fielding comments from attendees.

Hamlet resident Gerard Morrison voiced (via telephone) several concerns.  

After thanking the Council and the employees of the City of Hamlet for their service, Morrison asked that considerations be given to facilitating easier and more effective access to Council members.  

He noted the lack of direct contact numbers for the individuals on the City Council, suggesting that the provision of such (along with district representation and a study of other municipalities such as Greenville and Rocky Mount) may enhance the ability of residents to interact more directly with their representatives on the Council. 

Morrison’s ideas were to be discussed and considered by Council members, although it was noted that particular legalities may be pertinent and germane to any adjustments to the current practices.

The plan for the improvement of Hamlet’s wastewater treatment plant was next on the agenda. Representatives of LKC Engineering of Pinehurst were present to address any questions or issues brought forward by the Council in conjunction with their letter of proposal.  

It was stated that, upon completion of the project, the capacity for daily treatment of wastewater will double from one million to two million gallons. Total cost of the improvement will be $13.7 million, with significant assistance being provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. The proposal was unanimously adopted.

A special use permit item was next addressed by the Council. Subsequent to focused questioning by Councilman Oscar Sellers and Councilwoman Abbie Covington, specific modifications of the requirements associated with the sediment runoff basin at the site of a solar panel project near the intersection of U.S. 74 Business and N.C. 381 (Gibson Road) were unanimously adopted.

A utility adjustment policy revision was adopted to allow for compensation of city water customers who may have been unduly charged for usage that was actually the result of leaks in the city pipes. This measure was voted to be retroactive to Oct. 1 of 2020.

The official recognition of Title VI prohibition of discrimination policies was unanimously adopted in accordance with Federal Highway Administration and North Carolina Department of Transportation guidelines.

An update was implemented for city personnel in need of emergency paid COVID sick leave.  This policy had been adopted in April of 2020 but expired at the end of the year. The policy allows for up to 80 hours of sick leave for COVID-related ailments and will remain in effect through June 30th, with the understanding that it may be further extended at that time.

Mayor Bill Bayless officially proclaimed the city’s recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day next Monday, Jan. 19, 2021, lamenting the fact that, due to the pandemic, celebrations would have to be virtual. 

Updated tax releases and miscellaneous budgetary items were approved after being denoted by City Manager Matt Christian. 

Good feelings were expressed by all at the close of the session. A highly positive report of the city’s current state of affairs was provided by the city manager, and each of the individual Council members acknowledged the good work efforts of the city employees.  

It was noted that only two injuries (both minor) had been incurred by city workers during 2020, thus offering evidence of the observance of safe and secure work practices of those who keep Hamlet functioning on a daily basis.

The Hamlet City Council next meets Feb. 9, and, as always, strongly encourages attendance of the public.


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