Mayor and Benfield

Mayor Daniel Boone (pictured left) and Alderman Brad Benfield discuss an issue during the April 5 Elk Park Board of Aldermen meeting.

ELK PARK — Upcoming projects around town, summer holiday plans and insurance discussion highlighted the April 5 Elk Park Board of Aldermen’s monthly meeting.

The board discussed a number of projects that are prepared to begin in the coming days and weeks, including the addition of ceilings under the roof frames of the picnic shelters at Winters Town Park that should assist in preventing the nuisance of nesting birds and droppings on the picnic tables that sit under the shelters.

Town clerk Connie Guinn informed the board that she had confirmed that materials for the project had been ordered, but she had been unable to get in touch with anyone at New River Building Supply regarding when the materials would be delivered to the park for the project to get under way.

The town has announced that it will again be hosting its annual large trash pickup days from April 12 to 15, but that residents have to call Elk Park Town Hall at (828) 733-9573 in order to be added to the list of pickup locations for large trash items to be collected. Mayor Daniel Boone reported that necessary internet service has been established at the town’s sewer garage, and following discussion among the board, the governing body unanimously moved to invest in a security camera system for the facility at an approximate cost of $1,200. Additionally, the board revisited the matter of repairs needed at one of the town’s wells, specifically the dilapidated electrical panel in disrepair. Board members discussed multiple options for the electrical panel repairs, including a quote received for the building of a shed structure to protect the electrical panel from the elements once it is renovated, as well as the types of material that need to be used to upgrade the panel upon recommendation by the state inspector’s office.

The board inquired of town maintenance staff if they could build some sort of foundational structure involving the digging of footers and build a framework for the panel boxes utilizing plastic and metal and without using plywood which tends to rot over time. Once the staff completes the build, Mayor Boone noted that Mountain Heritage would then be able to come to the site and transfer the mechanical aspects onto the new panel base.

Insurance options were discussed for town employees by the board. Guinn and Mayor Boone reported that property insurance rates would increase by 9.5 percent, with the total cost for property and liability insurance equaling at an approximate increase of $800 from the most recent year’s coverage. Following discussion, the board unanimously approved the insurance plan.

Additionally, the board approved a health insurance option that represents a roughly three percent increase from the previous year. The plan is a different one from the previous year, as the new plan does not include a renewed supplemental, or gap, coverage. The new plan, which represents a total cost increase of $844 split over the 12-month period, is the most similar to the town’s current insurance plan. Guinn reported that dental insurance had decreased by $1 over last year’s plan, while vision coverage remained unchanged.

In other news and notes:

• Mayor Boone reported that four LED lights for sewer garage had been installed, and the remaining lights would be changed once staff finds time to complete the project.

• The town intends to host its annual Fourth of July event this summer, which will include barbecue and a concert from Mountain Rose Band. Mayor Boone noted that he is attempting to also look into additional food vendors for desserts, as well as seeking quotes for providing a water slide and inflatable games for the kids, which he intends to provide at the next meeting.

• Aldermen unanimously approved paying overtime to maintenance staff following a major incident and potentially dangerous situation involving a 15-foot-deep pit of mud during recent inclement weather where staff had to work for more than 12 hours outside of regular work time to alleviate an emergency issue. The board also discussed looking at methods to assist staff with safety measures when dealing with future challenges.

Aldermen unanimously approved moving the start time for its regularly scheduled monthly meetings from 5 p.m. to beginning at 6 p.m., starting with the May meeting and continuing through its November 2021 meeting, when the matter of adjusting for the end of Daylight Saving Time will be revisited.

The next meeting of Elk Park Board of Aldermen will take place at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 3, at Elk Park Town Hall.

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