ELK PARK — The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the state’s response to the outbreak continues to keep a number of plans in flux, as the Elk Park Board of Aldermen tabled any decisions on upcoming events.
Among the events that were left undecided at the May 4 meeting at Elk Park Town Hall was the town’s annual Fourth of July Celebration. A number of events around the county, including the annual Singing on the Mountain and Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in Linville, have already been canceled due to the effects and potential dangers affiliated with hosting a large-scale event in the possible presence and spread of the virus. Elk Park’s leaders did not make a decision on the fate of its event, but opted to review the situation after the governor announces later this week what, if any, sanctions will be loosened when the state’s May 8 stay-at-home-order expires, agreeing to hold a special called meeting on May 18.
The board also discussed whether it should reopen the Winters Town Park and/or Elk Park Town Hall to the public. Following discussion, Town Clerk Connie Guinn informed the board that since a barrier exists between her and customers, she felt it safe enough to be able to assist residents with town business from inside the building rather than the current setup of using a drop box outside. The board noted that if Guinn felt her health and safety would not be in jeopardy, it would be amenable to reopening the building for business hours.
Aldermen did not make any changes to the current status of the town park, however, as it remains closed until further notice.
Prior to the meeting, the board held a public hearing in reference to the board’s proposal to raise the town’s Water Consumption Rate (water only) from the present rate to $19 per month for consumers inside the town limits (an increase of $1.75 on the first 3,000 gallons) and $38 per month for the consumers who reside outside the town limits (an increase of $3.50 for the first 3,000 gallons consumed), rates proposed to be effective July 1, 2020.
In other news and notes:
- Aldermen discussed the need for large trash pickup within the town. Normally the town offers large trash pickup days in April, but the ongoing pandemic forced the town to delay the event. After discussion on the matter, the board moved to schedule the dates of June 2, 3 and 4 for large trash pickup by the town.
- During employee reports, town water and sewer maintenance supervisor/operator Tyler Boone reported that a gearbox needed for one of the town wells had arrived, but still is awaiting a sprocket to finish the connection at the bottom of the gear box. T. Boone noted that the part had shipped on May 2, and should be arriving in the coming days. He also reported that he had installed the new well and had to re-plumb it due to rust buildup. Boone also added that the new water leak detector purchased by the town was already paying dividends, as a number of leaks in the system had already been pinpointed for repair in the near future.
- The board reviewed a draft of the proposed 2020-2021 town budget, which included minor adjustments, including approximately $18,000 added to the water/sewer fund to account for repairs and maintenance, and $5,000 each off of sludge removal and department supply line items. The budget also reflected the additional $8,000 anticipated to be generated from the pending water rate increase discussed during the public hearing that would be effective in July. A public hearing for comments on the proposed budget will occur prior to the June 1 regular meeting.
- The town moved to retain its current insurance plans for employees, as well as was informed of the annual sewer loan payment of $17,676.88. Mayor Boone also asked board members to keep watch along town roads to help determine which streets are most in need of maintenance in the coming months by way of paving for future discussion.
The next regular meeting of the Elk Park Board of Aldermen will take place at 5 p.m. on Monday, June 1, at Elk Park Town Hall.