PILOT MOUNTAIN — After a fiery start into 2016 at New River Tire Recycling, the town seemed to have what officials called a “successful year.”
The company, New River Tire Recycling, easily became the biggest news of 2016 for the town of Pilot Mountain, according to Town Manager Michael Boaz. The company moved to Pilot Mountain permanently in 2014 after outgrowing two previous locations in Virginia.
Following the firm’s move to its current location, the town passed an ordinance that prohibited similar operations from planting roots in town, however according to Boaz, New River Tire Recycling was grandfathered in due to the fact that it opened before the ordinance was passed.
New River Tire’s presence in town took on a more visible mode when the business caught fire in January. There was no residual environmental impact of the fire, according to owner Ben Bryant, who stated, “The EPA was present during the whole period of time that the fires were being put out.”
The case is still under investigation with the State Bureau of Investigation, according to Police Chief Darryl Bottoms.
In other business, the town hired a new manager, Michael Boaz, nearly a year after firing then previous manager, Amanda Reid from her post in September of 2015. Boaz also continues to serve as financial officer for the town despite the fact that North Carolina officials have recommended, on several occasions, that Pilot Mountain not have the same person serving in both capacities.
Commissioner Kim Quinn felt as though Boaz has appeared to be “efficient and effective,” stating he has added monthly workshops for the board of commissioners to “tackle the challenging issues ahead.”
The town also re-elected Commissioner Quinn and elected a new town commissioner Evan Cockerham.
At 30, Cockerham was the youngest person to be elected in Surry County in 2016.
In the beginning, Cockerham threw his hat in the race because of his concerns over infrastructure. He worried that the town could be getting passed over for new businesses because of the state of the water plant, roads and the tax rate.
In 2015, the town was able to hire LKC Engineering, PLLC to draft a water and sewer capital improvement plan, which the commissioners began implementing in 2016. Partnering with Surry County to undertake a project to replace all the town’s water meters with radio read meters.
According to Quinn, the town is awaiting local government commission approval before going forward on the project.
Pilot Mountain also received a $300,000 Division of Water Resources grant to study interconnecting our water/sewer systems with either King or Mount Airy.
From a financial standpoint, the town added about $30,000 to the water/sewer fund balance, according to Boaz, after several years of a decrease in net position.
“We added about $200,000 to the general fund balance,” also stated Boaz.
The town also hosted its first Paint the Town Pink Event for breast cancer, which included a 5k color run, business specials throughout the town, a carnival and concert.
Also, 2016 was the second year for Ladies Night Out, originally started by Commissioner Quinn, to bring more business to downtown shops.
Quinn hopes to focus on The Pilot center and solve what she believes is a current infrastructure issue in the Town of Pilot Mountain.
Reach Eva Winemiller at (336) 415-4739