Ronda seeks solutions for wells and roosters

Taylor PardueStaff Reporter

April 11, 2013

Ronda resident Doug Combs used the open forum portion of the Town Hall meeting Tuesday night to urge Ronda’s Mayor Victor Varela and commissioners to deal with the problems of an unfilled well on a property near his residence.

“As a town we have a nuisance, that some kid is going to get killed,” Combs said. According to him, a “rope pulley” is situated near the well, and Combs fears the children will be drawn toward the area.

Combs said he was unsure of how deep or wide the hole was and was unwilling to venture any closer to check, citing personal risk.

He said the hole was probably six feet wide.

Mayor Varela said the property may have been part of an incomplete transaction, or the information had not been recorded. He told the audience and board that he would look the property up on GIS that night and try to identify the owner. The owner would then be told of his or her liability.

The board agreed with Combs that something should be done.

A solution was proposed by Commissioner Sam Foster to place concrete barriers along the edge of the hole. These would be similar to the ones used on major highways to block off lanes.

Yellow tape had been tried, but according to a woman in the audience a tree had fallen on the tape and made it useless as a deterrent.

Several other wells and holes were discussed, including one in front of the Ronda Fire Department, one near the train tracks in town, and another off Highway 268.

State regulations are in place and are strict concerning how a well should be filled.

Mayor Varela said there was not much the town could do. He added that if the town had a nuisance ordinance in place something more could be done about the situation.

In a discussion about updating the town’s ordinances, Mayor Varela said a new company was being considered to help in the process. N-Force, a company out of Kannapolis, would assist the town in making its ordinances up-to-date, as some have not been changed for many years.

Varela said the town had a junk vehicle ordinance currently but did not have a nuisance ordinance. He said the town needed one.

Most notably was the need for action against the Mayor’s neighbor’s roosters. Varela said the “rooster situation” was “untenable.” He later added that he “couldn’t deal with it anymore.”

The company could also help establish a minimum housing ordinance. The ordinance is necessary for the town to receive financial support and grants from HUD, or the Department of Housing and Development.

Foster replied that individuals could currently apply for HUD assistance; only the town could not.

Benchmark was originally considered but does not deal with smaller municipalities as often Varela said. N-Force would work with the community for $57 an hour as needed, the Mayor said.

Varela said this would be comparable to the Benchmark price.

A tentative meeting was set for April 23 at 5 p.m., pending any scheduling conflicts.

Lisa Arney addressed the board to request further information about the town seal decision.

Students and teachers at Wilkes Community College designed several mock-ups for the board’s consideration but had not heard about the town’s decision.

Arney told the board the design could be either of the current options, or the designs could be mixed and matched to give the best of the choices.

The board said it would place the designs on the bulletin board at the front of the town hall for residents to vote on a first, second, and third choice. A one-sheet compilation of the designs will also be mailed with residents’ water bills.

Commissioners hope to decide by the summer to prevent the decision from dragging out too long.

News about the repair work on town hall’s rock wall was bleak. The deductible on the damage is $1,000 and only on the damaged portion.

The town had hoped to make the wall appear uniform across the whole structure and avoid the noticeable difference in the repaired section. Total work on the wall and the town’s flag pole was $2,400, with the damage costing $550.

The town will also not be able to attach an insurance rider to its policy, a rider that would have allowed the town to hire a prospective uninsured worker.

Varela said he felt uncomfortable hiring someone uninsured.

Sam Foster suggested hiring the man as a temporary town employee until the job was done. Foster also suggested using a temp-agency to hire a worker until the job was done.

Shaw Masonry was mentioned, and Mayor Varela said that if their estimate was at or below the original estimate the town should hire him.

The baord tabled an update on the Yadkin Valley Sewer Authority due to grant applications that were still in the works.

No progress has been made on the speeding issue. Mayor Varela said he had spoken to Wilkes County Sheriff Chris Shew and asked for increased patrols, but that there wasn’t a decision regarding rumble strips.

A resident of Ronda requested that the town purchase a water filter for his house.

After finding hard water in his home, the man decided to request the purchase, he said.

The board said no, citing the fact that the man had been on town water for several years and that if he wanted a water filter he would have to buy it himself.

Mayor Varela said he wanted a new filter too, but he intended to buy his himself.

Sam Foster commented that he had to buy all new equipment for his house when the water pressure from town water was too high, and that he agreed the man should pay for his own filter as well.

To contact Mr. Pardue call 336-835-1513 ext. 15, or email him at tpardue@civitasmedia.com.