PILOT MOUNTAIN — The regular meeting of the Pilot Mountain Board of Commissioners opened with the swearing in of two new commissioners and expressions of gratitude for the service of two outgoing board members. A proclamation recognizing November as Hospice Awareness Month was also read.
New commissioners Cordie Armstrong and Dwight Atkins were sworn in by the Honorable Spencer G. Key Jr.
“It is always a privilege to be here in my hometown,” said Key. “They (Armstrong and Atkins) are hardworking and I think they’re going to do a good job. I am glad for their commitment to the community.” Following the swearing in ceremony, commissioner Linda Needham was appointed mayor pro tem.
Mayor Earl T. Sheppard read a proclamation recognizing November as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. The measure praised the ongoing efforts of hospice and palliative care services and support to patients and family caregivers facing serious and life limiting illness.
“The provision of quality hospice and palliative care reaffirms our belief in the essential dignity of every person, regardless of age, health or social status and that every stage of human life deserves to be treated with the utmost respect and care,” said Sheppard. He also indicated hospice and palliative care providers encourage all people to learn more about options of care and to share their wishes with family, loved ones, and health care professionals.
Sheppard next presented outgoing commissioner Carolyn Boyles with a plaque honoring her 23 years of service on the board. Boyles’ foresight and zeal for the community was praised in the measure. Boyles first term began in 1992. Outgoing commissioner Andrew French was likewise honored with a plaque. The resolution recognized him for outstanding service and devotion to the community during his tenure. French was elected to the board in 2007.
The board also chose to appoint Billy Sawyers to the ABC board to fill the seat of Dwight Atkins, who resigned from the position once elected as a commissioner.
In other action the board approved a resolution requesting the General Assembly extend its Transitional Hold Harmless reimbursements funds for towns. According to Town Manager Homer Dearmin, the General Assembly authorized an additional local option sales tax in 2002 and repealed existing reimbursements to local governments.
A total of 122 municipalities and 17 counties which had negative budget impacts from the combined repeal of reimbursements and new sales tax were to receive the hold harmless payments for 10 years. Dearmin told the commissioners the 2011-2012 state budged does not include an extension of the hold harmless payment period.
He said the town would lose approximately $26,000 in its 2013-2014 budget year if the payments were not extended to allow sales tax revenue to grow to replace the hold harmless payments. The measure urges the General Assembly to restore the payments for a “reasonable” period of time.
The board also passed an environmental indemnification agreement which, according to attorney Edwin Woltz, would protect the town and potential buyers in the proposed sale of in the Pilot Center from environmental issues. Woltz told the board a preliminary assessment raised the question of petroleum by-product and sock dyes contamination from the former facility.
Woltz said subsequent surveys confirmed underground storage tanks had been properly closes off according to state regulations. A proposed offer from Otay LLC to purchase units 2 and 3 for $213,000 has been made. The board voted to move ahead with advertising for bids on the properties.
Dearmin also informed the board that the renovations to the Pilot Center for Surry Community College are nearing completion and the dedication of the center has been set for Dec. 12 at noon.
In the public address portion of the meeting, Michael McCarty complemented the board on the recent candidate forum.
‘The forum at the Armfield Center was much better this year than last,” said McCarty.”It was a super job. Everyone was so defensive last year. This year it went smoother which was nice. I do wish the questions had been a bit tougher.” He encouraged the board to “own” their positions. McCarty said that it was how they conduct themselves after the fact that earns admiration of people in town and said serious thinkers are needed during serious times.
“In one year you (the previous board) took a town on life support and moved us to ICU. We are better off,” said McCarty. He also asked the board to put pressure on county commissioners, local legislators and state and national representatives to allow hemp to be grown.
He said hemp is a different species than marijuana and does not contain ingredients to intoxicate people.
“Farmers who would be allowed to grow hemp would net $50 to $100 more per acre than growing canola,” said McCarty. “Hemp makes better biodiesel, it is used in beauty products, rope and clothing.”
McCarty also asked the board to support local businessman John Riggs in his efforts to establish an indoor shooting range.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.