After the outgoing board commissioners made their closing comments and the new commissioners were seated, the board elected Kevin Austin as chairman by a unanimous vote and elected new board member Frank Zachary, vice-chair.
The first order of business was a motion by Zachery to immediately suspend/terminate all plans for the jail that has been a tumultuous contention for the past three years within the county.
"There has been a bad issue going on in the county and that is the jail project," Austin said. "The jail project has been a hot topic that perhaps this board would be interested in making a statement about at this time."
Zachery then made the motion.
"I would make the motion that the current plans to the jail project be suspended/terminated at this time and to ask the county manager to bring forward other plans." Zachery said.
The motion was seconded by new Commissioner Marion Welborn. At that time, Commissioner David Moxley gave the commissioners a handout he had prepared showing the cost of the project and the implications of a tax amount the funds equaled to.
"We've been told several times through our meetings if we kill the jail project we could loose the money," Moxley said. "The $700,000 is equal to three cents on the tax rate. This is money we can't get back. And I think we need to have another jail committee before we completely do away with the plans.
"For the past two years I've served on the jail committee and would be glad to serve again, but I can't vote to kill this one and waste $700,000 hard-earned dollars."
Austin responded by saying, "I don't feel its throwing away $763,000, it's an option to use the plans in a different location.
"Davie and Ashe counties have taken care of their jail needs and Forsyth County is working on their option," Austin said. "I think we have an opportunity to enter into a regional jail with Wilkes County on a different site. There is a lot of opportunity out there and what we're doing today is not throwing away money."
Moxley suggested that the land on Hoots Road could be sold because the land was not part of the $763,000 and agreed that there were opportunities out there but disagreed with killing the project all together.
Austin then spoke suggesting that the funds could be used for anything such as water lines. He also said "the $26,000 spent to receive the funding and the $18,000 paid to Graham for obtaining financing was not wasted money."
"These fees are not wasted," Austin said.
Austin then reminded the board that the original plans for the jail did not include some of the specifics of the building requirements, and that they were basically useless anyway. Austin then asked for a vote on the motion made by Zachery. The board voted four to one, Moxley against, to rescind the plans for the jail.
Yadkinville Town Manager Aaron Church then made a public announcement that the board of commissioners would be out of town attending a mandated meeting in Asheville on Dec. 8 and 9.
"The commissioners will be driving themselves and will only be together during classes and possibly dinner and will not be conducting county business," Church said. "The second business that needs board action is a control form from the new board members has to be signed. There also needs to be an action to rent a machine to get a barn out of the 5D dam this morning. The contract is for $718. to rent an excavator from All-Star Rentals. Commissioner Moxley made the motion and new Commissioner Gilbert Hemric seconded. Moxley then suggested that the board look at the policy for possible review that would allow department heads to enter into such things as rental agreements up to a certain amount without having to come before the board for approval. The board asked Church to look into it.
The third issue from Church was in relation to a complaint on the current EMS/911 system and the response time on a call from Sue Brown. Church explained to the board that he had been working on this for the past few weeks and expects to have a report completed quickly. He also said the county has already begun to make changes to remedy the situation to prevent any future delays and that the majority of his time since the report of the delay has been spent on this issue.
Austin then asked Church if he could also bring comparative data from other counties when he makes his report on the EMS/911 issue to the board later this month.
The new commissioners then gave their opening statements to those in attendance.
"I want to thank the citizens of Yadkin County who had the confidence in me to do this job," Welborn said. "If I'd heard all this (the comments made by the departing commissioners before leaving), before I ran, I might not have." Those in attendance laughed as they had sat and listened to the discord and negative statements that were said from some of the departing commissioners prior to Welborn, Hemric and Zachery taking their new seats.
Zachery then spoke to the audience.
"I'd like to thank the citizens of the county for supporting me also," Zachery said. "It is very humbling experience to be elected. I had the fortune of serving as a commissioner in the 1980s so I guess I'm a recycle. I appreciate the service of the outgoing commissioners. I was here when the plans for this building were worked up, but I never thought I would be sitting in this room as a commissioner. I take this position seriously and will work to do my best for the citizens of Yadkin County."
Moxley then made his opening comments.
"I would like to thank Commissioner Garner, Wooten and Wagoner for the past two years," Moxley said. "I know now what a job it is. It's much more than attending two monthly meetings. I hope we can find a solution to the jail issue that will satisfy the residents of the county because I still feel we need one."
Commissioner Hemric thanked the outgoing commissioners also.
"I thank Chad, Tommy and Brady for the past two years and I thank the citizens and my family for their help and support," Hemric said. "I hope I can serve the county well."
Chairman Austin spoke of moving the county forward.
"I thank the departing commissioners also," Austin said. "Through learning the trends and watching I believe it is very true about the commissioners being on the front line. Commissioner Garner was very much so because of the location of his business and people stopping by to make comments and suggestions. I appreciate everything done for this county.
"I think this board will move Yadkin County forward in a respectful, conservative manner."
The new board then adjourned their first meeting. The next meeting of the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners is scheduled for 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 20 at the county offices.
Outgoing commissioners receive and give one final shot before departing
As the last meeting of the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners began for Chad Wagoner, Brady Wooten and Tommy Garner, Peggy Boose, a Yadkin County resident and staunch Republican stood during public comments to make a statement to the board.
Boose spoke of the disregard she felt the board had shown its county's residents when asked to consider their suggestions and objections to projects and issues within the county. Boose reminded Wagoner of a campaign statement he made when running for election.
"You (Wagoner) had a tool box when you started as commissioner and somewhere between your campaign forum and being elected you lost your toolbox," Boose said. "There would never have been a loud vocal group put together if you would have listened to the request about the jail.
"We are exercising our judicial rights and they are our only rights left to the Hoots Road residents.
"I've personally never been to Commissioner Garner's shop, but it was him that shook his finger at us and used profanity," she said.
"You and former Chairman (Kim) Phillips let Garner go without reprimand for the way he spoke to residents during meetings. It's clear after the e-mails from Phillips were made public that Phillips wanted you to be chairman for a reason. And if you're supposed to be representative of the Republican party in this county how come out of the 38,000 residents in the county, only five citizens was all we could muster at the latest meeting and you weren't there. And, you ran as a Republican on a Republican ticket, but you supported a candidate in another party."
Boose then thanked Commissioner Brady Wooten for being a citizens’ commissioner for the six years he spent serving on the board.
Wagoner’s father, Larry Wagoner, a Elkin School Board member spoke to the attendees of the meeting about his son and the other commissioners.
"I want to say on behalf of the commissioners that there's not a man up there on that board that doesn't spend an enormous amount of time trying to what's best for Yadkin County," Wagoner said. "It's easier to sit back and criticize than to serve.
"After spending 45 years making decisions such as whether to allow school to operate or close I know what they have to work on to make the decisions," he said. "How many people would give their time to do what these men do."
The departing commissioners then gave their closing statements. Commissioner Tommy Garner began, continuing what some of the residents in attendance said is 'a rant and degrading comments' about the citizens of Yadkin County.
"I am a Democrat and at this level of government, the party be damned," Garner said. "It doesn't matter, you do what's best. I voted with my party and against.
"I consider myself a moderate and I go both ways," he said. (Garner then made reference of a sexual implication of both ways.) "I want to thank the department heads and I have enjoyed working with everyone of you," he said. "We have excellent government staff here and they do one hell of a job. The county needs you."
Garner then spoke of being a teacher for many years and expecting students to be somewhat ignorant, then continued by calling the adults ignorant by saying he'd never seen so many ignorant adults.
Commissioner Brady Wooten then spoke to the group.
"To the citizens of Yadkin County that have honored me for six years, I thank you," Wooten said. "To the employees, staff, agencies I've worked with over the years, thank you. There have been several projects that we worked on that I'm proud of, such as the animal shelter, the EMS outpost, both Starmount and Forbush middle schools and the sewer line to U. S. 421 and I-77 for the Yadkin County schools as well as others.
"Over the past six years, we have met many challenges and feel we worked on them one at a time," he said. "To the new commissioners I wish you well."
Former Board Chairman Chad Wagoner then made his final statement as a commissioner.
"I said my peace at the last board meeting," Wagoner said. "I don't know whether to say it's been a short, long four years or to say it's been a long, short four years.
"There have been 96 commissioner meetings since I was elected and I haven't missed any, but it doesn't stop there," he said. "I owe my three partners at work, the pharmacist in Mount Airy and I appreciate my parents who continually support me. I also thank my wife Candy whom I'm not sure is going to enjoy me being home in the evenings now.
"I want to thank the employees and department heads," Wagoner said. "They made my job easier and I want to thank the citizens of the county for allowing me to serve you. I hope in leading the county forward, you do not participate in the irrational and nauseating spew. Let your mind be your map and your soul be your guide and you won't get lost in charting the future."
County Attorney James Graham spoke to the audience also.
"Thank you for allowing me to serve you," Graham said. "I think that serving as a county commissioner is the most thankless position you can hold. You're forced to be on the front line and are not insulated like those serving in Raleigh and Washington. I wish the new commissioners well."