Preparing for a New Fiscal Year – Town of Mocksville Kicks off 2024-2025 Budget Process

Mocksville Town Board members heard presentations by the town manager, economic development, town engineer, Environlink, and the heads of each department during a budget retreat on February 10. (L to R) Commissioner Justin Draughn, Mayor Will Marklin, Commissioner Jenny Stevenson, Commissioner Carl Lambert, and Commissioner Rob Taylor. Not pictured is Commissioner Johnny Frye.

Recognizing that a goal without a plan is just a wish, the Mocksville Town Board kicked off its budget process with a half-day meeting that allowed the board and staff to discuss the challenges and needs facing the town during the coming year and to look at the big picture before making specific decisions about allocating resources. 

Town Board members listened to presentations by the town manager, economic development, town engineer, Envirolink, and the heads of each department. Each department provided a mid-year progress report toward its strategic goals and shared funding needs for the 2024-2025 fiscal year. 

Town Manager Ken Gamble started the meeting by asking the board, “What keeps you up at night? What is your biggest concern going into this budget year?” Together, they listed zoning ordinances, growth, affordable housing, and infrastructure and began to discuss how they would affect the town’s future. 

Gamble encouraged them to remember those priorities as they listened to each budget presentation. He then reviewed the Town’s vision, mission, and value statements before providing a mid-year status report of the Town’s progress toward its strategic goals. 

“This is where we want to go. We never get fully there because we are always growing and developing, but when we make decisions, we have these overall goals in mind. That point of the strategic plan is to get us there step by step.”

“The strategic plan provides a framework for achieving the Town’s goals and provides accountability to ensure we stay on track with what we have agreed is important,” explained Gamble. “While you only hear updates to the strategic plan a couple of times per year, the leadership team discusses some element of the strategic plan every month.” 

He shared that 120 specific action items were assigned to the town departments this year as part of the strategic plan, with 65% in progress and the other 35% completed. Town staff have been unable to address a few goals because of extenuating circumstances. “Sometimes plans don’t work out, and we must look at other ways to achieve our goals.” He said that the multi-year action items are now 96% complete. 

“All of our action items are tied to performance evaluations for our leadership team so that we have  accountability for everything that we say we are going to do in the strategic plan.” 

Gamble then provided an overview of his progress toward his strategic goals in the areas of community safety and appearance, responsible and balanced growth, economic development, organizational excellence, and a healthy and active community. 

Town Manager Ken Gamble started The Town of Mocksville’s budget retreat by asking the Board of Commissioners about their biggest concern going into the FY 2024-2025 budget year.
Town Manager Ken Gamble started The Town of Mocksville’s budget retreat by asking the Board of Commissioners about their biggest concern going into the FY 2024-2025 budget year.

Priorities for FY 2024-2025 

  • Incorporate Study Data Into Strategic and Capital Improvement Plans
  • Pavement & Sidewalk Survey
  • Asset Inventory & Assessment for Water & Sewer
  • Water System Interconnection
  • Fire Department Needs Based on 3rd-Party Evaluation 
  • Update 2019 Comprehensive Plan
  • Zoning Ordinance Review
Lynn Trivette, assistant town manager/town clerk/finance director, provided an update from the Administration department.
Lynn Trivette, assistant town manager/town clerk/finance director, provided an update from the Administration department.


Finance Director Lynn Trivette and Rana Gaither provided a status report on behalf of the Administration department. The department’s top strategic goals focused on working with Parks & Grounds to develop a sustainable cost recovery policy for Rich Park, recruiting and retaining a highly-skilled workforce, leveraging technology and innovative business approaches to enhance customer service and improve business efficiencies, and expanding community engagement. 

  • Administration and Parks & Grounds have analyzed and graphed all park-related expenditures and revenue and are adjusting fees accordingly. 
  • To assist in recruiting and retaining a highly skilled workforce, the department facilitates training, certifications, and education essential for delivering services and staff growth. This includes succession planning for when Trivette retires.
  • Administration created a water consumption spreadsheet to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of the meter reading. 
  • Trivette addressed the increasing number of fraud cases within NC municipal governments and shared that the department is reviewing and revising its finance policies and procedures to prevent it from happening in Mocksville.  

Trivette reported on the capital projects completed in 2023-2024, including replacing broken pavers on Clement Street and in front of town hall and renovating the bathrooms to make them ADA-compliant. 

This year’s capital project recommendations are the installation of a lattice brick wall in front of the Town Hall AC unit so that it can better breathe, as recommended by the HVAC service company, and the completion of Phase III of the paver project, which involves replacing broken pavers along the rest of Clement and the beginning on Water Street. 

Human Resources

Emily Quance, human resources specialist, shared what the Town is doing to attract, train, motivate, and retain employees. 

She reported that recruiting employees is very difficult, particularly for public works and the fire department. To attract motivated and hard-working employees, Quance explained that the Town must develop fair pay and compensation, career development and advancement opportunities, and invest in employees through training and coaching. HR is creating an annual report that will establish a rolling five-year data set to track recruiting, retention, longevity, and turnover numbers. Efforts to improve recruitment include:

  • Increased use of social media and direct outreach to more diverse parts of the community
  • Promoting internship opportunities with Davie High, Davidson-Davie Community College, and town departments. 
  • Streamlining the application and hiring process 
  • Reviewing job descriptions/duties looking for any unnecessary barriers or qualifications. 

Quance explained that retaining employees is critical. Efforts to do so include:

  • Ongoing employee development with career advancement opportunities 
  • Succession planning
  • Health & Wellness opportunities such as this year’s Lunch & Learn series on topics like stress management, exercise, and nutrition 
  • Vaccine clinic 

She discussed inflation vs cost of living increases over the last five years and proposed a 3% Cost of Living Adjustment for town employees this year. She also recommended a 2% Retention Bonus for full-time employees rated “Meets Expectations” for the FY24-25 evaluation period. The bonus would be provided at the end of the budget year (June 2025)

Strategic Goals for FY 2024- 2025

  • Recruitment
  • Retention
  • Health and Wellness
  • Safety
  • Employee Development
  • Succession Planning
  • Employee Relations
Jennifer Evens, director of marketing and community development, offered updates from Community Development.
Jennifer Evens, director of marketing and community development, offered updates from Community Development.

Community Development 

Community Development operates within four divisions: The Town of Mocksville, Mocksville Tourism, Historical Davie, Inc., and the Main Street Program. This year’s strategic goals have centered around expanding, diversifying, revitalizing, and promoting the historic downtown and seeking partnerships to drive economic development. 

Director of Marketing and Community Development, Jennifer Evens, shared that Community Development incorporates the four guidelines recommended by the Main Street America program: 

  • Design

    • Attractive Streetscape
    • Revitalization & Maintain Historical Buildings
    • Creating Designations Through Wayfinding Signage

  • Organization

    • Merchants, Services, Businesses
    • Government
    • Volunteers
    • Promotions

  • Tourism

    • Retail, Services and Restaurants
    • Town Services (Website and Social Media)

  • Economics

    • Key Destinations (i.e., Murals, Cognition, Brock Performance Center, Community Park, Library)
    • Downtown Business Growth
    • Downtown Residential Growth 

Evens shared the department’s progress toward its goals and shared budget requests for FY 2024-2025. 

Community Development is working towards full accreditation from the Main Street Program to increase public input and leverage the program’s full value. The department is collaborating with the Downtown Mocksville Collaborative (DMC) to attract more visitors downtown. Community Development is also engaging stakeholders, DMC, and other community groups to identify public-private partnerships and projects to enhance the appeal of E. Depot Street and N. Salisbury Street.

Budget requests centered around: 

  • Additional Funding for Advertising and New Events  
  • Wayfinding Signs Phase IV (Promote and Direct the Public to Key Destinations Within the Town and County)
  • Funding for Wayfinding Sign Maintenance 
  • Streetscape Trees & Installation (8) (Forest Pansy Redbud)
  • Ornamental Fence (on the law office side of Main Street)

The Board recessed and reconvened at Energy United for a working lunch that included presentations by the Mocksville Fire Department (MFD), Public Works, and Parks and Grounds.  Director Chris Vaughn also shared an equipment display.  

Mocksville Fire Chief Frank Carter shares the department’s equipment needs with (L to R) Commissioner Carl Lambert, Mayor Will Marklin, and Commissioner Jenny Stevenson.
Mocksville Fire Chief Frank Carter shares the department’s equipment needs with (L to R) Commissioner Carl Lambert, Mayor Will Marklin, and Commissioner Jenny Stevenson.

Fire Department 

The Mocksville Fire Department (MFD) covers 25.79 square miles of fire district within Davie County, 8.58 square miles within the town limits, and 17.21 square miles surrounding the town. The department serves 6,000 residents within the town and roughly 9,300 residents total. 

The department answered 1,537 calls in 2023 and anticipates this number to continue growing as commercial square footage and residential properties increase.   

In 2023, the Town of Mocksville worked with NC Fire Chief Consulting to complete a comprehensive needs assessment for the MFD, which includes future staffing, apparatus, and equipment needs. 

Fire Study Findings 

  • A second station is needed in the northern section of the town.
  • Only one of three engines rated as in “good shape.” (A new engine will soon be ordered but is still three years away from delivery).
  • The current ladder truck is reaching the end of its service life by industry standards.

Chief Frank Carter reported that the MFD had applied for a SAFER Grant (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) from FEMA designed to provide financial assistance to help fire departments increase their number of frontline firefighters or to rehire firefighters who have been laid off, and to recruit and/or retain volunteer firefighters. The request was for six full-time positions.  Each shift would be operated by two full-time firefighters and current part-time staff. Carter’s daily staff goal is a maximum of six and a minimum of three firefighters, allowing an engine and ladder to be staffed 24/7. 

The department is developing strategies to attract employees and retain current employees through a schedule change, employee appreciation, and addressing starting salary. Chief Carter shared that current wages are not competitive with surrounding areas and recommended an increase to the starting salary and a comparable increase for current firefighters. 

In addition to personnel needs, Chief Carter shared capital, station, and operational requests for FY 2024-2025. 

Capital requests for FY 2024-2025 

  • Knox Master Key Control System 
  • Five Sets of PPE at $7,000 each 
  • Hose replacement $10,000
  • Two Level “A” Hazmat Suits at $1000 each
  • One Adult & One Child Fire Resistant Rescue Mannequin $5000.00
  • Host One Specialty Fire Class $5000.00
  • Funding for Staff Attendance to Training Seminars. 
  • Six Beds with Storage for the Fire Station $10,000 

Parks & Grounds 

This year, Parks & Grounds focused on enhancing the amenities offered at the Town’s parks, greenways, and recreational facilities, as well as working with Administration to develop a parks and recreation model with sustainable financial cost recovery policies. A few projects completed include the installation of a Wi-Fi hub at Rich Park to support public access, the installation of security cameras at Rich and Main Street Parks, the creation of a greenway marker system to provide emergency responders with a more accurate location when assistance is needed, the renovation of the Shelter 5 bathroom, and the replacement of the fence at Mando Field.  

He also detailed improvements to Mando Field’s locker room and batting cages by volunteers with American Legion baseball. 

Director Chris Vaughn presented a list of FY 2024-2025 capital requests.

  • Grapple Bucket – $3,986

    • Vaughn explained that the department uses pallet forks to move storm debris, logs, and brush, which is time-consuming and poses a safety hazard of debris or logs falling from pallet forks. The grapple bucket would also be beneficial for moving and pushing brush in the compost yard since it allows dirt to move freely between tines, eliminating dirt from entering the debris area. The grapple bucket also enables the operator to free any entangled debris from large piles. 

  • LA 724 Kubota Loader – $7,984

    • The loader would make the tractor more versatile and allow projects to be completed more efficiently.

  • Leaf Truck – $178,030

    • One of the town’s two leaf trucks was out of service for ¾ of the season due to clutch repairs. Vaughn would like to purchase a refurbished one to reduce ongoing maintenance and downtime. 

Public Works Director Brian Moore discusses the department’s dump truck with (L to R) Commissioner Rob Taylor, Commissioner Justin Draughn, and Mayor Will Marklin.
Public Works Director Brian Moore discusses the department’s dump truck with (L to R) Commissioner Rob Taylor, Commissioner Justin Draughn, and Mayor Will Marklin.

Public Works 

Public Works Director Brian Moore thanked the board for equipment purchased in 2023-2024. He then detailed current equipment and personnel needs for FY 2024-2025.

  • Replace existing dump truck that is no longer safe to operate with a used dump truck – $40,000. 

Moore asked to hire two new employees to assist in reading water meters. He explained that two employees used to be able to read water meters, perform cut-offs and cut-ons, and complete rereads in time to get the water bills out on time. It is taking two crews to complete everything on time, so the department is shorthanded on other projects during the meter reading months. “My concern is that we will be unable to read meters and take care of other projects for the month.” 

The town currently contracts with Envirolink to maintain its water and sewer plants. Once the Cooleemee Water Plant goes online in 2026, the town will purchase water from the county. Looking ahead, Moore advised the board to consider hiring a maintenance person to work with Envirolink now to learn the operation of the sewer plant. “I believe the town will save money by investing in an employee to run our plant rather than hiring a contractor to take care of it for us.” 

Economic Development Forecast – Terry Bralley – Davie County EDC

Terry Bralley, president of Davie County Economic Development, provided an economic development forecast for Mocksville. He began by pointing out that Davie County was recently reclassified as a Tier 3 county, meaning that it has one of the top twenty economies in the state. “You are number 77 out of 100, which means you are in a great position, your unemployment is good, and your growth is good. The bad side of that is I get put in the penalty box when it comes to qualifying for state and federal grants. With the good comes the bad.” 

He explained how vital spec buildings are to Mocksville’s growing economy. “In today’s world, it’s speed to market. Most companies are chasing a contract and must be in operation in 90 to 120 days. If you don’t have a virtually complete building, you’re not in the game. We’re blessed that we have that. We’ve got the infrastructure, the roads, and a lot of positive things going for us.” 

He provided updates about six industrial spec projects that are either ready to lease or in the works. Getting enough electricity to the sites has been a hindrance for a couple of them.

  • Davie Industrial Center Phase II – 500,000+ SF facility 
  • Triwest Business Park – 297,000 SF building and sites ready for three more
  • SouthPoint Industrial Park – 130,000 and 150,000 SF buildings ready in Q2 2024 
  • Blackwelder Site – 105 Acre Site at Hwy 601 & Cana Road – can accommodate up to 1 million SF of industrial space
  • Angell Knoll Drive – 200-acre site – can accommodate up to 2 million SF of industrial space 

Bralley shared that since December, his phone has been ringing steadily about the Davie Industrial Center and that the building is currently a finalist for a project that would bring hundreds of jobs and millions in investment to Mocksville. 

Most of his leads come from the state of North Carolina or industrial brokers he has developed a relationship with over the years. 

He described a few ongoing and upcoming projects: 

  • Avgol – will complete a $100 million expansion and hire around 50 more employees by the end of the year. 
  • Special Event Services (SES) – transferring truck division from Winston-Salem and building a virtual recording studio. 
  • Brakebush – constructing a facility to house a trucking division

Bralley also announced that two developers are evaluating building a Marriott Hotel in Mocksville. “We need that. The leakage going outside of this county is hurting us, and we are losing tourism money. We need to cash in on another hotel.” 

Water and Wastewater Capital Improvement Plan 

Chuck Willis, Willis Engineers, who serves as the town’s engineer, said he tries to “put tools in place that allow Bralley to stay in the chase.” He detailed the town’s water and wastewater projects. 

Utilizing maps, they explained the town’s water and wastewater Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which details larger projects to be implemented over the next five years. The plan is updated annually as part of the town’s budget process. Willis gave updates about ongoing projects and shared that $10 million in state and federal grants has made these big projects possible.  

  • Facilities to Serve Brakebush
  • Asset Inventory and Assessments 
  • Southpoint Pump Station and Force Main
  • North Elevated Tank

Currently, there are several CIP projects underway, including a new pump station and force main to convey wastewater from the Leonard Creek Drainage Basin and Brakebush Brothers Chicken Plant. These facilities will move wastewater from the town’s Dutchman’s Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Davie County-owned Treatment Plant in Cooleemee, creating additional capacity for future development in the north part of Mocksville. Improvements will also include renovating the Bear Creek Pump Station and an additional water line to improve service to customers on the south side of town. These projects are funded by Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Golden Leaf, and Town funds. Both projects are expected to be completed this spring.  

Additional projects will concentrate on improvements to the water and sewer facilities north of I-40 to allow for continued growth in that area. The SouthPoint Pump Station and force main and north elevated tank projects are currently in the design process. Both are being funded by direct appropriations in the 2022 State budget. 

The Town of Mocksville received $400,000 in grant funding to pay for Asset Inventory and Assessments (AIA) for both water and wastewater. These studies have provided a wealth of planning information at no cost to the Town.

The Water AIA provided focused on 

  • Field Program – pipeline locating, valve testing, tank evaluations
  • GIS Mapping Update – Third Edition, digital deployment
  • Distribution Modeling – update, add smaller pipes, Davie County interconnections
  • Treatment Plant – assessments, eventual demolition plan for Hugh A. Lagle Water Treatment Plant
  • Metering and Billing – AMI study with MeterSys

The Wastewater AIA covered 

  • Field Program – smoke testing, CCTV Inspections, slope surveys
  • GIS Mapping Update – Third Edition, digital deployment
  • Modeling – flow monitoring, capacity assurance planning
  • Plant & Pump Stations – assessments, testing
Josh Powers, assistant director of west operations for Envirolink, shares budgetary needs for Mocksville’s water and sewer plants.
Josh Powers, assistant director of west operations for Envirolink, shares budgetary needs for Mocksville’s water and sewer plants.

Water and Sewer 

Josh Powers, assistant director of west operations for Envirolink, presented updates on the amount of water treated at both the Hugh A. Lagle Water Treatment Plant and the Dutchmans Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant during 2023 and shared budgetary needs for 2024-2025.

More Meeting Dates

The budget retreat was the first public meeting in the FY2024-2025 budget process. The budget will continue to be discussed at the regular monthly Board of Commissioner meetings. The public is encouraged to attend. 

  • March 5th (1st Draft and Department Head Requests)
  • April 2nd (2nd Draft and Adjustments & Corrections)
  • May 7th (Proposed Budget & Manager’s Message)
  • June 4th (Public Hearing / Adoption of Budget Ordinance).

For more information, call (336) 753-6700.