Clemmons approves agreement with Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office: Council still waiting on more information on drone program

Published 12:10 am Thursday, May 25, 2023

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CLEMMONS — The Clemmons Village Council approved an interlocal agreement with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office for fiscal year 2023-2024 in Monday night’s meeting, but one item has yet to be resolved.

 “This does not include the drone (program),” Village Manager Mike Gunnell said. “We’re still waiting for information from them on that. So it will be handled as a separate item once we get the information that we asked for.”

The total estimated annual cost for the standard agreement currently comes to $2,116,050, with $2,075,490 payable by Clemmons in four equal installments from Oct. 15, 2023, to July 15, 2024. 

Numbers for the fiscal year 2022-2023 were budgeted at $1,951,480, with an estimated actual total of $2,001,280.

Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough came to the April 24 village council meeting to check in with the board regarding the Drone as a First Responder program, which was the first of its kind in the state when it was introduced in Clemmons last year and was met with positive results and feedback.

In addition to Kimbrough’s appearance, the council received a breakdown of the financials for the program with a draft exhibit showing a total annual cost for the fiscal year 2023-2024 of $119,450 with total direct costs of $108,980 and an administrative fee of $10,470.

Kimbrough indicated that he wanted to see if there were any questions as to “what we’re doing, how we’re doing and what is the future of it” in advance of a budget workshop prior to the last council meeting on May 8.

The council had noted “all the successes” in the early months as data was collected and looking ahead to see what the costs would be if the pilot program, designed to provide deputies with additional support for daily operations utilizing unmanned aircraft systems, were officially implemented.

Clemmons was selected as the location for the DFR pilot program because the area has the highest population density and call volume of the townships contracted with the Sheriff’s Office to provide law enforcement services. 

Of course, public safety is a big part of the fiscal year 2023-2024 budget, which was presented by staff in Monday night’s meeting, along with the council calling for a public hearing in the next meeting on June 12 at 6 p.m. to adopt the budget ordinance and to set the stormwater utility-fee rate.

The proposed annual budget, beginning July 1 and concluding June 30 of next year, as presented, is balanced, using the current property tax of $0.15 per $100 of assessed valuation with recommended proposals of $13,250,880 for the General Fund and $2,173,325 for the Stormwater Fund (with the utility fee per equivalent residential unit of $7.50 per month/$90 per year) — for an overall total of $15,424,205.

“I have attempted to maintain a responsible budget to assure public value for the resources expended,” Gunnell said in his budget message. “The current budget reflects a 16%

increase when compared to the amended fiscal year 2022-2023 budget.”

The breakdown of expenditures is as follows:

  • Capital — 24%
  • Public works — 24%
  • Public safety — 16%
  • Streets — 16%
  • Administration — 9%
  • Planning and zoning — 8%
  • Clemmons events — 2%
  • Governing board — 1 %

Gunnell noted that the village currently has four unfilled positions (village engineer, stormwater technician and two landscape technicians) and that the budget presented includes all unfilled positions.

“We are still experiencing the effects of the Great Resignation, in which many people changed careers, chose to work from home or left the workplace altogether,” Gunnell said.

In other budget-related items, the council approved Budget Amendment 23-G-5 for the increase of public safety personnel costs of $19,050 to cover the salary raises implemented in January and to change the events coordinator position from part-time to full-time, effective immediately on May 22 instead of the start of the fiscal year on July 1 — based on the number of events.

In other highlights from Monday night’s meeting, the council:

• Heard from Planner Doug Moore that the continuation of the public hearing for Zoning Docket (C-252) of real property owned by AAA Storage Management #28 LLC from GB-S to GB-S (General Business – Special) at 2225 Lewisville-Clemmons Road with 2.768 acres had been withdrawn by the applicant, which was accepted by the council. Moore, calling it an administrative move, said that the petitioner agreed to a site plan amendment to allow one parking spot for a company-owned truck that would be used by the company strictly for pickups and deliveries.

• Approved an agreement with NCDOT for the Harper Road Interchange Landscape Maintenance Agreement. The agreement states that NCDOT will maintain the planting areas for two years at no expense to Clemmons, and at the end of that time, the maintenance will be split between the two parties.

• Heard from finance director Ann Stroud on several resolutions with the following approvals: Approved Resolution 2023-R-04 designating official depositories (banks) in Clemmons; approved resolutions for tax collection by the Forsyth County Tax Collector for 2023-R-05 – collection of 2023 taxes, and for 2023-R-06 – collection of 2022 and prior years’ taxes; approved Resolution 2023-R-07 establishing new accounting standards for leases; and approved Resolution 2023-R-08 amending the fixed asset threshold to be consistent for all transactions.