Davidson Commissioners gave town staff the go-ahead Tuesday night to spend more money this year on Town Hall computers and way-finding and parking signs downtown. That came during the latest in a series of budget discussions about a Town Hall “needs list” and proposed capital projects. Public works chief Doug Wright recommended that the board not pursue the idea of a left turn lane on North Main Street at Concord Road. And Police Chief Jeanne Miller briefed commissioners on traffic enforcement, including the difficulty of enforcing the law against texting and driving.
At the meeting:
- Mayor John Woods board proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and recognized the efforts of United Family Services, which provides victim assistance, counseling and support, and a batter women’s shelter.
- Finance director Cindy Jones presented the board with a revised proposal for spending on major projects and equipment over the next five years, as well as a “needs list” to be considered for this year. The board gave the go ahead for spending $59,000, or an extra $15,000 for a new email server and other computer equipment this year, and $6,500 for downtown parking and way-finding signs. The town hasn’t had a capital improvement plan, or CIP, in several years, mainly because of annual subsidies paid to the money-losing MI-Connection Communications System. That means there’s been no money for big-ticket projects such as sidewalks, new facilities, vehicles and computers. But Davidson and its partner in MI-Connection, the town of Mooresville, revised the agreement governing MI-Connection in May, in a deal that caps Davidson’s annual payments at $1 million. That means there could be extra money in the budget to begin tackling long-range projects. The board plans to continue discussions at its next meeting about sidewalks and greenways, a proposed adequacy study of the town’s police and fire departments, start-up grants for two nonprofits (DavidsonLearns and the Project for Innovation, Energy and Sustainability), proposed renovations to convert the old pump station on South Street into Parks & Rec offices, renovations at the Town Hall fire station, and a proposal to acquire land and build a second fire station in east Davidson. See the current draft and needs list on the town website.
- Police Chief Jeanne Miller briefed the board on traffic enforcement in town, including speeding and texting while driving rules. She said enforcing the law against texting is difficult, mainly because it’s hard to prove what a driver was doing on his or her phone. She did note that North Carolina bans all cell phone use for school bus drivers and drivers under 18. Meanwhile, in response to a question about speeding and traffic tickets, she said the department believes enforcement “has to be townwide for it to be effective.” Streets targeted are those where accidents are a problem or those where citizens have complained or officers have noticed a problem.
- Public works manager Doug Wright talked to commissioners again about the feasibility of adding a left turn lane on southbound North Main Street, at Concord Road. A consultant’s traffic study two weeks ago put new numbers on something most drivers already know: that rush-hour delays are common for those turning left both from Concord Road onto Main Street and Southbound Main Street onto Concord Road. But he said Davidson College and town officials are are concerned about the loss of parking spaces that would have to be removed to make way for a turn lane on North Main Street. He walked the board through a complex economic analysis that put dollar values on both 9 lost parking spaces and drivers’ waiting time. He concluded that Main Street shops would lose retail sales with fewer parking spaces and that outweighed the dollar value of the time drivers spend waiting for the light. So he recommended that the town drop, at least for now, the idea of a left turn lane at the intersection. Download Mr. Wright’s presentation (PowerPoint file).
- Held a closed session to discuss an unspecified legal issue as well as a personnel matter.
See the full agenda and related documents on the town website.