Dobson to assess road conditions

By Andy Winemiller - awinemiller@s24476.p831.sites.pressdns.com
Craig Hopkins, an accountant from Gibson & Associates, outlines his 2015-16 fiscal year audit findings for the town of Dobson. - Andy Winemiller | The News

DOBSON — Dobson officials want a system in place for identifying which roads need repair and when work needs to be completed.

At its meeting Thursday evening the town Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to enter into an agreement for the completion of a study which will rate each town-maintained road’s condition, identifying priority levels for resurfacing projects.

“It will give us something to reference,” said Town Manager Josh Smith, explaining the study will rate each section of each street’s condition. The N.C. Department of Transportation uses the same system in identifying which roads it will repave.

The contract with J.M. Teague Engineering & Planning for the assessment will cost the town $4,800, according to Smith. The money can come from Powell Bill monies — state dollars restricted to use on road and sidewalk projects — that the town already has on hand.

Smith noted the town receives about $40,000 in Powell Bill monies each year, and it has at least $120,000 in Powell funds in the bank.

Though the roadways assessment will be a long-term planning tool, Smith said the study can immediately help town officials identify which streets it will resurface in an initial large-scale repaving project.

“Ideally we’d like to do one lump-sum project,” said Smith, explaining the more roads the town can resurface in one contract, the more cost savings the town will enjoy.

The contract indicates Teague will complete its assessment within 60 days of receiving the notice to proceed from the town.

• Smith also brought a possible resolution on a matter regarding a digital sign before commissioners, though he did not ask they take any action.

In October the town agreed to enter into a contract with Surry County to lease a portion of the property on which the former courthouse building sits. The town was eyeing the corner of the lot on which banners advertising events are now displayed to be the location for a new digital sign.

The Surry County Board of Commissioners didn’t approve the agreement, however, citing concerns the digital sign would clash with the historic nature of the building which now houses the offices of the district attorney and other court officials.

The sign would be used to advertise town sponsored or tourism related events, with funding by the Dobson Tourism Development Authority.

Smith said he and town staff are eyeing the location of a welcome sign on Atkins Street as the alternate spot for the digital sign.

• Commissioners learned the town has “dotted all its I’s and crossed all its T’s” financially from auditor Craig Hopkins of Gibson & Associates.

Hopkins issued an unmodified opinion after his independent review of the town’s financial statements for the 2015-16 fiscal year, meaning the town’s books are in good order.

Hopkins said the town’s expenditures were down when compared to years prior. Revenue was up by about $30,000, and Hopkins attributed that change to increases in property tax revenues and in the amount of unrestricted intergovernmental funds the town received.

The town has a fund balance of nearly $1.5 million, and about $1.2 million of that is unrestricted and unassigned, added Hopkins.

Smith noted the town has about an entire year’s worth of general fund expenditures in fund balance.

“Good stuff happened here,” concluded Hopkins.

Craig Hopkins, an accountant from Gibson & Associates, outlines his 2015-16 fiscal year audit findings for the town of Dobson.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/web1_DobsonAudit2-1.jpgCraig Hopkins, an accountant from Gibson & Associates, outlines his 2015-16 fiscal year audit findings for the town of Dobson. Andy Winemiller | The News

By Andy Winemiller

awinemiller@s24476.p831.sites.pressdns.com