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BAILEY — With some speed bumps along the way, town officials focused on moving forward in 2019.
Commissioners Ervin Powell, Joel Killion and Allen Daniels retained their seats during November’s municipal election.
Powell was appointed earlier in the year to replace resigned Commissioner Jerry Bissette.
The commissioners defeated Timothy Johnson and his father at the polls.
To kick off the year, Johnson resigned his post as town administrator, chief financial officer and tax collector.
Johnson served as administrator since 2016 and previously served as Bailey’s mayor.
“It’s never dull around here,” Daniels said after the January meeting.
Along with Mayor Thomas Richards, who ran unopposed, the commissioners said they would move forward with teamwork and goals of revitalization and ending a state-mandated sewer moratorium.
Looming large over every accomplishment in Bailey in the state-issued sewer moratorium in place since for nearly two decades. Imposed by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality in 2003, the sewer capacity moratorium is the second-longest such sewer ban in the state.
The town board is doing everything possible to get the moratorium lifted, Richards said.
The moratorium is one of the factors contributing to friction between town officials and Envirolink, the company contracted to perform public works for the town. However, the state placed Bailey on a moratorium many years prior to Envirolink beginning work for the town in 2012, said Carr McLamb, Envirolink’s chief operating officer and general counsel.
Daniels said he’s upset over Envirolink’s handling of a freshwater well and he feels the company is in breach of its contract with the town for public works services.
Commissioners decided in April to terminate a contract with Envirolink to prepare a study on the town wastewater system for which Bailey had been awarded a $150,000 Asset Inventory and Assessment grant. Envirolink failed to meet a state deadline to produce the study, so Bailey leaders requested an extension, took Envirolink off the project and hired Mack Gay Associates to complete the research.
Another blow to progress, Vince Sievert, the town’s part-time zoning administrator and code enforcement officer, resigned abruptly in October.
Sievert had been doing an excellent job, but felt political pressure from sources outside the current makeup of the town board, Richards said.
Part of moving ahead, the town board approved the demolition of a dilapidated hardware store on Main Street in the heart of town.
Workers tore down Bailey Hardware and Appliances at 6271 Main St. came down in a couple of days.
State Sen. Rick Horner, a Nash County Republican and Bailey native, secured state funding to raze the two-story eyesore. Horner’s father once operated the business.
Horner announced in December that he wouldn’t be seeking reelection due to legislative map redrawing.
In police news, deputies with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office Top shot and killed a man outside his home in February. Jonathan Ramirez, 28, died at the scene.
Ramirez’s father Jose said during an August prayer vigil that his son wasn’t a criminal and had been unjustly gunned down by deputies.
District Attorney Robert Evans said deputies acted appropriately.