Yadkin County Commissioner Kevin Austin was nominated and voted upon to remain in his role as chairman of the board during Monday’s meeting of the Yadkin County commissioners. Vice Chairman David Moxley also was renominated to his role.
Seats held by Austin, Moxley and Commissioner Marion Welborn are all on the ballot in 2016 and all three have filed for reelection.
All three commissioners said they were proud of the work they had been a part of in the county and they hoped to continue that work. Ongoing projects to reinstate a county hospital and the ongoing East Bend waterline project were items they noted as wanting to see through to completion if reelected.
In regard to the East Bend waterline project, a new contract was approved on Monday for work done by engineering firm Davis, Martin and Powell. County Manager Lisa Hughes said the next steps in the project will be to obtain a revised schedule from the engineer, apply for approval from the Local Government Commission (required for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan) and schedule community meetings in early 2016.
Also approved on Monday was a county ordinance in regard to a rapid entry key system.
“The rapid key system is a system for the fire service to be able to gain quick entry into buildings, particularly that have alarm systems or sprinkler systems,” explained Emergency Services Director Keith Vestal.
The current procedure for fire departments responding to a building with a monitored firm alarm or sprinkler system is to either wait until a key holder for the building arrives to let them in to investigate the alarm or to break down the door.
“One of two things can happen, the building’s on fire and they wait for a key holder to keep from damaging property and the fire or sprinkler system is causing damage while they wait, or they go ahead and break the door down and find out that it’s just a malfunction on the alarm,” Vestal said.
In many cases, particularly during thunderstorms, Vestal said, these alarms are false alarms. The new rapid entry system involves a secure key system with tracking capabilities that would allow fire department personnel access to the buildings without having to wait a long time for the key holder to arrive or breaking in a door, only to discover a false alarm. The system also involves many checks and balances and special care will be taken be taken to monitor who has access to the key system.
The new ordinance will require some up front expenses for businesses which have monitored alarm systems or fire sprinklers as they will be required to purchase the special rapid entry key boxes for their business, but in the long run could save them money, time and inconvenience if those alarms go off and a fire department has to respond to their location.
“We’re glad that we got it,” Vestal said of the new ordinance. “We hope that the businesses and everybody will be understanding that this is for their benefit, because one key box costs a lot less than a commercial door that may be torn off its hinges or panels of glass shattered to gain access only to find out that nothing is wrong.”
Fire Marshal Ricky Leonard said he already had a number of businesses in the county who had requested such a system. He, too, was very pleased with the passing of the new ordinance.
“This basically brought Yadkin County from 1930 to 2015,” Leonard said.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.