Holly Springs considers new facilities director position

aspecht@newsobserver.comMarch 14, 2014 

  • Have your say on the budget

    Holly Springs will have a public hearing on next year’s budget during the Town Council meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 18.

    Citizens and groups also can send written suggestions to: Town Clerk, Town of Holly Springs, P.O. Box 8, Holly Springs, N.C. 27540. Or email suggestions to joni.powell@hollyspringsnc.us.

    All comments received will be forwarded to the Town Council and town manager for consideration. The deadline to submit written comments is 5 p.m. Monday, March 17.

— As budget season nears and Holly Springs’ assets grow, town leaders are considering creating a staff position that would be responsible for taking care of the town’s facilities.

“I don’t want (Police Chief) John Herring to have to worry about the air conditioning at the station,” Councilman Hank Dickson said.

Dickson suggested the new position during the Town Council’s retreat to Southern Pines last month, and the council agreed that it should research the issue and come up with a plan before next fiscal year, which starts in July.

“The money, the manpower – all that needs to be looked at,” Councilwoman Cheri Lee said.

Holly Springs hasn’t drafted a budget yet, but town leaders are working on it. The Town Council hopes residents will offer advice on what programs should be expanded or trimmed during a public hearing on Tuesday.

The town’s public works director and parks and recreation director currently share the responsibility for 14 sites, including Town Hall, the police station, the Cultural Arts Center, the wastewater treatment plant, three fire stations and several parks.

The town is also building the North Main Athletic Complex, and it plans to build a new police station.

Meanwhile, Holly Springs staff expect the town’s population to grow by about 8,000 people by 2018, which means the facilities will get more use.

“As the facilities age and the number of facilities increases, I think it’s inevitable we’ll need someone to take care of all that,” Town Manager Chuck Simmons said. “I’m not sure we need to hire them this year, but we need to look at options to address the need.”

Holly Springs council members aren’t sure how much they’re willing to spend on creating a position, and it’s still unclear how much money will be available for next year’s budget.

The town’s growth will likely translate into increased revenue. But the town is also seeking to take on 15- to 20-year $18 million loan this year to help pay for the North Main Athletic Complex, a new police station and road improvements.

“We can probably find money to fund the position,” said Councilman Jimmy Cobb, an accountant. “At what level? It’s too early in the process to know.”

Cobb said he thinks the job has merit.

“It could improve the efficiency of the other department heads,” Cobb said.

Holly Springs’ neighbors offer a glimpse into how a facilities director position could evolve.

In addition to its public works department, Apex has a facilities and operations department and pays the director $91,000 a year to run it.

Apex’s facilities department takes care of the town’s 14 properties, 212 vehicles and 156 pieces of equipment. It has seven employees and is adding another this year, according to Marty Mitchell, the department’s director.

Holly Springs opened Sugg Farm Park and new athletic fields at Womble Park in the last year.

Simmons said Holly Springs hasn’t added a position in the public works or parks and recreation department since 2012 – a customer service representative.

Specht: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @AndySpecht

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