Monday’s meeting of the Pilot Mountain town commissioners was a bit more contentious than usual as commissioners disagreed on how best to spend the town’s money.
By the time the dust had settled, Commissioner Kim Quinn said, “This is the most entertaining meeting we’ve had in a year.”
The excitement began with discussion of a a recycling grant application recommended by the design subcommittee of the Main Street coordinating committee. The grant, from NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), would cover half the cost of 20 combination recycling bins/trash receptacles to be placed on Main Street and at Armfield Center and Nelson Acres.
The town’s portion of the cost would be $450 per container, or $9,000 for the full project. The ensuing discussion showed the commissioners had different opinions on the wisdom of that expenditure. There were questions about the lifespan of the containers and their warranty.
Christy Craig, a member of the Main Street coordinating committee and several of its sub-committees as well as the Pilot Mountain TDA, took the podium to clarify the warranty. She said the containers had a lifetime warranty, it was the powder-coating that had only a 20-year warranty.
Mayor Dwight Adkins asked how this would affect a downtown streetscape design, which the commissioners approved in December. Town Manager Michael Boaz said the re-design would incorporate the receptacles into the design if the commissioners purchased them.
“I look at putting $9,000 in trash receptacles, and I think there are other places we could put that money,” said Commissioner Gary Bell. “It’s not going to improve the town. I don’t think trash cans are going to revitalize downtown.”
“If we don’t have the stomach to spend money on trash cans, we are not going to have the stomach for the big things,” said Commissioner Evan Cockerham.
The expenditure was approved on a split vote. Commissioners Quinn and Cockerham voting in favor, with commissioner Bell voting against. Commissioner Linda Needham abstained, which Mayor Adkins said counted as a ‘yes.’
On the next item on the agenda, commissioners initially disagreed on the necessity of a re-design of the town’s website.
The proposed new website would combine the Pilot Mountain town website and the Visit Pilot Mountain website owned by the tourism development authority. The TDA offered to pay for 30 percent of the cost of the new combined website.
The town’s cost for a fully-customized website would be $5,600 in the first year. The town’s share of a stock website adapted for its use would be $3,850 for the first year. Costs in future years would be $1,500, split 70/30 with TDA. The town’s responsibility would be for $1,050, up from the current cost of $600.
The current website was characterized by town manager Boaz as “clunky,” saying it was difficult to make updates and changes to the site. Town Clerk Holly Utt concurred with the designation of “clunky” when asked. Boaz said he had solicited three bids. Two were close together in price. The third he called an “outlier.”
Commissioner Quinn said “We just did this three years ago.”
Cockerham noted there was no mobile version of the site, to which Quinn replied, “I just pulled it up on my phone.”
Main Street committee member Craig spoke from the floor and said, “You need to make up your mind. You have to come into the 21st century or stay in the 50s.”
The new website was then approved with no dissenting votes.
In other business, East Surry High School principal Lorrie Sawyers addressed the commissioners regarding a new “Safe Parking Campaign” to address illegal roadside parking during athletic events, and Karen Hall spoke to commissioners about a new branch of State Employees Credit Union coming to town.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.