Bailey moves to fire public works contractor Envirolink

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BAILEY — Following an outcry from town residents, the Bailey Board of Commissioners began a process to curtail some of utility management company Envirolink’s public works services Monday evening.

“I’ve been on this board a long time, and I have never received this many complaints,” said Commissioner Shelley Bullard.

Cecil Hawley, president of the Bailey Chamber of Commerce, asked if Envirolink could cease the grounds work on its building and allow the chamber to outsource it to Rudy’s Lawn and Landscape Service.

“What we would like to do is put up a ‘no mowing’ sign for Envirolink, and just let us take care of it,” Hawley said.

Commissioner Allen Daniels also expressed frustration with the town’s upkeep.

“I don’t like it when people are calling me and saying this grass needs to be cut,” Daniels said. “I’m not here to be managing somebody who needs to manage the grass.”

During her remarks, Bullard asked the board to consider beginning the contract termination process by sending a certified letter to Envirolink detailing the town’s dissatisfaction with the maintenance and upkeep of town property, including the cemetery.

According to the terms of the contract, Envirolink will have 30 days upon receipt of the letter to bring the listed items into compliance. If improvements are not made within the 30-day window, the board will then send a 90-day written notice before terminating the contract.

In March 2012, Bailey officials voted to outsource public works operations to Envirolink, following the town of Spring Hope’s lead. Envirolink leases town equipment used to perform the work.

Based in Raleigh with a service office in Bailey, Envirolink offers “full-service water, wastewater and public works management services to over 100 municipal, county, industrial and private clients,” according to its website.

Hawley and town resident Kay Folsom also spoke about the lack of action in applying for and receiving grant money to make infrastructure updates.

“I would like to ask the board to investigate something to give the town of Bailey’s citizens encouragement that we are eventually going to get off this (sewer) moratorium,” Folsom said. “Is there a possibility of hiring somebody to help us look for money?”

“We have these meetings, for years I’ve been coming to these meetings. We talked about a grounds program, matching grants, all these things to take the buildings down, but if it wasn’t for Sen. Richard Horner, we still wouldn’t have any money to do this with,” Hawley said. “We can’t just keep sitting here and don’t do nothing.”

Town Administrator Timothy Johnson said many grants received in other towns are directly tied to economic development, and Bailey would not qualify for them at this time.

“You talk about grants like pouring water into a cup, and it’s not,” Johnson said. “What you’re talking about, Middlesex got because of the corporate park.”

The board also unanimously passed a resolution to approve the town’s water shortage response plan and a $2,500 distribution request for library funds budgeted for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Daniels also asked that the board consider appointing Joel Killion to fill the Board of Commissioners seat vacated by Troy Conner’s July departure. Three commissioners would have to approve a motion to appoint someone to the board. The appointee would then be in place until the next municipal election. The board elected to allow more time for other candidates to come forward before making a final decision.

After a closed session, a request was made to buy push lawn mowers to assist in the town’s upkeep, but Daniels worried about the town’s liability should an accident occur. Commissioners also announced that they would not purchase a vacant lot on the corner of Deans and Jackson streets.