Elkin buying new fire truck, repairing ladder truck

By Anthony Gonzalez agonzalez@civitasmedia.com

March 10, 2014

The town of Elkin is seeking to purchase a new fire truck and make needed repairs to the ladder of an existing fire truck.

According to resolution discussed at the Elkin Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday night, Elkin Finance Director John Holcomb was authorized to finance $401,957 for a new fire engine. Another $177,000 was authorized for the repair of a ladder truck.

Elkin will borrow the money from BB&T Bank. The loan is expected to be for nine years at an interest rate of 2.37 percent.

“The fire department vehicles were approved in the current budget when it was adopted last year,” said Town Manager Lloyd Payne on Tuesday.

According to Elkin Fire Chief Tommy Wheeler, the new truck is manufactured by Pierce.

“It is on a Saber chassis and has a 1,500 gallon per minute pump. It will have a 1,000 gallon water tank and a foam system. This truck will replace our 42-year-old engine,” said Wheeler on Tuesday.

“The ladder truck is 20 years old and there were some issues with the ladder portion of the truck. A new ladder truck would have cost in excess of $1 million. We were able to have the ladder portion of the truck completely refurbished and were able to save a significant amount of money,” said Wheeler.

Additional action taken or discussed by the commissioners on Monday night resulted in the following items:

• The board approved cruising dates for the fourth Saturday during designated times from May through September. The request was made by Vicki Roberts with Historic Downtown Elkin, Inc. According to Roberts, coordinated cruising dates are a component of tourism that helps generate business for shops in Elkin. A car show will run in conjunction with the Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival and cars will be staged at Crater Park.

• The board discussed options toward making Elkin an RV-friendly town and asked its Parks and Recreation director to develop recommendations relating to parking, water, and electricity of RVs. The general consensus of the board was to expedite this matter, as they felt being known as a “trail town” would make better sense to people who can also come into the region and have a safe place to park their RV.

• A presentation was made by Dr. Bill Blackley of Elkin Valley Trails Association relating to installation of a footbridge project, a signage partnership, fundraising and other trails-related news. According to Blackley, the footbridge has been delivered and remains at a Mount Airy facility until the section above the Shoe Dam Factory is ready for installation. Blackley said that storage fees were reduced, thus leading to a reduction in the total cost of the project.

Blackley announced that the North Carolina Rail-Trails will be holding its annual meeting in Elkin this summer. Blackley added that the Elkin Parks and Recreation board donated $10,000 to EVTA for the footbridge project, and that Elkin’s Tourism Board donated $10,000 for the project, as well.

Elkin’s Parks and Recreation Department requested town approval to shift $10,000 from its Virginia Shaw funds to be transferred to EVTA. The money is from the will of Virginia Shaw who bequeathed an inheritance to the recreation department for items deemed to support recreational interests.

• The primary fire district map for Elkin was modified. The old map and new map will be published Friday.

• Commissioners approved a $26,000 audit contract with Martin, Starnes, and Associates, an increase of 2.8 percent over last year. According to town officials, this will be Martin, Starnes, and Associates eighth year of performing audit services for the Town of Elkin.

• Commissioners discussed its leash ordinance and the placement of signs relating to control of pets and the cleanup of animal feces. Town officials provided commissioners with four types of signs used in other municipalities relating to pets and curbing matters.

Commissioners narrowed down the selection for one sample sign and asked its town manager to develop language to be placed on the sign. The signs will cost about $50 each. It is unknown on the exact amount of signs the town will need to purchase until commissioners narrow down neighborhoods needing the signs and exact locations for sign placement.

The pet leash ordinance topic was spearheaded by newcomer Commissioner Bob Norton, who said he is responding to community concerns of animals running onto neighbors yards and defecating on the property. Violators of the existing animal leash ordinance may result in a misdemeanor and a $50 fine, according to town officials.

Chief Monroe Wagoner of the Elkin Police Department told commissioners that enforcement is difficult because the callers who are alleged victims of the unwanted pets on their property mostly seek to remain anonymous.

• Mayor Lestine Hutchens was on an excused absence. According to commissioners, the mayor is in Washington, D.C., on official business with the North Carolina League of Municipalities.

Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.