Saturday, February 22, 2014 —
Stanly County officials spearheaded a town meeting Tuesday at the Senior Center.
County commissioners Tony Dennis, chairman, Lindsey Dunevant, vice chairman and County Manager Andy Lucas discussed several topics, including the opening of the Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy in New London, the Economic Development Commission, new road construction and the county’s infrastructure.
Questions fielded from the audience applied primarily to seniors, such as notifying the senior center during Central Elementary lockdowns and the status of grants that were pending for the senior center.
Lucas said potential grant money for the center had been shelved to be used, instead, for water, sewer, natural gas and other infrastructures.
However, the county manager highlighted improvements that have been made to the senior center, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning that was replaced last summer.
Dennis fielded quastions about the Tarheel Academy.
“It will be a military school with 60 members in a platoon,” Dennis said.
“It will be a good school for problem children. It will help to turn them around.”
The commissioners also discussed the Economic Development Commission, explaining that certain variables are beyond their control.
“It scares us as a rural county that we have to compete with urban areas,” Dunevant said.
“North Carolina has 15 urban counties with more than 50 percent of the population. That means 85 counties are in the minority when voting occurs in Raleigh. We may never be one of the 15, but we can best the best of the other 85.”
Dennis tackled the topic of road construction, particularly the widening of N.C. Highway 49.
“We are trying to do the best we can,” he said.
“We are constantly in touch with the DOT, trying to make sure how roads are placed to allow goods and services to come in and out (of Stanly County).”
Dunevant also praised Albemarle’s new mayor, Ronnie Michael.
“He has reached out,” Dunevant said.
“We have met jointly. We are in constant connection.”
Both commissioners discussed the county’s infrastructure.
Dunevant said the county is trying to consolidate services, such as the pending purchase of Oakboro’s wastewater treatment plant that serves western Stanly County. He also stressed the need for better capacity of broadband.
Before closing, Dunevant advised the crowd that he will not file for re-election for the Board of County Commissioners.
Commissioner Gene McIntyre was not present due to breaking his pelvis on Friday. Commissioners Peter Ascuitto and Josh Morton were absent due to other appointments.
Dunevant summarized the discussion with seniors.
“This is one of the best ideas that the county commissioners participate in … the best example of democracy. It lets us find out your concerns,” Dunevant said.
Sandy Hatley is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.