DOBSON — During last night’s meeting of the Dobson Board of Commissioners, the town changed its sign ordinance in an effort to promote uniformity.
The planning board met just prior to the town board’s meeting and voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance that brings signs in the B-1 (Central Business) district in line with the B-2 (Highway Business) district signs. Signs in the B1 area of town, which is primarily the downtown area, are now 7 feet tall.
Now that the town board has approved the change, signs could be as tall as 15 feet. Signs in town that are now taller than 15 feet were grandfathered in when the sign ordinance was originally adopted.
Since Mayor Ricky Draughn submitted the request for the change to the town as a business owner, he asked the board to appoint a commissioner to lead the discussion and any voting in Mayor Pro-Tem Lana Brentle’s absence at the meeting. Commissioner Wayne Atkins was chosen by the board.
During a public hearing on the sign ordinance changes, Dobson resident Jamie Tilley, who serves on the town’s planning board as an alternate, suggested that the town re-zone the mayor’s business, Draughn’s Auto Parts, so that he would be able to put his new sign up.
Town Manager Josh Smith pointed out that several businesses, including one that is considering moving to town, were in favor of the taller signs. He said the shorter signs sometimes block the line of sight for motorists.
When the matter came to a vote, Commissioner John Lawson made the motion. Commissioner Todd Dockery made the second.
The board also voted to make changes the town’s personnel policy. One of the changes included a longevity plan, which Smith said amounts to a Christmas bonus. The policy basically remains the same, it just eliminates some overlapping years in the way the policy is written.
Also in the policy was the addition of education attainment pay which will offer merit raises based on degrees earned. A full-time employee who earns an associate’s degree in a field directly related to their classification with the town will earn 2 percent more. Those who earn bachelor’s degrees will earn 5 percent more.
Commissioners also approved a Pay to Save program for employees so that any who bring new, cost-saving ideas to the town will be rewarded. Employees can receive a one-time reward equal to 10 percent of the monetary savings experienced with a minimum reward of $50 and a maximum reward of $500. A reward of $50 will be given in situations where the exact monetary savings cannot be accurately quantified, Smith said. All rewards are subject to approval by the town manager.
Smith told the board that the interconnect water lines with Mount Airy are flowing smoothly. He said the town was even able to shut down its water plant for several days. He said so far this month, the town has used 10 million gallons. The town is required to purchase 8 million gallons per month according to its agreement with Mount Airy. He jokingly said that the town hasn’t gotten its first bill yet.
Smith said several people in town have been asking him about starting a community garden. The board discussed this matter at previous meetings, but decided it wants to lease land on Cooper Street to a non-profit organization so that the town is not liable for insuring the project. Smith said he is talking to a couple of churches that are interested in taking on the project.
He said new windows will be installed at the Dobson Public Library soon to replace old, worn-out windows there.
Smith also told the board that the 9-11 parade will be held on Sept. 8 this year. The Dobson Fall Fest will be held on Oct. 20 and Surry Central High School’s homecoming parade will be held on Oct. 5.
Reach Mondee Tilley at email@example.com or at 719-1930.