Usually, members of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners who also represent the city on outside groups are reappointed to those bodies if they choose — but the city board has deviated from that in the case of one commissioner.
For the past six years, South Ward Commissioner Steve Yokeley has served as Mount Airy’s representative with a regional organization made up of officials of member counties and municipalities who collectively tackle issues affecting the entire region.
The Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC) is a voluntary association of local governments, both urban and rural, which is empowered by state law to make and implement joint regional decisions and promote cooperation among the various communities involved. The PTRC includes Surry and 11 other counties stretching from the Virginia border to Montgomery County and 61 municipalities including Mount Airy.
Within its framework is the Northwest Piedmont Rural Planning Organization and the Transportation Advisory Committee, with the latter a subcommittee consisting of elected officials from Surry, Stokes, Yadkin and Davie counties and municipalities within those.
The organization recently notified City Manager Barbara Jones that it was time to appoint a member to the transportation committee, a role now held by Yokeley.
When the appointment/reappointment issue arose at a commissioners meeting last week, he expressed interest in continuing to serve — and it was noted that it would in Mount Airy’s best interest if Yokeley remained in that capacity.
Commissioner Dean Brown subsequently made a motion to reappoint Yokeley to the regional group.
However, the board’s Jim Armbrister nominated Commissioner Shirley Brinkley instead.
In the deciding vote, Armbrister, Brinkley and Commissioner Jon Cawley voted in favor of her appointment.
Membership with the Transportation Advisory Committee of the regional council allows officials of localities to ensure that the transportation needs and interests of their communities are being represented.
Brinkley will be responsible for keeping municipalities in Surry informed about the status and requirements of the transportation planning process, and helping to provide meaningful public participation concerning rural transportation issues.
Among the committee’s functions are developing and prioritizing suggestions for projects that Northwest rural representatives believe should be included in the State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP), and forging long-range local and regional transportation plans.
The transportation committee is scheduled to meet six times this year, in Kernersville.
On the same night Yokeley’s bid for reappointment to the regional group failed, the commissioners voted 4-1, with Yokeley dissenting, to dissolve a city redevelopment commission he has chaired since 2014.
In a related matter, members of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners have received committee assignments from Mayor David Rowe, as required after municipal elections are held.
Included are standing committees for various facets of city government:
• The Public Safety Committee is made up of commissioners Cawley and Brown.
• Public Works Committee members are commissioners Brinkley and Armbrister.
• The Finance Committee includes Brinkley and Commissioner Yokeley.
In addition to the standing committees are special committees that are assigned to other key areas. Among these are:
• The Water and Sewer Committee, composed of Brinkley and Cawley.
• The Recreation Committee, Armbrister and Cawley.
• The Relocation/Retirement Committee, Brinkley and Brown.
Commissioners attend meetings related to the respective areas of responsibility and make recommendations to the full council for action.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.