The Wadesboro Town Council had a full agenda on Monday evening, swearing in a new fire chief, discussing trash pickup options and hearing State of the Department reports from department heads.
The council swore in new Fire Chief Marc Sessions. He is replacing former Chief Jimmy Burns, who is retiring.
State of Department reports
Hugh James, town public services director, said there are several items the town needs that have been put off for some time due to budget concerns. James said that the public services department has an outdated medium-duty truck. The department has needed new trucks for awhile, but has not requested any due to the budget crisis, James said.
Additionally, the department is short on employees, particularly in the street department, but has done without due to the lack of funds. If the town decides to keep doing the trash service in-house with a new method, James said he will need to purchase a new truck, equipment and trash cans.
The department will also need a new vehicle lift, as its current one is over 20 years old. James also said the town’s water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure is outdated and needs work.
Police Chief Thedis Spencer said that the police department needs a computer hardware and software update. This is the most critical part of its needs list, as failure to update could cause a cybersecurity risk as current software will no longer be supported by Microsoft, Spencer said. The department also needs tasers and taser training, new interview space and equipment, and other supplies. He estimated that the full list of requests will cost $30,958.62.
Spencer also said that the department has made several efforts to save money in 2013. He is planning other ways to save, such as having officers share vehicles and selling spare cars. He stressed that although the department has made several efforts, it can’t take many more hits.
Sessions said that the fire department has also made several efforts to reign in costs. He informed the council that the department was ranked one of the top five departments in North Carolina in 2013 for fire protection. He said that the fire department has made several efforts to save money and has had success gaining grant money.
The department is mandated by the NFPA to keep its gear updated. Sessions said that he hopes to begin replacing some of the gear now before they are all due to be replaced at once. He hopes to find grant money to help replace some of the equipment and to replace IT technology if funding is received.
In other matters:
- The council heard from David Harrington again. Harrington requested that the council consider replacing the pipes at Ingram Street.
- The council also heard from Peggy Poston with Waste Connections and discussed trash pickup options introduced at earlier meetings, though the council did not take any action on it yet.
- The council also heard from the county’s interim health director Wayne Raynor, who spoke about the new Anson County Animal Shelter. He informed the council that the shelter will open in April and that there will be a 501(c)(3) established to raise money for it. He requested that the town offer a per-capita donation annually to help support the new shelter. The county hopes to lower the euthanasia rate by adoption and spaying/neutering efforts.
- The council approved sidewalk dining and upper-floor residences uptown.
- The council heard its audit presentation from Deneal Bennett, who highlighted some of the key aspects of the report that was provided to the council.
- The council unanimously voted to seek funding to work on the Uptown 109 “road diet” discussed in earlier meetings.
- The council voted 4-1 to acquire the water and sewer infrastructure, currently held by the county, that services 57 residences on Richmond Street. Councilman Fred Davis opposed the move, as 10-12 of the 57 residents said earlier that they object since they will have higher rates. The transfer will be made after the new fiscal year begins on July 1.
- Officer Joshua Leviner apprised the council of his campaign for a seat on the Anson County Board of Education.
- James told the council that if the project is approved, he can begin work on the East Wade Street bridge. If the money is approved immediately in the new fiscal year, he hopes it will be complete by January 2015.
The council’s next meeting will be held on April 7 at 5 p.m.