Jonesville preparing for emergencies

By Beanie Taylor - beanietaylor@elkintribune.com

JONESVILLE — Eyeing Irma Monday evening, the town of Jonesville addressed the potential for a State of Emergency as well as updating other standard business during the monthly town council meeting.

Director of Emergency Management Services for Yadkin County, Keith Vestal, explained that it was important for the town to be as proactive as the governor of North Carolina when declaring a State of Emergency for financial reasons.

“Governor [Roy] Cooper’s declaration for the state of North Carolina is not enough to ensure that there will be state and federal, FEMA, funds to help us in the recovery phase thereafter,” said Vestal. “The county level and the municipalities have a responsibility level.”

After Vestal explained more about the process, the council voted to pass a Jonesville State of Emergency Resolution which will give Jonesville and its citizens access to FEMA aid in the event of a disaster.

Also passed by the board was a Resolution for Mutual Assistance for the police department.

“I’d like to welcome our new [Interim] Administrative Chief [Dane] Mastin,” said Capt. Scotty Vestal. “He has hit the ground running.”

One of the things the new chief has done is request the board pass the resolution.

“It allows us to pool resources from surrounding agencies whether it be manpower or expertise or equipment,” said Vestal, “and it allows us to share our expertise, equipment and manpower as needed as well.

“Today being 9-11 and all that that entails makes it important that we as a community work with other surrounding communities and help each other out and be unified,” said Vestal.

“It’s standard procedure for these agreements to exist between counties’ and municipalities’ law enforcement,” said Town Manager Michael Pardue. “It’s nothing new, it just needs to be updated.”

The council agreed, passing the resolution as requested.

They also agreed to a request by the new chief for additional manpower, as long as it did not affect the budget.

With 9,108 events for the month of August, according to Vestal’s report, the increase seemed reasonable as Pardue explained that there were three part-time officers available to assist, however these individuals have full-time jobs and are not always available when needed. About 8,000 of those events were regular patrol business checks.

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get our needs met,” said Pardue, stating the request is for up to an additional 20 officers.

“That’s just a pool we can pull from and it doesn’t cost the town anymore,” he said. “There’s no change in the budget for doing this, it just allows us to fill a critical need at this time.”

One previous opening was filled making it possible for Cody Mathis to begin his first day on the job to coincide with a significant anniversary.

“We were able to swear him in this weekend, he was able to officially start his first day today [Sept. 11],” said Vestal.

“Young folks taking an interest to do service within the county is anymore getting fewer and further between,” said Vestal, “so somebody with a heart of service is good to see [thinking] about a career in this profession.”

A heart of service is prominent in the Yadkin Valley as truck troubles has reminded Chief Kevin Macemore and the rest of the Arlington Fire Department.

“Hopefully by the end of the week the ladder truck will be back in service,” said Macemore, explaining cracks in the front end has had the truck out of service for about two months.

“During that time we had a pump go out in one of the main engines, so we are getting it repaired,” he said. “Hopefully by the end of next week it will be back in service.

“At this time, if we’re having a fire, we are bringing in another department,” said an appreciative Macemore. “Yadkin County, Ronda and Elkin have been good in assisting.”

Also giving and receiving assistance has been the Public Works Department.

Manager Tim Collins expressed an interest in a Mutual Assistance Agreement for his department as well after explaining continued issues caused by spring flooding.

After replacing pump number two, which was backed up with sand, Collins and his team discovered a continued problem.

“It’s putting out about 320 to 350 [gallons per day]. We bought a new pump and it is supposed to average between 800 and 1,000,” explained Collins.

“We are not happy with it,” said Collins, explaining that he and his team had checked everything according to instructions and were now expecting someone from the company.

“We’re not going to pay until we get everything worked out,” he said. Since the demise of the company’s senior owner, “they haven’t been as good as they used to be and now everybody is recommending somebody else. If this ever happens again we might take another route. Other than that everything’s been good.”

Also exhibiting fiscal responsibility are other departments. Several changes in fee schedules were discussed.

“After reviewing the fees charged in area towns and counties, we have apparently overcharged and undercharged for a couple of these items,” said Pardue.

“Most folks are saying [caps and T-shirts priced at $15] are just too high for souvenirs and are just not purchasing those,” said Pardue. “One of our recommendations is that that be lowered to $10.”

In addition to changing the price for people to wear advertising for the town of Jonesville, the police department requested changes to which the town council agreed.

Fingerprints will now be $15 with copies of dash and body cam footage costing $5.

Hopefully, the cost to repairs on vehicles over the winter will not accrue as Collins and his team strive to repair roads before the weather prevents work.

“We are going to try to do one really good paving around town before it really gets bad. Hopefully we will get a lot of these to where it’s taken care of,” said Collins. “We are going to be paving some streets between now and the cold part of the year, so if you’ve got a pothole or something like that that I don’t know about at this point please feel free to call me and I’ll put it on the list.”

The Public Works Department can be reached at 336-835-4068.

Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.