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Council to buy radios

When the latest in an unrelenting wave of winter storms hit Clemmons last week, Public Works Director Larry Kirby could have used some more radios to coordinate the communication effort.

Now, he’ll get 12 mobile devices and four portable units sooner than expected when the Clemmons Village Council voted to spend $12,390 to provide the equipment in Monday night’s regular meeting at Village Hall.

“We were so spread out with 50 events,” Kirby said of last Friday’s ice storm. “One of the council members saw me out working. I didn’t have a radio because I had given mine to one of my employees. So for me to talk to him, I had to walk back to my truck. We’re sharing around and making it work. It’s just that many times we’re having to stretch our share.”

Originally, the plan was to budget for radios — including one for Mayor Nick Nelson — in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 fiscal years, but councilman Darrell Roark made the motion to go forward with the phones now. It was approved unanimously by the three council members in attendance.

Mary Cameron and Mike Rogers were missing due to being away at the National League of Cities Conference in Washington, D.C. “My concern is that we’re facing May, and May is notorious for tornadoes and major thunderstorms,” Roark said. “We just got through this ice storm, and we as a council are going to have to, at some point, approve all these radios anyway. We can either pay now or later. Why don’t we just buy the radios and get it over with, and it’s no longer an issue?”

In other business, planner Megan Ledbetter reported that the village did work out an agreement and received a notice to proceed with the traffic signal at the Allegacy Drive/Towncenter Drive and Lewisville-Clemmons Road intersection.

Ledbetter said that the village will now advertise to bid the project. Bids will be opened on March 24 and will be brought before council to review.

Earlier in the meeting, J.P. Couch, division traffic engineer for the NCDOT, was on hand to discuss signal timing in the Lewisville-Clemmons Road corridor. It came after a request from councilman Bill Lawry to Gary Looper, village manager, for more information with the addition of the new traffic signal.

“In an ad-hoc way, people have complained to me about the time it takes to get from one end of Lewisville-Clemmons Road to the other,” Lawry said. “I just wanted to bring up the idea that it might be possible to different traffic conditions and now the addition of this new signal that we look at what it takes to get people through that corridor with safety being the primary consideration. And I didn’t know what the capabilities were of our traffic control system along there.” Couch said that the computerized signal system to be put in place is the latest technology available to the state. He said that the flow should be pretty smooth through that “main line” with the addition of the new signal, which is about halfway between I-40 and Peace Haven Road.

The southern portion of Lewisville-Clemmons Road on the other side of I-40 has several traffic signals in close proximity, but they are all tied in the segment from Peace Haven Road to Stadium Drive.

Couch said that signal pattern, which has different cycle times based on the time of day, is reviewed once a year, and changes can be made if merited.

He added that signals near the 421 interchange to the north (that is tied to the segment to West Forsyth High School) and at U.S. 158 to the south are not part of the segment from Peace Haven to Stadium.

The council also:

• Heard from Lawry to open the meeting regarding making changes to minutes from an earlier meeting. There was extensive discussion about whether Lawry’s request for amendments should be made to the earlier minutes or included in the minutes for Monday night’s meeting.

Lawry wanted to add his argument for a detailed request for proposal to be presented to all candidate website development companies regarding Item D (Discussion on Website Redesign) as an addendum to the Feb. 10 minutes. He also wanted to make changes to the verbiage in Item H (Closed Session Minutes Discussion) on Feb. 10, adding the word “to” and in Item J (Planner’s Report, Update on Village Point Greenway), changing the word “bed” to “bid.”

He also sought to add his statement made to the council on Jan. 27 in support of his motion to do away with the prohibition of firearms in the village offices.

It was decided to include his additions into Monday night’s minutes.

• Heard from Looper regarding the agenda for the retreat next Wednesday and Thursday in Pinehurst, including council objectives, where the council stands with the Clemmons Community Compass, a revenue/fund balance forecast and budget directives for fiscal year 2014-15.

• Postponed ruling on a funding request of $58,968 from Senior Services Inc. after learning it was for the 2014-15 budget year instead of an immediate request.

• Heard from Ledbetter that the bid process will be reopened on March 21 for the Village Point Greenway project.

Seven contractors came to a pre-bid meeting but were unable to get bridge prices in time to submit a bid, prompting it to be advertised again.

• Heard from Roark, who reported during council comments that he looked into some complaints regarding leaf and limb collection but found that 98 percent of residents were satisfied with the job being done by the Public Works Department. He also applauded Kirby and his department for their work during the recent storm.