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The Newland Town Council Members Admit Three New Members

By Tim Gardner

Before a large gathering, the Newland Board of Aldermen (Town Council) swore in three new members, elected its Mayor Pro-Tem and re-appointed the town’s top officials for 2018 during its regular monthly meeting December 5.

All Aldermen (Town Council members) Lauren Jaynes Turbyfill, Joleta Wise, Jamey Johnson, Kenny Caraway and Greg Seiz were present.  Other town officials attending included:  Mayor Valerie Jaynes; Town Administrator Keith Hoilman; Finance Officer Lisa Meinhardt; Town Attorney Joe Seegers; and Town Clerk and Board of Aldermen secretary Tammy Gardner.  

It marked the first meeting for Turbyfill, Wise and Johnson serving as aldermen.  Each was elected to the Board in November’s election.

By unanimous votes (5-0), the Board of Aldermen made Johnson Mayor Pro-Tem and re-appointed Hoilman, Seegers and Gardner to their posts.  The Board also unanimously approved Gardner serving as Deputy Finance Officer for check signing purposes only when Meinhardt is unavailable.

The Board was presented a bill for $766.50 to play the final costs incurred regarding the complaint filed by Caraway to contest the candidacy of Wise for a Board of Aldermen seat.  Johnson made a motion to pay the bill, seconded by Seiz.  But a vote to pay the bill failed (3-2) when Turbyfill, Caraway and Wise voted against.

At its November meeting, the then-Board of Aldermen voted 3-1 to pay a bill for the candidate contestation at a discounted (75 percent rate) of $2,309.75.  Then aldermen Dave Calvert, Roxanna Roberson and Seiz voted to pay the bill.  Carraway was opposed and Thomas Jackson was absent from the meeting.

Seegers said that state statues require the town to pay the bill, not an individual or individuals contesting a candidate’s right to run for office.

Concerning this year’s town audit, Boone accountant Misty Watson told the Board of Aldermen that the audit went well and that the town received a favorable and passing grade.  Anyone desiring to obtain a copy of the complete audit can contact Meinhardt in person at Town Hall or by calling (828) 733-2023.

 Watson was hired last July to conduct this year’s audit.  Hoilman said then that hiring Watson would save the town at least $5,000.00 and potentially more in auditor’s fees and that she was the lowest of three bidders to perform the audit.  

 The Board of Aldermen members agreed that Watson did an excellent job performing this year’s audit and that they want to bid out the job in 2018.

 In another topic, the aldermen voted 3-2 to rescind the idea of adopting a moratorium in the town.  Turbyfill, Johnson and Wise were in favor, with Caraway and Seiz opposed.

 However, the aldermen agreed by consensus to keep a long-range planning committee for the town. Hoilman said the aldermen will be ironing out details and establishing guidelines such as who can serve on the committee, for how long and what their responsibilities will encompass.

The previous Board of Aldermen had held a public hearing to seek input from town residents and business owners about adopting a moratorium.

A moratorium stops all construction in the town’s limits for a certain time frame. But under North Carolina Law, if a building permit had already been issued by the county prior to the construction of a building or dwelling and that construction process is underway, that it can continue and a moratorium will not create an automatic stay and halt its process.

In other topics:

*By consensus, the Board of Aldermen agreed that all town employees will be required to take a class to become certified to administer Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).  That is an emergency procedure which combines chest compressions often with artificial ventilation in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person who is in cardiac arrest (heart stops).

* The Aldermen also voted unanimously to pay Christmas bonuses of $500.00 to each town employee, which is $100.00 less than last year’s bonuses of $600.00.

*By a unanimous vote, the Aldermen will have a Christmas Lights contest for town residences and business.  A forum of three individuals will be chosen to choose the residence and business with the best lights decorations and the owner of the residence and the business will each receive their water bill waived for a month to be determined by town officials.

The Aldermen also went into executive (closed) session concerning personnel for 30 minutes, but took no action from that segment upon returning to open forum.

The aldermen’s next meeting will be held Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in their Board Room in Town Hall.