PILOT MOUNTAIN — The regular meeting of the town of Pilot Mountain Board of Commissioners opened Monday night with a presentation by President Faye Carter of the Surry County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Carter began by explaining the structure of the organization which also has national, conference and state chapters.
“We are a local branch of the national NAACP. There are branches in all states. We also have youth and college branches,” said Carter. “Anybody can be a member of the NAACP.” She noted that the organization also has white and Latino members and that the NAACP’s vision is for equal rights for everyone. She said this year marks the 104th anniversary for the national organization and the 50th year for the Surry County Chapter.
She explained how the group had approached county commissioners with a request for a street being named in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and told the group she found it fitting a bridge was named in King’s honor instead of a street.
“We build bridges every day,” added Carter. “If you go throughout the state they’re always working on the roads. Building bridges came to my mind. It is an important part of what we do.” Carter also told the commissioners about participating in the Historic Thousand on Jones Street march. She said the effort was a way for different races to come together and make an impact on legislators in Raleigh.
“We were lending our voices to demonstrate to the legislature about the impact of different bills they would vote on,” said Carter. “We know some of these cuts have to happen, but we want our legislators to think about the why and the who it will effect.” Carter told the commissioners she was proud of the NAACP efforts in voter registration projects which helped to get 4,000 new voters registered in the state in 2013.
Carter told the commissioners the group needs new members because they realize there is strength in numbers and said that while the group cannot give legal advice, it can help steer people of all colors in the right direction in cases of discrimination.
“There is still a lot of work to do,” said Carter. “Right now we are still fighting for the civil rights act. Rights are issues that concern everybody. We go to these areas to stand for what is right. I ask you as elected officials to consider the good of the whole. In the 21st Century, I wonder why we can’t get along. I have a problem with that.”
Also during the meeting, Commissioner Gary Bell briefly discussed getting fire hydrants in town tested, repaired and painted. He praised the project over four years ago where children painted designs on hydrants but said other hydrants had fallen over, become buried in the ground and had fallen in disrepair.
“If anyone has experienced the damage fire can do to a home, they know what I’m talking about,” said Bell. “It can be devastating in a matter of minutes or seconds. Some of these hydrants are rusty and have fallen over and I haven’t a clue if they work. The point has been reached to have them repaired, tested and repainted.”
The commissioners voted to request water flow information and hydrant testing information so a repair strategy could be planned. Mayor Earl Sheppard said the second step of the process would be to contact the Boy Scouts of America to see if they could help with cleaning and repainting the hydrants.
Resident Michael McCarty spoke during the public forum portion of the meeting and encouraged the board to take more steps to open up information about candidates in the upcoming town elections. He told them he felt more information would naturally lead to voters learning about the agendas of candidates.
“People (with more information) could make better informed decisions on who they want to represent them,” said McCarty. “This is something to work towards before the next election.”
Sheppard also signed a proclamation declaring March 11-17 as 2013 Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week for the town. This proclamation was encouraged by the Central North Carolina Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In other business, Town Manager Homer Dearmin told the commissioners the town now has a Facebook page and a Twitter page.
Dearmin said the annual downtown cleanup effort will be held on April 27 and the first 2013 cruise-in for the town will be held on May 4.
He also said the town had been holding off on taking down the Christmas lights until the remainder of a set of banners arrive to be placed in 20 separate locations in the town. The banners were provided through the Yadkin Valley Heritage Corridor project and the Pilot Mountain Tourism Development Authority. Rather than spend twice on having a truck to take down the lights and put up the rest of the banners, Dearmin said he felt waiting was more cost efficient.
Dearmin also reported to the board that the state Local Government Commission had noted the improvement in the town fund balance but is concerned with the balance when the town was compared to other municipalities of similar size. The commission requested an update on the town’s plan to increase the fund balance which the commissioners resolved to do in the coming weeks.
In departmental reports, Police Chief Daryl Bottoms announced that Operation Medicine Drop will be held on March 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Mount Pilot Drug Store on Main Street. Persons may contact Sgt. R.D. Bingman at 368-2247, ext. 203, for more information.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.