JONESVILLE — Having experienced several major changes in personnel over the past year, the town of Jonesville exhibited the impact through effective communication at the December meeting which started with a public hearing.
The hearing was scheduled to allow residents to express their concerns and ideas about replacement of the bridge on U.S. 21 near Swan Creek Bypass, which separates Jonesville from old Arlington.
Division Engineer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation Mike Pettyjohn has submitted a plan in which a detour would be the Swan Creek Bypass, Shaffner Road and Haynes Road, which could more than double emergency response time.
Yadkin County Emergency Services Director Keith Vestal reiterated concerns previously expressed about the proposed detours, citing how the length of time would be detrimental in almost all emergency situations.
“We take our response to getting to emergencies pretty serious,” said Vestal, reminding the audience what a single minute represents.
“If a person is in cardiac arrest, for every minute that it takes for us to get to them, they lose about seven to 10 percent of their viability or their chances to live,” said Vestal, “so minutes count.
“All of the emergency services that are going to serve that area have to come through that bridge,” said Vestal. He recommended a temporary bridge or some similar resolution to the bridge.
“The reason to have this public hearing is to let people know that that bridge is going to be out up there,” said Mayor Gene Pardue, who noted the decision to install a temporary bridge would be up to the DOT.
Town Manager Michael Pardue, who joined the Jonesville team in May, agreed, reminding those assembled that although the safety of citizens and visitors is the first priority, communication was also important.
“For those of you who don’t know the current plan is in about October of 2018 property acquisitions will take place. The following October to put the contracts out and the spring of 2020 thereabouts for the actual construction to begin,” said the town manager.
“Initial analysis states at least 180 days [for completion] but probably longer,” said Pardue. He noted the importance of making sure citizens were informed even though the construction was years away.
Although no citizens chose to speak during the hearing, several were present, with the town manager observed kneeling to speak with one gentleman in an effort to be certain everyone with concerns were heard even if not from behind the podium.
Continuing the atmosphere of open communication, Finance Director Wendy Thompson educated the council and those assembled during her report.
Thompson, who took on the finance position in August, has made adjustments to the format of the budget presented including adding a column for encumbered funds.
“On the financial summary report, the encumbrance column is for items we have ordered or that we plan to order,” said Thompson, “so that we know that money is going to be spent.”
This column also accounts for contracts to be paid.
“Anything that we know throughout the fiscal year that has to be paid, we can go ahead and encumber that money or put it aside so that it is not spent for anything else,” said Thompson.
Police Chief Dane Mastin also has made changes in communication since arriving in Jonesville in August.
Sharing information about police activities that goes beyond basic numbers, Mastin regularly brags on his officers and the cross-department cooperation of Jonesville, which is usually echoed by Utilities Director Tim Collins and Fire Chief Kevin Macemore.
Macemore also took the opportunity to brag on members of his department including those in the audience.
“Just think about the people that are volunteering in the community,” said Macemore. “It takes a lot. They’re not getting paid for it and it takes a lot of their time, a lot of their gas money. It takes a lot to do anymore.
“If you get the opportunity, please tell the men and women of the department that you appreciate what they do,” said Macemore.
Residents can stay informed of meetings and other local concerns by going to www.jonesvillenc.gov or attending town council meeting on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the town hall located at 1053 N.C. Highway 67.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.