DOBSON — While economic development activity has been down in Surry County this year, two projects are in the early stages in Dobson, town commissioners were told Thursday night.
Todd Tucker, president of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, reported to the town board of commissioners that two Dobson-related projects are under way, but still in the confidential stages. Town Manager Josh Smith then updated the commissioners on those projects during a closed session at the end of the night.
In addition, Tucker reported that one new business could possibly be locating in Surry County, for a creation of about 100 jobs, and another Surry County business is working on an expansion that could lead to about 40 new jobs.
He also highlighted various economic-related programs such as Leadership Surry County and a group of young professionals meeting in Mount Airy.
During a public forum portion of Thursday’s meeting, Dobson Librarian Karen Roth spoke in support of a proposed town park in the downtown area.
Roth explained that the proposed location of the park, which is near the library, would benefit the library in making it more visible to the public as well as giving the library a place to hold events and programs, as it is limited in space within its existing facility.
She also noted there are a number of families in the town with transportation limitations, so travel to Surry County’s nearby Fisher River Park isn’t an option for those families. But they could easily walk to the proposed park.
During a report by Finance Officer Laura Hill, the board learned that at this time in the fiscal year, which started July 1, revenues are outpacing expenditures.
Also finance-related, the commissioners were told that they would get an audit report for the 2011-12 fiscal year during their November meeting. They were informed by Smith Thursday night that the town has a surplus in both of its funds, with the water and sewer fund showing a $78,000 surplus. Audit work was still being done on the general fund, so while a surplus is expected, a final total was not available.
The board unanimously voted to approve an amendment to the audit contract with Jack Wilson CPA to change the deadline for the audit from the end of October
The commissioners unanimously approved a contribution request to the Surry Storm volleyball team of $500.
Camarra Kidd, a representative of the Dobson team, explained that its biggest expense is for in-county and out-of-county travel.
During town business, the commissioners agreed to move their November meeting, originally scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, to Nov. 29. They decided to wait until November to either move or cancel the December meeting, which would fall two days after Christmas.
Also, the board decided to hold its town Christmas party, in which it invites officials from the various Surry County departments, representatives of the county’s municipalities and others, totaling a couple hundred people, on Dec. 14.
During grant updates, Smith reported that new containers ordered for the Pedestrian Recycling Program were put out around downtown Thursday. The containers are blue and clearly marked for recycling, and will take anything recyclable. Smith said Waste Management will service those containers as it does the town’s curbside program.
He also reported that participation in the town’s curbside recycling program is up to 55 percent, from the 30 percent participation it had in the first couple of months of its implementation in January.
Smith further said the town continues to work with firm Anderson & Associates and the North Carolina Rural Center to transfer grant money awarded for a Prison Camp Road sewer project to be used instead for the Aluminum Sledge Handling Project.
He said the town decided several months ago not to go forward with the Prison Camp Road project because there was a half-million dollar gap between the funding support received and the bids that came in higher than expected. The project was to serve 10 out-of-town customers.
A first public input session to gain residents’ comments and ideas about the proposed town park was held this past weekend during Dobson Fall Fest, Smith reported, noting that about 70 people provided input and filled out a survey. He said the town will likely have another input session in November, but a date has not been set for that.
Those interested in giving input on the proposed park can do so online by visiting the town’s website at www.dobson-nc.com and going to the News and Announcements link. Smith said the survey takes less than five minutes to complete.
“The response to the survey and participation goes a long way in getting a grant from PARTF (the state Parks and Recreation Trust Fund),” Smith said.
In outlining general town business, Smith reminded the board and residents that during the months of November and December, water customers can save money on their bills by donating food toward the town’s canned food drive. For each pound of food donated, customers can save $1 off their bill, up to $5 each month.
Last year, the town donated 700 pounds of items to Foothills Food Pantry, but that was mostly donations from town employees. Smith said he is hoping for more residential participation this year.
Also, the town will be doing a “Christmas Ambush” this year.
Smith explained that the municipality is wanting community members to email the town at firstname.lastname@example.org with nominations of a family within the town limits with some type of extenuating circumstances preventing them from providing a good Christmas for their family. Using donations, employee and residents’ contributions, the town is going to ambush the family on Christmas Eve unannounced to present all the gifts, food and money.
After a closed session to discuss a possible land acquisition and economic development, no action was taken.
Reach Wendy Byerly Wood at email@example.com or at 719-1923.