The Wadesboro Town Council voted unanimously to suspend the 2013 PeopleFest at its meeting on Monday, citing budget concerns.
The council said that the cost of previous PeopleFests has been high and that it would suspend the celebration this year, and go over groundwork to both lower costs and improve PeopleFest for the future. “PeopleFest has been great and successful, and I would like to look into making it more successful,” council member Bobby Ursey said. “I look forward to a bright and successful 2014.”
The council also received an email from Marion Tompkins, an out-of-town guest who praised town sanitation department workers after they helped her and her mother find the Eastview Cemetery. “We were frantic to find the cemetery,” Tomkins wrote. “We had come from Columbia to go to the burial of my mother’s best friend since childhood and had just a few minutes to get there… these two men took time to escort us there. Without their help we would have missed the burial. I do not know these men’s name’s but without them their help us we would never have made it… I want to let you know how much we appreciate their kindness.” Mayor Bill Thacker was later able to identify the helpful employees as Robert Hough and Larry Caple.
Pool hall license revoked
The council also heard from Jefferson Rivers about his pool hall license, which had been revoked. Rivers approached the council and asked that his license not be voided; however, the council voted unanimously to void Rivers’ license as it was wrongfully given in the first place.
Rivers first approached the council for a game room license on July 27, 2012 but was denied by the town due to a criminal record, according to a timeline provided by Town Manager Alex Sewell. Rivers then requested a permit in his name from the town staff in December and, due to an administrative error, was issued one. The town discovered the mistake on Feb. 28 and sent him notice that the town was voiding the permit, giving him until March 19 to contest the finding. Rivers then notified the town that Charles Collini was his attorney; however, Collini denied that he is Rivers’ attorney. On March 28, Rivers was notified by the town that Collini was not representing him and invited to contest the town’s position at its meeting on Monday, according to Sewell’s timeline.
Although Rivers said that voiding the license would take away his rights as a taxpayer and a citizen, and that he was not convicted of selling alcohol, the Town referred to Article III. Sec. 8-61-63 when it first denied the license in August 2012. The article maintains that the council may not issue a license to a person who: has been convicted of unlawfully selling alcoholic beverages or narcotic drugs; is not a citizen or resident alien; is of immoral character, or; is a habitual user of alcoholic beverages or narcotic drugs. The license that was issued in December was revoked on Monday due to the administrative error.
Orchard Street complaints
Joan Taylor approached the council to complain about Orchard Street, which she says has been a problem for her as a landowner. Taylor said that she has talked with the police department, sheriff’s office, and the town about the issue but has seen no improvement since she first complained in early- to mid-summer of 2012. Taylor said that one officer breached a confidentiality rule when the officer called out Taylor’s name at a residence she had complained about as being a meth house.
Taylor asked the council to list certain properties as a nuisance and contact the landowners about the issues, alleging that some of the residences are used for activities including bootlegging, drugs and prostitution. Taylor also said that she gets tired of seeing people walk down the streets with “foul mouths and baggy drawers” and that calls to the police department have done no good. “Kids can’t even play outside in their front yard,” she said. “They can’t even feel safe outside.”
Thacker said that the town and the police department are working on the issue but that it will take time to see improvements.
The council approved keeping John Dunlap on the ABC Board following his term expiration on April 1. The council also approved keeping Andy Maner, Eddie Pope, Dolly Harrington and R.E. Blount on the Wadesboro Planning and Adjustment board after their upcoming term expiration of May 1.
The council also appointed Bobby Ursey as the Rocky River RPO appointee. John Ballard was appointed as his alternate.
The council voted unanimously to send a letter of support with the county’s application to the N.C. 911 board for grant funding for the new Emergency Services Center that will be constructed on Country Club Road.
The town also decided to reopen bidding for the Williamsburg Lane repair project. Public services director Hugh James will apprise the board of new bids for the project and may repair Lennox Drive in-house using rented equipment.
Sewell brought up another project the town is looking into: a clock for Uptown Wadesboro, probably located on the corner of Wade and Greene streets. Sewell recently obtained a rendering of what the clock may look like and obtained the county’s blessing, as the property belongs to the county. Sewell is currently seeking funding for the project.
Sewell also apprised the board of the parking lot repair problem at First Baptist Church. Sewell spoke with Ben Chewning, who said that he thought there was an agreement from the 1980s between the Town and First Baptist stating that the parking lot would be maintained b the town in exchange for use as public parking. The town is looking for documentation on the agreement before beginning the project, which is estimated to cost $3,000- $3,100.
The council went into closed session to discuss legal and personnel matters.