Public weighs in at County Commission

Six speakers signed up to speak at Monday evenings Vance County Board of Commissioner’s meeting before the 5:45 p.m. deadline. Since the board allots thirty minutes to public comments, each speaker was given five minutes each for comments.

The first to address commissioners was identified by Vance County Board of Commissioner’s Chairman Tim Pegram as Maurice Smith. Although this name appears unlikely, the recording was unable to further clarify the given name. Smith showed a card that had been mailed by North Carolina Representative Jim Crawford and told board members that the card claimed that millions of dollars had been secured for Vance County. She asked for an accounting of the money. County Manager Jerry Ayscue told commissioners that he would research the issue and respond to Smith. It was mentioned that the funds specified in the mailer had not gone to Vance County government.

Dan Brummitt was the next to address the board. He began with a review of European feudal history and a survey of repressive British government in the Americas and in North Carolina leading to the American Revolution. Skipping ahead two hundred years, he told commissioners that government has become “overbearing and bureaucratic”. Brummitt told the board that zoning is not necessary.

“Zoing divides communities,” Brummit said.

According to Brummit, zoning will not solve more important social problems within the community and diverts resources from those problems.

The next resident to address the council was Bishop Johnny Alston. Alston expressed a concern that zoning would stop him from “doing God’s work and feeding folks”.

“You’re all fat cats,” Alston told commissioners.

Alston threatened to campaign against commissioners over the issue of zoning.

“The earth is the Lord’s, not yours,” he told the members.

Resident Sylvia Allen addressed the commissioners to applaud them for the effort to establish a county-wide water system. Asking commissioners how they plan to get citizens to connect to the water system, she advised them that they would have to come out and say that there is groundwater contamination. She stated that there is a need to test wells and to have people “from the outside” come in and test the water. She told commissioners that people are coming in and polluting the county.

“This is a project I do want to see succeed,” she advised the board.

Allen told the council that she was concerned about the water treatment plant. She said that the plant’s integrity had been called into question because of what had “happened in September”. By this she is presumed to have meant the semi-annual lake turnover that resulted in a taste and odor that was profoundly noticeable and universally deemed unpleasant this past autumn.

Allen asked if water rates had been compared with the surrounding counties. She told commissioners that people need more incentive to hook into water.

An 80% participation rate is needed to secure USDA funding. USDA funding is desirable because it offers terms over 40 years.

Allen ended her presentation by stating that people who are hurt the most [regarding groundwater] are people who are renting.

Resident Lewis Edwards spoke in favor of the county-wide zoning ordinance, stating, “If we don’t adopt a zoning ordinance, we will lose a little now, or we lose a lot later”. He theorized that without zoning, property values would drop so low that no one would want to live in Vance County.

Finally, Buddy Young spoke to commissioners, submitting the Bible in place of the Draft Zoning Ordinance. Quoting liberally from Romans, the Psalms, and other books, he argued that the commissioners sit by the authority of God and that God granted them their seats. He advised them that the passage from Micah was a “message to turn from your evil plan”.