After the Anson County Board of Commissioners awarded one of its surplus sheriff’s patrol vehicles to the town of Morven last month, three more town officials appeared before the commissioners this month to ask for the same courtesy. Ansonville Mayor Lyndell Ingram, Lilesville Police Chief Bobby Gallimore and Peachland Mayor Richard Allen all waited in line to request patrol cars from Anson County surplus at the commissioners’ regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.
Chief Gallimore was first in line to request a patrol car for the town of Lilesville from the Anson County surplus. According to Chief Gallimore, “the vehicle would be put in use immediately to better serve the citizens of Lilesville.”
He added that current budget limitations would not allow the town to purchase a patrol car at this time and the surplus car would allow for a second patrol vehicle to be used by part-time staff.
Next up was Mayor Lyndell Ingram of Ansonville. He stated that on behalf of the town of Ansonville, “we are requesting a vehicle.”
“We don’t have a police department, but we’re planning on starting one,” Ingram said. “We put money in the budget this year for a part-time policeman.”
He added that Ansonville is growing and the town is positioning itself for future growth. “Even parked on the street, the patrol car will slow the traffic down,” Ingram stated.
The last in line was Peachland Mayor Richard Allen. He stated that “we are the second smallest town in the county and giving us a car will allow Peachland to get a part-time or off-duty officer to operate in our town.”
“We have the need and we’re ready to move forward,” he added, “but we would relinquish our request this year to be first on the list for a patrol car next year.”
Commissioner Vancine Sturdivant said, “I think we should help Lilesville now, and Ansonville and Peachland next year,” and Vice Chair Ross Streater agreed.
Responding to a question on the number of surplus patrol cars available, County Manager Lawrence Gatewood stated that that the county does not have any surplus vehicles at this time. Last month the commissioners authorized the transfer of the best vehicle to the town of Morven free of charge, and that transfer was made within 48 hours. Further, per the board’s authorization, all other surplus vehicles and equipment have been listed for sale on GovDeals.com. The bidding is well under way and Gatewood said each vehicle is expected to be sold for $5,000 to $7,000. “This is money that the county has budgeted and desperately needs,” he concluded.
Commissioner Dr. Jim Sims stated, “We helped Morven so we need to help everyone.” Commissioner Streater added that “we should take care of home first.”
County Manager Gatewood responded that the county has been taking care of the needs of its citizens by generating extra revenue from the sale of surplus property and vehicles. “Over the past few years we have generated almost $250,000 from GovDeal auctions,” he said. “This extra money has been used to help pay for various capital projects, cover operating expenses and keep property taxes low.”
Gatewood reminded the commissioners that their long-standing policy, which was established by a resolution on Jan. 9, 2007, authorized the county manager and staff to sell surplus property using the online auction, GovDeals.com. According to the minutes from that meeting, this was done to maximize revenue, simplify the process of disposing of surplus property and to give all citizens an opportunity to bid on surplus items. The policy has been adhered to until last month when the commissioners gave a surplus vehicle to the town of Morven for their police department.
Chair Anna Baucom agreed that the county needs to be in compliance with its policy until that policy is changed. “Either way you go, we are looking after Anson County,” Baucom stated. A motion was made by Commissioner Jarvis Woodburn for the county manager and staff to develop a new policy for disposing of surplus property for review by the board in November.
Carolina Thread Trail Update
In other business at the August meeting, Travis Morehead, Carolina Thread Trail operations director, explained that the Carolina Thread Trail is a regional blueway that encompasses 11 counties in North Carolina, including Anson. “Blueways are a rapidly growing aspect of tourism,” he said.
Morehead said Anson County will soon be a destination for paddlers from the Charlotte metro area who want to spend their weekends peacefully paddling and kayaking along rivers in rural areas.
He reported that great progress is being made on the Anson County project. The land has been purchased, the site has been permitted through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, site plans have been approved, the project is out for bids, and everything is on track for construction to be completed by January 2015. The site will have ample parking and an electronic entrance gate programmed to open at set times.
Baucom complimented Morehead on his fine work on this project over the past several years, and stated: “This project sounded simple in the beginning but it’s very involved, and you’ve done a nice job.”
Commissioner Sims added, “This project is going to be a nice plus for us and we look forward to welcoming visitors to this section of the river.”
In other business at the Aug. 5 meeting, the commissioners:
- heard from Dave Smith, who proclaimed his discontent with the way the TDA board functions and recommended that the commissioners “appoint new members who are not shackled to the old thinking and are willing to take the bold steps necessary to increase tourism and bring new prosperity to Anson County.”
- heard from David Rushing and Sissy Stegall of Polkton, who shared a recent situation in which a puppy was injured and had to be put down, because animal control would not pick up the injured animal.
- heard from Joy Hildreth, who spoke in favor of holding an alcoholic beverage election in Anson County to permit the “off-premises” and “on-premises” sale of malt beverages and unfortified wine. Later in the meeting, the commissioners agreed to pursue putting this issue on the November ballot. (See related story in this week’s issue.)
- at the request of Senator Gene McLaurin, reaffirmed a resolution adopted in 2012 for Larry Ratliff, asking the state to commemorate his service to the state by designating a portion of the highway in his memory.
- heard the monthly report from County Manager Gatewood, who said the Belk building now has a new roof and the remodeling of the former EMS building should be completed by Sept. 1. County Manager Gatewood stated that the 911 Center would relocate to the new Emergency Services Center in September and the old building will be turned over to SanStone on Oct. 31. Gatewood also shared that we hired the second landfill monitor, Ted Welch, who will help monitor the landfill Monday through Friday during normal business hours.
The commissioners will hold their next monthly meeting at 6 p.m. on Sept. 8 at the Anson County Government Center.