[Featured image: A prototype drawing of the winning logo in the Town of Murphy Logo Contest created by artist and local resident Justin Mack.]
MURPHY, N.C. – The Monday, May 7, Murphy City Council meeting saw the council rezone property on the Hiwassee River and announce the winner of the City Logo Contest.
A public hearing on the rezoning of four parcels located on the Hiwassee River between Petrie Street and U.S. Hwy. 64 kicked off the meeting. The rezoning proposal of the parcels, owned by Charlene M. Smith, Noland Smith, William H. McKeever, William H. Forsyth Jr., Marion Forsyth, would rezone the property from R-2 Residential to H-B Highway Business.
When asked by a citizen of the reasoning behind the rezoning and the potential tax implications, Councilman Frank Dickey provided an explanation, saying the move updates the zoning in the city.
“The property owners requested it. The natural growth since the four-lane came through has been in that area. It’s not conducive for R-2 Residential,” Dickey stated. “Taxes will probably be the same, and hopefully, they’ll triple … We reviewed it and recommended it and passed it on to the board for this public hearing.”
Of the rezoning, Mayor Rick Ramsey stated, “It gives the town of Murphy (an opportunity) for that property being productively used in a way that current zoning would not really afford us as a town.”
Later in the meeting, the council approved the rezoning with Councilman Noland Smith, being one of the property owners, recusing himself from the vote.
The council also held a public hearing on a proposed amendment to the town charter to consider non-partisan council elections.
Melody Johnson, a resident, spoke in favor of the proposed change stating she felt a non-partisan election would attract more voters. “I don’t want to vote for the party; I want to vote for the person,” Johnson said.
City Attorney Ronald Cowan explained the council could vote to approve the amendment at its next meeting after publicly advertising the proposed change. That approval would change the elections to non-partisan without the need of a referendum. However, Cowan added if 10 percent of the city’s registered voters petitioned to have the issue presented as a referendum in an upcoming election, the referendum would have to pass before any changes could be made to the current election format.
Ramsey announced the winner and the winning design of the recent Town of Murphy Logo Contest. The mayor told of the success of the contest and a participation celebration held Thursday, May 3, which featured attendees U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows and state Representative Kevin Corbin. According to Ramsey, there were 42 entries in the contest that were narrowed down to six finalists by city employees. From those six, residents had the opportunity to cast their vote and there were 572 total votes.
Turning the presentation over to Councilwomen Karen Watson and Gail Stansell, an enlarged copy of the winning design was unveiled from underneath a black cloth revealing a colorful sketch from Justin Mack to be the winner. The circular design features the words “Murphy North Carolina” at the top and “The City of Flowers” at the bottom of the logo along with “Est. 1851” flanking the center on the left and right of the logo, respectively. In the center inset, a mix of warm and cool colors portrays a sunset scene with the mountains to the west of the city in the background, a shadowy skyline view of downtown Murphy with the prominent courthouse dome in the middle ground, and a colorful array of flowers in the immediate foreground.
“It was a great competition and the art was very competitive. Congratulations, sir. You were up against the best,” Mayor Ramsey told Mack, who was in attendance for the unveiling.
Described as a “forever-more brand” of Murphy by Ramsey, the design will be adopted as the city’s official logo. In addition to the honor, Mack received a cash award of $100 for his winning design.
In other business, the council approved a $4,500 budget request from the Cherokee County Arts Council for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
The council announced a public hearing will take place Monday, June 4, at 5 p.m. during its regular meeting to address the proposed 2018-19 fiscal year budget. Following this, the budget is expected to be adopted at the meeting.
Councilwoman Barbara Hughes announced the city will have a Fourth of July parade this year. The route, according to Hughes, will start at the historic L & N Depot and will commence to Konahetta Park. Hughes stated the city is still in need of volunteers to help organize the event.
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