County commissioners to discuss Pilot Mountain fire update

Keith StrangeCivitas News Service

January 5, 2013

DOBSON — An update on the November fire that burned just less than 700 acres at Pilot Mountain State Park highlights what appears to be a brief agenda when the Surry County Board of Commissioners meets for its regular meeting today.

The meeting is set to get under way at 6 p.m., in the Commissioner’s Meeting Room of the County Government Center in Dobson.

Following housekeeping issues like approval of the consent agenda, the board is set to hear from North Carolina Forestry Service officials Kevin Harrell and Brian Elam, as well as county Emergency Services Director John Shelton, when it is updated on the fire.

Harrell served as incident commander during the fire, and Elam is the Surry County ranger with the North Carolina Forest Service.

The update is based on a request several commissioners made during a public information meeting held as the fire was still being quenched in mid-November.

During that meeting, about 150 county residents gathered at Pinnacle View Baptist Church to hear from forestry officials.

After hearing complaints from the residents about how the fire was handled and that were not kept in the loop as the blaze neared their homes, commissioners including R.F. “Buck” Golding asked forestry officials to update the county board following a post-fire review of the matter.

Following the update on the fire, county Tax Administrator Michael Hartgrove is set to update the board on the current effort to put tax maps online.

Hartgrove is expected to offer a “pro and con” presentation on putting the maps online during his update.

The board is expected to determine whether to proceed with the online maps following Hartgrove’s presentation.

Daniel White, the county’s parks and recreation director, is expected to ask for a letter of support for a grant of up to $200,000 from the North Carolina State Trails Program to construct two canoe access points.

Betty Taylor, the county’s assistant county manager for budget and finance, is expected to request a review of the county’s bids for audit services for 2013.