Wilkes Transportation Authority welcomed its new executive officer Monday, Feb. 18 at the Wilkes County Board of Commissioners meeting.
Mike Norwood, formerly the finance officer of AppalCart in Watauga County, was introduced to the board by the WTA Board Chairman James Tedder.
WTA provides multi-modal transportation, specializingin alternatives for those with limited options in rural communities across Wilkes County, according to the Authority’s website. Mini, standard, and conversion vans are available for trips anywhere in the state of North Carolina.
Tedder said that Norwood brought a new sense of optimism to the WTA that had not been there recently. He listed Norwood’s credentials, but went a step further and noted Norwood’s attitude of helping others. According to Tedder, Norwood was more than willing to jump in and help answer phones and make sure the office ran smoothly.
The board was enthusiastic about Norwood’s arrival, noting his positive reputation at AppalCart. Norwood laid out his goals for the WTA in an address to the Board, which included paying off two simultaneous debts the Authority had incurred, including an initial debt of $60,000.
In addition to the WTA welcoming their employee, the board also listened to proposed changes in the WTA Ordinance. Currently the WTA Board is made of eleven members, but the amendment would decrease that number to nine. Tedder provided a group the WTA wished to recommend to the commissioners. The Board of Commissioners made no action on the issue at this month’s meeting.
Wilkes County Library made its annual progress report to the board. In it, Molly Westmoreland, Director of Libraries for Appalachian Regional Libraries, discussed the library’s newly added RFID system of checking out books. Radio Frequency Identification enables the library to set up kiosks for patrons to check out their own books by scanning the tag inside the book via a scanner, which picks out the microchip inside the book’s tag.
With grant money the library is hoping to secure, the libraries of Wilkes County would be able to finish updating its collection with this new technology. This could allow current library employees to better use their time helping visitors instead of wasting time, and could help cap the number of employees the library system needs to hire, said Westmoreland.
Westmoreland also confirmed she would be leaving the area at the end of the month, taking a position at North Carolina’s State Library. She thanked the Commissioners for their support over the years, and they in turn congratulated her on her successful time in Wilkes County.
Mary Edna Faw, Director of the Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission Elderly Nutrition Program, addressed the Commission to request a resolution supporting the local and national March for Meals campaign. The campaign is part of Meals on Wheels Association of America to combat hunger in senior citizens.
A contract to audit accounts for Wilkes County was also examined. Martin Starnes and Associates were recommended by Jerry Shepherd, finance officer for Wilkes County, as a choice for county auditor. The board voted unanimously to approve the nomination. Sheperd also presented the outlook for the remainder of the budget year, with expectations high for coming in close to the annual budget.
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