Council discusses tourism funding

By Kitsey Burns Harrison -

JONESVILLE — Marty Driver of Mountain Valley Hospice addressed the Jonesville Town Council on Monday, giving a brief presentation about the new hospice home which is to be built in Yadkinville. Driver noted funding opportunities were still available if the town would like to consider a donation to help support the new home.

In a three to one vote, the council voted against having an air quality assessment done in the building which formerly housed the Jonesville Public Library. Buffkin said the majority sentiment was not to spend any additional money on the building as a final decision has not yet been made on what will be done with it.

At last month’s meeting, a citizen requested the town consider adopting an anti-tethering ordinance which would prevent pet owners from keeping dogs chained up for long periods of time. After reviewing the pet-related ordinances in several neighboring areas and determining this was not a widespread issue in the town, the council voted not to create such an ordinance at the present time, Buffkin said.

Per the request of Councilwoman Judy Wolfe, the council also discussed a number of non-operable fire hydrants in the town. Buffkin said the fire department reported that as a major safety concern as they carry water on the truck and often there are multiple hydrants in a given area. The council did request Buffkin and the town staff work with the fire department to prioritize which hydrants are most in need of repair and to address those as quickly as possible. Buffkin also said that during the upcoming budget process the town would be looking for funding to work on repairing the hydrants.

Wolfe also requested a compliance review of the Jonesville Tourism Development Authority. Buffkin said there was a “wide variety of opinions among the council” on the issue.

The tourism authority, Buffkin explained, was created some years ago by state statute and is comprised of members appointed by the town board. Funding for the group comes from occupancy taxes collected from the hotels in town and is meant to be used to promote tourism in the town.

The crux of the issue, Buffkin said, was Wolfe’s concern the group had allocated funding to inappropriate resources, for example wine festivals in other nearby towns like Elkin and Yadkinville and billboards that are on I-77 outside the town limits, rather than promoting groups based in or events happening in the town of Jonesville.

Despite the discussion, which Buffkin described as “confrontational,” no action was taken on the matter. Buffkin said Tuesday he believed other than appointing the members of the Jonesville Tourism Authority, the town had no say in how the money was spent.

Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.

By Kitsey Burns Harrison

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