County discusses water project

First Posted: 11/16/2009

DOBSON The Surry County commissioners discussed at their meeting last night a potential water project for the Pilot Mountain area, which would provide service to 260 potential customers.
The project would consist of nine miles of water mains constructed to the west of Pilot Mountain along the N.C. 268 corridor. It would provide approximately 40,000 gallons per day that could be purchased from the Pilot Mountain water system, giving the town an additional revenue source.
The estimated cost of the project is $1,410,000, but the scope of the project could be adjusted based on public interest.
We think this is something that would be useful to Pilot Mountain in helping them with their excess capacity problem, and we believe that it would serve a vital interest in getting water out to an area that may need it, said Jack Gardin, county water and sewer projects coordinator.
The board approved having Gardin pursue the first steps in the project, which would include assessing the interest of property owners in the area and the town of Pilot Mountain and looking into U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development grants to fund the project.
If the project were to receive funds from the USDA-RD, the county would have to form a water district in the area and pass a bond referendum.
The idea of running water lines in Pilot Mountain is not new. The possibility has been discussed at previous meetings.
Commissioner Bill Hamlin said, I think this is something weve been wanting to do with Pilot for a long time.

Zoning issues approved
Also during the meeting, two public hearings were held regarding zoning issues. No members of the public came up to speak during either hearing.
The first hearing was about a zoning text amendment to allow temporary occupancy in a single camper or recreational vehicle in lower density residential districts while home construction is underway. The board unanimously approved this amendment, which will allow occupancy for up to two years while a building permit for a new home is valid.
It frees up money for the owner to put into the house, explained Kim Bates, county planning director.
The second hearing was about rezoning the tract of land on Old Highway 52 near Ararat Road that was donated to Habitat For Humanity. The 7.21-acre lot was rezoned for single-family residential purposes.

Elections slip up
The election results mix-up with the Mount Airy race for mayor was addressed at the meeting by Susan Jarrell, elections director, and Brian Sharpe, management information systems director.
On the night of the election, it was incorrectly announced that Teresa Lewis had won the mayoral race. Jarrell explained that the mess-up occurred with her office and not the polling locations.
The modems used to transfer the electronic votes were not working on election night at two locations, so results had to be called in. Jarrell said the tallies were reported to the county in alphabetical order, but the countys sheet of candidates had not been proofed and did not follow the same order. When the original tapes were compared around 35 minutes after the results were initially announced, the county realized that Deborah Cochran was in fact the winner.
We do deeply regret it, Jarrell remarked. We have a procedure in place so that it cant happen again … We have spoken to both candidates, and they have been very gracious.
Jarrell and Sharpe confirmed that the modems, which are dial-up modems issued by the state, were tested before being sent out. These modems, which Sharpe said can be temperamental, worked at the sites before and after the election.
We may never know what happened, said Jarrell.

Other business handled
Todd Tucker, president of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, came before the board with a request from Project Protect to extend the benchmarks in the agreed contract with the county. The business proposes to bring a total of 200 jobs to the county, with the county purchasing a facility for the project at a cost of nearly $1 million.
The commissioners approved the request to extend the deadlines to create 114 jobs within 12 to 18 months and 200 jobs in 24 to 36 months.
Several other topics of interest were addressed at the meeting:
The board voted to approve resolutions to pursue $1.1 million in public building bonds and $9 million in general obligation refunding bonds to help pay building costs and debts. The county will now file applications with the Local Government Commission and appoint bond counsel. Public hearings will be held at the Dec. 7 meeting of the board regarding these debts.
The board approved the request from the White Plains Ruritan Club to tear down the old cafeteria building at the White Plains Community Center to convert to parking space.
County Manager Dennis Thompson introduced the idea recently proposed at a meeting with Mount Airy to evaluate Surry County as a location for a regional sports complex. A possible slogan would be Surry County trains champions. The board put this on the agenda for its Feb. 19 planning retreat.
Emergency Services Director John Shelton gave the board an update on the new Viper radio system in the county which would allow better communication between law enforcement and emergency management agencies. The console system upgrade is now complete. The county was able to get an additional $350,000 in grant money from the state for radios. An additional $100,000 was also received for radio systems in the ambulances. The county has received a total of $5,350,000 to date in grant money for the radio system.
The commissioners made two special presentations during the meeting. They recognized Richard Moore Gwynn, who recently achieved the status of Eagle Scout. They also recognized Robert Coleson, Roger Horton and Barry McMillian for winning the International Trauma Life Support Paramedic Competition.
The board voted to extend the deadline for woodland management plans to December 2010. The county sent out requests to several hundred owners of woodland tracts exceeding 20 acres to turn in management plans, and Tax Administrator Michael Hartgrove said the county had since received several calls. The state requires these owners to have plans, and the county is trying to come into compliance with this requirement. Property owners will now have longer to come into compliance with the county.
The county adopted a Contagious Temporary Illness Policy and Procedure for county employees in wake of the H1N1 virus spread. This policy will give supervisors guidelines for how to handle sickness in the workplace in an effort to prevent the spread of illness.
The next meeting of the Surry County Board of Commissioners will be held at the county government center on Dec. 7 at 6 p.m.
Contact Meghann Evans at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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