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Talk of Our Towns 

Cities Honored with 2014 Housing North Carolina Awards


 A Housing North Carolina award winner, Carney Place is a 22-home neighborhood created through a partnership between the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity and the City of Asheville that produced a community of energy-efficient, single-family homes in the trendy West End area, which is otherwise beyond the proce range of moderate income residents. Photo credit: NC Housing Finance Agency

Four housing developments and the cities of Asheboro and Jacksonville received Housing North Carolina Awards on Oct. 15 for excellence in affordable housing.

Sponsored by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, the 25-year-old statewide awards recognize outstanding rental, homeownership and supportive housing developments that can serve as models for other communities.

In Asheville and Jacksonville, partnerships between city government, the Habitat for Humanity affiliate and private builders created attractive, affordable neighborhoods that have improved both communities. The City of Asheboro was recognized for its support for affordable housing, particularly its investments in two rental developments for families near downtown. A rental development in Cornelius captured an award for providing high-quality apartments for working families that are convenient to businesses and downtown. Winners in Wilmington and Charlotte created safe, state-of-the-art living environments for individuals making the transition back into society after incarceration, and for victims of domestic violence.

The winners were selected for affordability; design (attractiveness, energy-efficiency); contribution to the community; sustainability as affordable housing; and features such as services for residents and creative partnerships.

Approximately 1,000 people attended the 25th annual Housing North Carolina Awards luncheon during the N.C. Affordable Housing Conference at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Garner first in state to receive APWA accreditation

The Garner Department of Public Works was recently been awarded a prestigious American Public Works Association Accreditation. The Accreditation program recognizes public works agencies that go beyond the requirements of the management practices established nationally in the public works industry, as contained in the APWA Public Works Management Practices Manual. Garner’s Public Works Department becomes the 95th Accredited Agency in North America and the first in the state of North Carolina to have been awarded.

The Garner Public Works Department began the Accreditation process in September 2011, and the Accreditation was awarded on September 30, 2014. The Public Works Department was presented the Accreditation plaque at the Town Council Meeting on Monday, November 3, 2014, in the Town Hall Council Chambers.

“The awarding of the APWA Accreditation shows that we have dedicated ourselves to concepts of improvement and in-depth self-assessment of department policies, procedures and practices. In particular, Garner had 12 model practices cited by the Accreditation team, including nine for grounds and one each for facilities and inventories, strategic plan and customer service, for example - the Town’s garner info app,” said Garner Public Works Director Paul Cox.

Garner’s Public Works Department’s mission is “committed to providing superior support within our community through professional and customer-focused services.” The department is comprised of several divisions, including Administration, Streets Unit, Public Grounds Unit, Facility Unit, and the Fleet Management Unit.

For the Town of Garner’s Public Works Accreditation review, a team of public works professionals from Lee’s Summit, MO; Charleston, SC; Covington, GA; and Kansas City, MO, completed a thorough evaluation of operations during their September 2014 site visit.

“It’s great to have the Garner Department of Public Works reach full compliance in their practices, including the 12 model practices on their first Accreditation. I commend their commitment to the detailed review of the agency’s policies and procedures to qualify,” said APWA Accreditation Director Ann Daniels.

Jacksonville named Municipal Conservationist of the Year

In the late 1990s the City of Jacksonville began the Wilson Bay Initiative to clean the waters that for decades had been sullied by the City’s wastewater treatment plant. The old wastewater treatment plant was repurposed as Sturgeon City, an environmental education center which hosts school field trips, public events and makes learning about science fun for students and their teachers. Last year, more than 10,000 children took park in educational activities at Sturgeon City.

It is for this work and other efforts to clean the waters of the New River that the City of Jacksonville was named the Municipal Conservationist of the Year by the North Carolina Wildlife Federation during a September awards banquet in Cary.

“These programs worked and helped to make things clean in Wilson Bay but the legacy goes beyond that, in that a community found in its river a chance to renew itself,” said Jacksonville Assistant City Manager Glenn Hargett.

Hargett accepted the award on behalf of the City of Jacksonville and was joined on stage by Jay Levine and Larry Hobbs. Levin was instrumental to the Wilson Bay Initiative with an innovative use of oysters to help clean the water in the bay and Hobbs brought his skills to help restore the wetlands surrounding Wilson bay.

“We would like to add our thank you to Jacksonville, to Glenn Hargett and to Sturgeon City for steadfast dedication to cleaning up abuses of the past and committing to a sustainable future,” said T. Edward Nickens, Chair of NC Wildlife Federation Awards Committee.

The NC Wildlife Federation has recognized outstanding conservation work in North Carolina with the Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards for the past 51 years.

Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments elects officers, honors officials


Kerr Tar: Pictured from left to right at the Kerr Tar Regional Council of Governments Annual Awards Banquet are: Mayor Pro Tem John Allers, Franklinton Municipal Award, Franklinton Manager Tammy Ray, Outstanding Town Manager Award recipient, Bryan Pfohl, COG Board Member Award, Jimmy Clayton, Retiring Chairman, Kelly Grissom, Vance County Clerk to the Board, Danny Wright, COG Board Member Award, Ulysses Ross, Warren County Commissioner, and Jerry Ayscue, Regional Star Award. Photo credit: Kerr Tar Regional Council of Governments

The Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments held its Annual Awards Banquet in September at the Soldiers’ Memorial Sports Arena in Butner. New officers for 2014/2015 were installed as follows: President Mayor Elic Senter of Franklinton, Vice Chairman Commissioner Tommy Hester or Vance County, and Treasurer Commissioner Barry Richardson of Warren County. Senter also presented Franklinton Mayor Pro Tem John Allers the Outstanding Region K Municipal Official Award. Franklinton Manager Tammy Ray was also honored as Outstanding City or County Manager.