PILOT MOUNTAIN — During the Pilot Mountain Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, the interim town manager Michael Boaz reported that the town’s financial situation has improved over the past year.
At the end of the most recent fiscal year, the town showed a negative in the enterprise fund, which covers all water and sewer costs. “As of the December, we are plus $110,000,” said Boaz, explaining that the town still faces large capital expenses which will be addressed during the coming budget season.
The increase made to water and sewer rates last year will allow town officials to begin restoring the outdated lines and equipment at the treatment plant. With the recent slew of disruptions in water lines, the increase came none too soon.
“The reason we had the main water line break in front of the plant was because we had a failure of a valve inside the plant. We fixed it for $17,000,” said Boaz, adding that assistance in the form of both people and equipment from Mount Airy made it possible to get service restored quickly.
With a fund balance of 27.69 percent recorded in the audit on June 30, 2015, a fund balance policy stating that the board will aim to maintain 40 percent unrestricted fund balance and 10 percent enterprise fund was adopted unanimously, with the intention of reviewing the status quarterly. “Forty percent will provide five months of expenses, in case of an emergency,” explained Boaz.
A planning retreat for the board was scheduled with Ronald Niland, president of All American Associates. “The key item that we’ll be looking at is the manager search,” said Niland. The manager’s position has been vacant since the board parted ways with Amanda Reid in September.
The board will also look at issues related to the overall plan for managing the town, such as working to make The Pilot Center self-sufficient. The date for the retreat was set for Feb. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The DOT’s portion of the work on Depot Street is complete, and the road is open to traffic. The board plans to hold a celebration when the weather is warmer. The Depot Street task force will continue to meet to discuss moving forward with stream restoration, storm water management, the greenway project, and sidewalk repairs.
The .037-acre sidewalk property on Friend Street sold to Michael Jessup with no upset bids. The property holding a pump station on Mountainview Drive has not had any offers.
Andrew Hooker, of Boy Scout Troop 545, was recognized for his Eagle Scout project in which he raised funds and built a handicap accessible ramp for the library. “This project will serve the visitors of Charles H. Stone Memorial Library for many years to come,” said Atkins.
Mayor Atkins recognized the winners of the 2015 Holiday Window Decorating Contest: first place-Mount Pilot Country Store, second place-Access Books and More, third place-Connie’s Crafts and Supplies, and People’s Choice-Kritter Kutts. Donna Chilton, of Mount Pilot Country Store said, “this was really good for us, thank you.”
The board discussed a policy for a drug free workplace, allowing for pre-employment, random, and post accident drug screening. Up until this time, the police department did pre-employment screening and CDL holders could be randomly screened. “This is something I think we needed to have done for a while,” said Mayor Dwight Atkins. The board unanimously adopted the policy.
While the new dump truck has been ordered, it is not expected to be delivered until February. However the new backhoe is in the town’s possession. The board voted to surplus the old backhoe, giving staff the go ahead to put it up for bids.
Billy Pell, of the ABC Board, reported that the store showed 8.61 percent increase in sales in December 2015 over 2014. “We did also made an additional $10,000 payment on our debt service,” Pell said.
Diane Blakemore may be reached at 336-368-2222 or on twitter @PilotReporter.