PILOT MOUNTAIN — The missing N.C. 268 bridge over U.S. 52 linking Pilot Mountain to communities west of town is wreaking havoc on the town’s coffers.
Marshall Atkins, chairman of the town’s ABC Board, which oversees the ABC Store, reported a drastic reduction in revenue for July at the Pilot Mountain Board of Commissioners meeting July 28.
“June sales were up 3.4 percent over June of last year,” Atkins reported. “I took a little review this morning to see where we were for July, and we are looking at 14 percent down in July.
“So we’re going to have to look at our budget as well,” he said, noting that businesses around town also are struggling to make ends meet with the lowered traffic in town. “Hopefully if they get the bridge done, we’ll see it go up.”
Later during the meeting, Commissioner Dwight Atkins made note that local businesses could be investing in recouping from the state the money they’ve lost with the bridge out. He asked if there is a way for the town to recoup the lost sales tax.
“No,” said Town Manager Amanda Reid.
“Will we get a percentage for sales tax of what they recoup?” Commissioner Atkins asked.
“No, we’re just out that revenue,” Reid said.
Atkins requested that other possible routes into town be posted on the town’s website, townofpilotmountain.com, so that locals and others can know there are other ways to get into town without having to down to the state park exit on U.S. 52 to turn around and come back north into town.
Reid said she would look into the possibility of posting those.
During the 2012-13 fiscal year, the town’s occupancy tax revenue “came in the second to the best we’ve ever had, and very closed the best we’ve ever had, only $1,000 shy,” reported Scott Needham, chairman of the town’s Tourism Development Authority, which oversees occupancy tax revenues and expenditures used to market the town for tourism.
“This year, we are putting more money in media and publications, and we have a new website, visitpilotmountain.com, and a new Facebook page, which will be a place to see things going on in town,” Needham said. “Visitors or locals can go to the website and see what’s going on in town.
“It seems like every weekend something is going on,” he said.
Rather than create a brochure for tourism, Needham said the group has decided to market its website with signs and banners because the site is easier to edit and more accessible to the public. “We are working with the Surry County Tourism Development Authority to do these things,” he said.
Also, the group is looking for ideas for more events that can be hosted downtown and funded by the TDA.
“I’m going to start trying to meet with you quarterly to show the citizens some transparency to see what we’re doing,” Needham told the commissioners.
Other business handled
The commissioners received several announcements and handled other town business during the meeting.
• Police Chief Darryl Bottoms announced that Thursday his officers would be assisting the Armfield Civic Center summer program participants with a prescription drug drop-off at the civic center from 6:30 to 10 a.m. For those who miss this week’s drop-off, the police department will host one in late September at the station.
• The Pilot Mountain Rescue Squad reported it responded to 68 calls in June, 10 of which were in the town limits. There were 271 donated man-hours that month.
Assistant Chief Shawn Jessup shared a story with the commissioners of how effective the rescue squad is.
“We got an email from the Stokes County EMS director. We assisted Double Creek on a call on N.C. 268 East where a 40-year-old was having chest pain,” he said.
Jessup explained that the squad carries a Lifepak 15 automated external defibrillator which has monitoring capabilities like an EKG.
“We got there and hooked the patient up, and we already had a print out for the paramedics when they arrived on the scene. The patient was loaded in eight minutes from the initial dispatch, and the cath lab in the Winston-Salem hospital was activated based on what we did,” he said. “In 67 minutes, the patient was in the cath lab with a stint in place and was discharged a few days later.”
• The commissioners unanimously voted to approve a budget amendment to finalize all receipts from The Pilot Center capital project. The grant funding for the project was received during the 2012-13 fiscal year and what hadn’t been reimbursed yet due to outstanding receipts was moved into fund balance at the close of the fiscal year. Therefore, $38,000 of the $54,000 for the final receipts is being paid out of the town’s fund balance, with the other $16,000 coming from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.