County moving forward on two fronts

Last week, the Surry County Board of Commissioners continued work on two items that were particularly noteworthy.

First was the county’s continued move to leave Paypal as an online payment processor. This is in response to Paypal’s decision to cancel construction of a center in Charlotte — at a cost of around 400 new jobs — after the North Carolina General Assembly passed HB2.

We still believe HB2 is an absolutely horrible piece of legislation that has nothing to do with protecting women and children in public restrooms (that’s a convenient smokescreen for the General Assembly leadership to push through all sorts of other, absolutely unrelated measures, many of which had already been rejected).

But, Paypal’s knee jerk and hypocritical reaction simply grates on the nerves of nearly all folks, no matter which side of the HB2 bill one rests. Paypal does business with some of the world’s worst governments, where being gay or transgender is grounds for imprisonment or even public execution, so we have a hard time accepting that Paypal cancelled its move as anything other than a PR stunt.

During discussions last week on the continued movement away from Paypal and toward Forte Payment Systems Inc., board Vice Chairman Eddie Harris made a point of saying the county needs to let Paypal know, in no uncertain terms, why Surry County is severing ties.

Perhaps, once Surry has completed the process, it would be good for the rest of the state to follow Surry’s lead and show Paypal it has more to lose over this rift than does the state of North Carolina.

Second, we note that the county’s so-called war on litter is off to a rousing start, with a couple of interesting programs to help clean up the county.

One is a strategy to partner with non-profit organizations that will clean up some of the county’s roads, while being paid $3 per bag of litter they pick up. This money would come from a $10,000 fund the commissioners set aside to fund the anti-litter efforts.

This seems like a wonderful way for the county to put some of the clean-up efforts into the hands of the public, while allowing non-profits a way to raise what is surely some much-needed cash.

The second strategy is contracting with a company for that company to clean up roadways not covered by a clean-up agreement with the state Department of Transportation. That firm would clean portions of Park Drive, Sheep Farm Road, Hiatt Road and Old U.S. 52.

In exchange for the work, Surry County would waive tipping fees at the landfill for that firm.

This is a good example of a public-private partnership built to help the overall community. Surry County gets a valuable service for no direct out-of-pocket cost, and the firm probably will save more in waived tipping fees than it will spend on cleaning up the roads.

And Surry County’s highways get a lot cleaner in the process.

Neither one of these programs are particularly earth-shattering, but it is always good to see government follow-through, taking tangible steps to tackle problems.

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