Recognizing that a goal without a plan is just a wish, the Mocksville Town Board held its first budget retreat incorporating the Town’s 2022 Strategic Plan this month at Davidson-Davie Community College.
The half-day meeting 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, the town’s engineer, and the heads of each department. Each department provided a progress report toward its strategic goals and shared funding needs for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
Following is a broad overview of the meeting. For additional details, click on this link to read the meeting’s minutes.
Town Manager Ken Gamble 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.
“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.
He shared that 154 specific action items were assigned to the town departments this year as part of the strategic plan, with 56% already completed. “We are about where we need to be for the year.” An additional 42% are in progress, and he anticipates most of those will be completed by the end of the year. The Town has been unable to address a few goals because of extenuating circumstances. He said that the multi-year action items are now 73% complete.
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.
Rana Gaither shared Administration’s report on behalf of Finance Director Lynn Trivette. 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.
Capital Projects involve replacing broken pavers from Depot Street to Water Street and renovating the bathrooms at Town Hall as the first step toward making the building ADA-compliant.
According to Emily Quance, in 2022-2023, Human Resources has focused on public safety and retaining and recruiting a highly-skilled workforce by completing a fire department risk assessment, hiring six full-time firefighters, investing in employee growth and development, and providing competitive pay and benefits.
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.
Community Development Coordinator Tami Langdon shared the department’s progress toward its goals and shared capital requests for FY 2023-2024.
The Board recessed and reconvened at the Mocksville Fire Department (MFD) for a tour of the MFD by Chief Frank Carter and a Public Works facilities tour by Director Brian Moore. Moore and Parks and Grounds Director Chris Vaughn also shared an equipment display.
The MFD has focused on public safety by making investments in personnel, equipment, facilities, and programs. The department hired six full-time firefighters who have been on the job since January 29, 2023. There are now two full-time and at least one part-time firefighter staffing each shift. MFD has made good progress on its goals to reduce “Non-Response” to medical events by 75% (Reached 71% in FY22-23) and meeting NFPA response guidelines for “Low Hazard” incidents 90% of the time (Reached 72% in FY22-23).
Parks & Grounds has focused its year 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 installing a wi-fi hub at Rich Park to support public access and installing security cameras at Rich and Main Street Parks. Replacing the fence at Mando Field is almost complete.
Public Work’s presentation centered around a display of current equipment and future needs. Director Brian Moore shared capital requests for FY 2023-2024.
Terry Bralley, president of Davie County Economic Development, provided an economic development forecast for Mocksville, saying, “I have great news on where we are heading as a community economically and some things we might need to be on the lookout for over the next few years, particularly in the area of infrastructure.”
He also shared how vital spec buildings are to Mocksville’s growing economy. ‘It’s all about speed to market. If you have a company looking and you don’t have a building, you are out of the game… When a company calls me today, they want a building. Manufacturing is coming back to this country.”
He pointed out that Mocksville is in the enviable position of having private developers assuming all of the risks. “We took the position long ago that we wouldn’t compete with the private sector. Our program is pretty special. Try to find another small community in North Carolina with this type of program. It’s not out there.” He noted that some public money is invested in performance-based incentives, but the companies must meet their commitments before receiving them.
He provided updates about four industrial projects in the works but shared that their progress has been hindered because it will take one to two years to get enough electrical power to them.
Bralley anticipates the build-out of these sites to take 8 to 10 years to complete.
He also shared that a motel study is currently being done for Mocksville and Bermuda Run.
Chuck Willis and Sydnee Potter of Willis Engineers, the town’s engineering contractor, 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 ten years. The plan is generally updated annually as part of the town’s budget process.
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 the newly expanded 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. Also, underway is a project to replace some pumping equipment at the Dutchman’s Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. These projects are funded by a combination of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Golden Leaf, and Town funds. Both projects are expected to be completed in early 2024.
Additional projects will concentrate on improvements to the water and sewer facilities north of Interstate 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 last year’s State budget.
Mike Myers, Envirolink, shared that Mocksville’s Hugh A. Lagle Water Treatment Plant has received an AWOP (Area Wide Optimization Program) Award for demonstrating outstanding turbidity removal, a key test of drinking water quality. This award is given to systems that meet performance goals significantly more stringent than state and federal standards. This is the third year in a row that Mocksville has received the award.
He also provided updates on the amount of water treated at both the water and wastewater treatment plants and budgetary needs for 2023.
Town Attorney Al Benshoff detailed how the Board should identify and address conflicts of interest. He recommended that the Board consider opening every meeting with a statement about conflicts of interest.
The budget retreat was the first public meeting in the FY2023-24 budget process. The budget will continue to be discussed at the regular monthly Board of Commissioner meetings. The public is encouraged to attend.
For more information, call (336) 753-6700 or visit the Town of Mocksville website.