Veterans Affairs Committee gets support of county commissioners

Jan. 23, 2013 @ 07:24 PM

OXFORD — Commissioners for Granville County unanimously passed the proposed establishment of a Veterans Affairs Committee at Tuesday’s meeting.

In one of several public hearings, a number of veterans spoke on behalf of the item, including Tommy Keith, Chester Evans and Lou Clemmer.

Keith, a retired brigade sergeant with almost 25 years of service, said, “We’ve got too many veterans on the street or coming home to no jobs.” Evans told of his personal difficulties after leaving the service, but added, “I got some help.” Clemmer, a retired sergeant major with 34 years of service, said all veterans need assistance.

Later in the meeting, when he moved to establish a Veterans Affairs Committee, Commissioner Ed Mims said, “You can see from the attendance and the remarks tonight that this is something that has broad support.”

He said the committee wouldn’t infringe on the duties of Veterans Services Officer Pello Duncan but would provide additional outreach to veterans and serve as a support group.

County Manager Brian Alligood said Duncan had been involved in developing the proposal. He added the committee would serve in an advisory capacity but would not have authority to get involved in individual claims. Establishing the committee would not require county funds.

“I see this as a woeful neglect by the federal government of our veterans - that the county has to pick up the slack,” said Commissioner Timothy Karan. “It appalls me.”

Commissioners, by a 5-1 vote, backed a recommendation by the environmental committee against Creedmoor’s proposal to construct a new wastewater treatment plant. Karan was the lone dissenter supporting Creedmoor’s project.

Chandler Wynne, a member of the Granville County Environmental Affairs Committee, presented a letter from the organization that said the group had voted unanimously not to support Creedmoor’s proposal.

Also opposing the proposal were Alex Floyd, speaking for six other Granville County property owners; David Emmerling, executive director of the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation; Lindsay Mize, director of the South Granville Water and Sewer Authority; Creedmoor resident Ernie Averett; and Oxford resident Harvey Spurr.

Karen expressed his appreciation for the concerns of the various speakers but said he feared that Granville County would “wind up being a beautiful, placid place to live” without the potential to grow.

Mims said, “My thought after reviewing the materials is that we appoint members to committees to make the best decisions.”

The board held a public hearing to receive residents’ comments on the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Annual Secondary Road Construction Program for Granville County for 2012-2013. Cadmus Capehart, district engineer for DOT, reported on progress as well as plans and answered commissioners’ questions about specific roads. The board then adopted a resolution concurring with the construction program.

The board also held a public hearing on the renewal of a grant application to DOT for the use of federal grant funds to operate, in partnership with KARTS, a bus route in Oxford. Senior Services Director Kathy May said the route provides transportation for elderly persons and people with disabilities for whom mass transportation is not available. The commissioners voted to approve the renewal of the application.

After holding a public hearing on a proposed amendment to the Granville County Land Development Ordinance affecting utility trailers, the board approved the amendment.

Tresia Dodson, director of the Granville County library system, proposed an “express library,” which would serve portions of the county that are not readily accessible at a branch library. She said lockers would be installed at the Wilton and Oak Hill EMS stations where library patrons can request library materials to be delivered to the lockers. If approved, she said, this would be the first service of the kind in the state. The proposal was approved unanimously.

The commissioners gave final approval for the purchase of vehicles for three county departments:

• A 2013 Ford F150 XL 2x4 for the chief building inspector at a cost of $15,172.

• A 2013 Ford F150 Super Cab 2x4 for the Parks and Grounds Department to maintain the South Granville Memorial Gardens at a cost of $19,974.

• Two 2013 Chevrolet four-door two-wheel drive Tahoes with police packages for the sheriff’s office at a total cost of $52,974.

Funding for the purchases was included in the fiscal year 2012-2013 budget.

The commissioners made the following appointments or reappointments:

• Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee: Toni Wheeler.

• Senior Services Advisory Committee: Bessie Bailey.

• Animal Control Advisory Committee: Dr. Trudi Bowden.

• Granville County Human Relations Commission: William Betts, Amy Miller and Jonathan Jeffries.

• Oxford Zoning Board of Adjustment: Stewart Harris.
In the portion of the meeting reserved for board members’ presentations, Karan moved that the board adopt a resolution calling on the governor and General Assembly to pass an act to nullify the implementation in the state of any federal law, executive order or regulation restricting the right to keep and bear arms. His motion failed to receive a second and died.

Chairman Edgar Smoak agreed that the issue could be a topic for discussion at the board’s spring retreat.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.