Board of Aldermen hears preliminary ADA self-assessment findings

On Monday, August 2nd, the city council met for an agenda session. The members discussed the city’s self-assessment of the accessibility of facilities and programs, a budget change for the police and old-age provision for city officials. The board also discussed the adoption of an equality resolution and the city’s decision to review vaccination and masking requirements for city employees.

ADA self-assessment

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires state and local governments to conduct self-assessments to ensure facilities and programs accommodate people with disabilities. Last summer, the City of Elon signed a contract with Stewart, Inc., a design, engineering and planning firm to assist the city with the self-assessment and transition plan.

To ensure facilities and programs are ADA compliant, you can make sure the sidewalks are wide enough for wheelchairs or provide captions for photos on the city’s website for the visually impaired.

The city has also solicited public opinion on accessibility through an online poll that will remain open until August 16. Stewart presented preliminary results to the board based on 5.25 miles of walkways examined.

The transition plan, which Stewart officials referred to as a “living document,” is reviewed every five years to see progress and to assess whether further changes need to be made. It also helps determine what changes can be made quickly, such as:

“We don’t have the capacity to do everything in a period of six months,” said Roedner. “It will take us quite a while to address all of these identified problems, both in terms of the capacities to carry out the projects and financially.”

The final transition plan will be submitted after the required public submission deadline.

Budget change

The board also discussed changing the budget to allow the Elon City Police Department to purchase a Dodge Durango for $ 30,000 in 2021. Roedner said police would be happy to buy the car because police cars, much like cars in general, are hard to come by.

Every police vehicle has a lifespan of around 7 to 8 years, said Roedner. The city’s plan was to buy hybrid vehicles for the police to be more sustainable; However, due to vehicle shortages, Roedner said that hybrid vehicles were not available.

Due to the limited availability of police cars, the board approved the budget change tonight.

retirement provision

North Carolina’s retirement policy allows an employee to retire after a certain number of years of service rather than a certain age. For some positions, such as police officers, employees can retire after 20 years. Other civil servants can retire after 30 years of service.

While this allows for earlier retirement, it does not allow employees to have health insurance earlier. An employee must be 65 years of age to be eligible for Medicare.

Board members discussed the city’s ability to cover a portion of a city employee’s health care expenses for those who take early retirement. Currently, healthcare costs per employee are approximately $ 8,000 per year.

In addition to bridging the gap for current workers considering retirement, the offer of a “bonus” could make the city of Elon more competitive in the labor market.

“We have to look at it from the perspective of being competitive and attracting good talent,” said Councilor Monti Allison. “I see so many cases where people who are probably over the age of 30 probably should have retired, but they’re not doing it for health care.”

Councilor Emily Sharpe suggested considering a retirement health insurance savings plan that would allow employees to add money to the fund throughout their employment.

The old-age provision was only discussed and not yet agreed.

Equality resolution

At previous city assemblies, the passing of an anti-discrimination ordinance or an equality resolution was discussed by board members and community members alike. The ordinance or resolution was not on the agenda, but the board members decided to put the item on the agenda for next week.

Masks, mandatory vaccination for employees of the city of Elon

The city of Elon asks employees and parishioners to wear masks in the town hall. Roedner said he was also considering requiring proof of vaccination from city employees, much like Governor Roy Cooper’s decision to require state employees to request proof of vaccination or wear a mask at any time.

The next meeting of the municipal council will take place on August 10th, 2021 at 6 p.m.

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