JONESVILLE — After nearly a month of anticipation Michael Pardue was officially sworn in as Jonesville town manager during the regular May meeting of the Jonesville Town Council Monday night to the obvious relief of Town Clerk and Chief Financial Officer Lynn Trivette, who served as interim manager during the recent budgeting process.
“They were very appreciative of my leadership and I was happy,” stated Trivette after a closed session at the end of Monday’s meeting. Although not all the news during the budgeting meeting was good, all the council members were excited to see the extra details that Trivette shared which allowed them to have a better understanding of the behind-the-scenes workings of the town.
“Lynn has worked very hard and done a really good job,” claimed Jonesville Water Resource Manager Tim Collins during each session of the budget retreat. Collins was intricately involved with the budget process, assisting Trivette in gathering information and organizing it in a way that was easy for the council to understand.
This was important because utilities such as water are a significant portion of any town budget, especially to one like Jonesville with a new $4 million water plant. To pay the loan on the water plant and keep it running the town council has investigated how changes in water rates and fees can best cover costs while still remaining manageable for residents.
The suggested increases will be discussed at the public hearing on the proposed fiscal year 2017-18 budget during the regular meeting at 7 p.m. on June 12, during which Jonesville citizens are welcome to make their thoughts known before the new budget is adopted, which can take place at any time after the conclusion of the public hearing. This means the budget can be voted on in the same meeting in which the hearing takes place.
At the February council meeting, Sharon Edmundson, the director of fiscal management at N.C. Department of State Treasurer, State and Local Government Finance Division, spoke at the Jonesville Town Council meeting, outlining various issues for the council to work on in order to fulfill the requirements of the Local Government Commission.
The LGC has the ability to take over failing municipalities such as those who inappropriately use the general fund to cover the expenses of the water fund which is what had been taking place in Jonesville.
Not only will the proposed budget lead the Water Fund to maintain itself, but is expected to cause an increase in the Fund Balance which will eliminate further problems with the LGC although the 2016/17 budget is just the first step in a five-year plan.
The recent storms helped to identify the importance of ensuring the water fund flows freely because last week two pumps were not flowing at all. “We had an extreme emergency this past week,” explained Collins. “We had simultaneous failure [in two pumps.]”
Collins reminded the council that these pumps are in continuous use and natural wear and tear alone will cause the need for repairs. “[Repairing pumps] is very expensive stuff to do,” stated Collins,who pointed out that, “we’re actually going to be a lot better off in the long run because fixing two is not going to be as costly as buying a new one.”
“We think it might be because of the floods,” alleged Collins. “We have turned it into insurance, but we don’t know how that is going to turn out.”
In other town business, the best insurance can be thinking ahead, according to Interim Police Chief Scotty Vestal, who cautioned residents to use common sense to ensure their vehicles will not be broken into. “Lock your cars. Take your valuables out of them,” advised Vestal.
“We have had a lot higher incidences of breaking and entering,” warned Vestal, who described a recent chase that led to the arrest of several individuals who were, “part of a larger criminal organization out of Winston-Salem.”
The Jonesville Police Department was just one agency involved in a meeting where, “we were able to connect this group to literally hundreds of these kinds of B&E’s. There are still other groups out there,” cautioned Vestal. “We just want to encourage our citizens to lock their doors and take their valuables inside.”
Also on Monday’s agenda was the approval of council member Wayne Moore to another term on the Board of Directors of the Yadkin Valley Sewer Authority. “Mr. Moore has served well,” stated Mayor Gene Pardue, who noted Moore’s current term on the YVSA expires at the end of June.
Chairman of the Grace Clinic Board of Directors Steve Newman was also on the agenda and, with assistance from Grace Director Betty Taylor, requested financial assistance from the town of Jonesville.
“Grace Clinic is a free clinic,” informed Newman, explaining that not only does no patient pay for services at its office, but that it also serves the community by facilitating free testing and medications. No narcotics are available through Grace Clinic nor are prescriptions for them, he said.
“We serve patients between the ages of 18 and 64,” explained Taylor, stating that many patients have jobs but no insurance, some of whom are Jonesville residents, according the list of patient zip codes provided.
The council made no comments as to whether it would consider Grace Clinic’s request for funds.
The council did consider an offer of $250 for the surplus property at 115 Foster St., which was acquired through tax foreclosure. “It’s just really small and we really didn’t think anyone would bid for it,” stated Trivette. Notice will be officially posted giving other individuals an opportunity to make a higher offer.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.