PILOT MOUNTAIN — In response to Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed budget released last week, which would cut millions of dollars to the North Carolina Rural Center and the Golden LEAF Foundation, the Pilot Mountain Board of Commissioners Monday night approved a resolution asking legislators to stop the cuts from taking place.
McCrory’s budget, Mayor Earl Sheppard explained to those in attendance at Monday’s monthly meeting, proposes $10 million in cuts, or 60 percent of the budget, to the Rural Center. The center has provided a large amount of funding support to the town’s projects, including a pending grant application “to fund infrastructure mapping that the town of Pilot Mountain would otherwise be unable to afford,” the resolution reads.
The resolution is to “voice its opposition to the proposed cuts to the NC Rural Center funding,” requests that state legislators keep funding “at its current level” and to consider the potential impact the budget proposal could have on rural local governments.
During discussion, Commissioner Cordie Armstrong added that funding to Golden LEAF Foundation would be cut, and Sheppard added that if the governor’s proposed budget passes, it would end funding to the Golden LEAF Foundation in April of 2014. The town has received more than $2 million for projects from Golden LEAF.
Sheppard requested that the town consider a similar resolution in support of continued funding for Golden LEAF at its April meeting.
“We have dollars at stake with this budget,” Town Manager Homer Dearmin said. “The legislators need to know that the budget could be detrimental to rural counties and town in the state.”
Cemetery changes approved
Also, during the board meeting, Emily Antonecchia, a member of the city’s Cemetery Committee, addressed the commissioners with a proposal for developing a scatter garden at the mausoleum.
She explained during a recent trip to Charlotte, she was able to see a scatter garden at a church’s cemetery, and Commissioner Linda Needham also recently saw one in Virginia during a trip.
“It is a really good place for friends and family who have someone cremated to find peace of mind and for closure,” she said as she explained the project and reasoning behind the garden to the commissioners. “The one in Charlotte and in Virginia have a place for a plaque where the names of those scattered can be remembered.”
The scatter garden will be an open place with the proposed plans including a bench for seating and landscaping.
Upon a motion for approval from Needham and a second from Commissioner Gary Bell, the board unanimously approved the project.
Financial items addressed
A number of other items were addressed by the commissioners during the meeting, in addition to receiving updates and reports from Dearmin and town departments.
The commissioners unanimously approved a budget amendment adjusting additional tax penalties and interest revenue of $2,700 and allocating that funding for use among the town’s departments.
Dearmin reported that the town’s revenue is about $30,000 short of where it should be for this time of year, but “I fell real good about where we are.”
He said he is more concerned about expenditures, and reported he has met with all the department heads and “at this point, all nonessential expenditures are not to be made.”
The board also set up a budget workshop to prepare for the 2013-14 budget season for April 11 from 4 to 6 p.m. to give Dearmin guidance and input on how to develop the coming fiscal year budget.
In the ABC Board’s report, Chairman Marshall Atkins noted that February’s sales were $59,961, which was a 2.98 percent increase over February 2012 sales.
“We’ve got 15 months with an increase in sales over the same month last year,” Atkins reported.
He said at some point, that is expected to level out. Also, Atkins said a report from Raleigh lobbyists is that there is no sign of interest in privatizing ABC sales in McCrory’s agenda, something that had been a concern in previous years.
Other business discussed
In other business:
• The board discussed the desire to have representation from the Pilot Knob Volunteer Fire Department present at the town board meetings, as well as having a presence at Mayfest and other town activities.
• Commissioners received an update that the fire department received its letter requesting a plan to start testing the town’s hydrants, and that the Boy Scouts are on board for helping paint hydrants when the time comes.
• The town received an email from the Greater Mount Airy Habitat for Humanity thanking it for its participation in welcoming college students from out of town who were helping build a home on Old Highway 52 South during their spring breaks.
• Pilot Mountain Rescue Squad Chief Darin Manuel explained the process of how the search for a Pilot Mountain man on Feb. 18 began and the steps it takes to make sure the search runs smoothly and that the person is located. He thanked the 79 volunteers including citizens, law enforcement, rescue and fire personnel, nonprofit groups, as well as First Baptist Church where the command post was set up, for their assistance.
“As a chief, you always wonder if you will have enough help when something like this happens,” Manuel said. “The citizens and volunteers are always there to help when they are needed in this county. I challenge every citizen of Pilot Mountain to take time to help those in need. It’s not about who they are or what they need, it’s about they are in need and you can help make a difference.”
• Dearmin reported that letters have been sent out to property owners warning of junk cars and other issues, and he said in a couple of weeks, the town would be taking action on a few of those addressed. He is working with the town attorney on how to collect funding back once the town cleans a property up, whether that be through property liens or other means.
• The Pilot Mountain American Legion post is assisting the town in a project to put flag poles at the Pilot Center. In addition, Sports Solution has started work on its portion of the building by putting on a new roof and knocking out the old blocked up windows and installing windows to match the town’s portion of the building.
• The town’s large-item pick-up will begin April 8. Dearmin asked that citizens not put items out on the street until a couple of days before their scheduled pick-up. More information and a schedule are posted on the town’s website, www.townofpilotmountain.com, and Facebook page.
• On Wednesday, Dearmin as well as Commissioners Atkins, Needham and Bell will be attending Town Hall Day at the state Capitol for an opportunity to meet with legislators.
• On Thursday, 20 members of the Directors of Tobacco Trust and the dean of the school of agriculture at N.C. State University will be meeting at the Pilot Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. They will tour the center from 1 to 2 p.m. Sheppard said they chose the center because they were so impressed with the project.
Reach Wendy Byerly Wood at email@example.com or at 719-1923.