Mooresville Board of Commissioners discussed getting the town back to normal — or as close to it as possible — during a virtual meeting streamed online Monday due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Tuesday at 11 a.m., the Iredell County Department of Health reported 191 total cases of COVID-19 with 76 cases isolating at home, 104 assumed or estimated recovered, five currently hospitalized and six deaths. “We are starting to see some flattening although there is some concern, I believe, that may not stay that way,” said Town Manager Randy Hemann. “But, for now, things look better.”
Although some town-run buildings have re-opened, many remain closed, he said. Town Hall, the Public Operations Center and the Police Department have re-opened with limited public use. The Mooresville Public Library re-opened Monday with limited hours, services and computer use by appointment and the Mooresville Golf Club is now allowing cart use by members of the same household. All fire stations, indoor recreational centers, the Charles Mack Citizen Center, the Mooresville Skate Park, playgrounds and the War Memorial pool remain closed, however.
The town is looking at costs associated with safely reopening places, including cleaning playground equipment nightly, he said. “We’ll make some decisions in the very near future,” Hemann said.
Commissioner Thurman Houston asked Hemann what to expect for the town-run summer camps and open gym sessions when parents go back to work.
Assistant Town Manager Beau Falgout said the town hoped to possibly offer summer camps and open the War Memorial pool around July depending if Gov. Roy Cooper offers guidance on how to safely hold camps in the state’s Phase 2 re-opening plan. “We’re in the same boat as a lot of summer camps that are trying to figure out how you provide a great experience for the summer while maintaining social distance,” Falgout said.
The town will also watch how private gyms re-open and wait to see if the state provides guidance for town-run gyms and recreation centers, he said.
Mayor Pro Tem Lisa Qualls asked Hemann if the town had thought about how local restaurants could offer outside dining to compensate for reduced dining inside because of social distancing requirements.
Hemann said restaurants will have that flexibility and said downtown restaurants should contact the Mooresville Downtown Commission for guidance. Other restaurants should contact himself or Falgout at Town Hall.
In other COVID-19-related news, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved in the consent agenda a request from the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce to close several downtown streets for the Race City Festival Sept. 19 or Sept. 26 .The festival had been scheduled for May 9 but was disrupted because of the pandemic.
In other news, Hemann presented his recommended $126.5 million fiscal year 2020-21 budget to the board. The proposed budget maintains the current property tax rate of 58 cents per valuation and does not increase water or sewer rates, he said.
There will be a public hearing on the proposed budget June 1 with the Board of Commissioners voting on it later in the month, Hemann said. It is unknown at this time whether the June 1 public hearing will be held virtually or in person.
The Board of Commissioners also unanimously agreed to enter into a locally-administered agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to fund the construction of intersection improvements at N.C. 115 and Langtree Road to address congestion and increasing traffic volume.
The total estimated cost of the project is about $5 million, said Town Engineering Director Jon Young.
The agreement says the town will be reimbursed for 80 percent of the project’s cost, or about $4 million, through direct attributable funding from the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization, Young said. Meanwhile, the town of Mooresville will fund the remaining 20 percent, or about $1 million, Young said. In October 2019, the board approved a resolution provide the 20 percent match, he said.
The project includes a multi-modal crossing enhancement with intersection improvements, Young said.
Over the next few years, the next steps for the project include retaining a design consultant and relocating utilities with construction beginning around Fiscal Year 2025, Young said.