March 1, 2021

County Commissioners Meeting Mar 1 Summary

The 6pm meeting ran just under two hours. The meeting began with a presentation of a resolution in honor of Frankie Meads being presented to Alice Ann Meads, Frankie’s widow.  Many relatives were present and included in the ceremony.  A copy of the resolution is posted here.

A presentation was made by Keith Hamm, Community Liaison for Integrated Family services about its Mobile Crisis Services unit and its interaction with police, EMS and hospitals.  Over 80% of the individuals are helped before they go to the hospital.

A presentation was made by Bland Baker, Northern Regional Director for Trillium.  Trillium helped 1807 individuals in Pasquotank County last year. Of those 1356 were treated for mental health issues, 318 for substance abuse, and 210 for individual developmental disabilities.

Shelley Cox, Planning and Inspections Director, spoke in favor of the board approving the Creekside Farms Phase 3 development improvements.  This final phase of development will bring the total to 75 lots off Lovers Lane in Providence Township.  The plan was approved.

Discussion was made regarding mask protocol for meetings.  Sparty Hammett said they could not find any specific written jurisdiction requiring masks in these types of meetings.  He suggested that it was up to the board whether to establish a practice regarding mask usage for meetings.  Cecil Perry said he thought we should all be careful and be safe to look out for each other.  He also said that being older and knowing that death would come for him faster than other people that if he did not feel safe he would use his mask the entire meeting but that he felt safe so he did not feel the need to do that.  Bill Sterritt said he did not think people were being unsafe in the manner they were spread out and that he did not want to wear a mask during the whole meeting.  He also said that he has to keep asking speakers to take their masks off because they can’t hear them.  He wanted to know who it was that wanted to make a change to any mask policy usage.  Sean Lavin echoed not wanting to wear masks for the entire meeting and also added that he would be in favor of lifting the declaration of emergency to see mask usage restrictions lifted.  Jonathan Meads echoed that he would be in favor of also seeing the declaration of emergency lifted.  Barry Overman said he was happy to be respectful if it bothered someone but he personally didn’t feel unsafe socially distanced and seated without wearing masks. He said that if he goes up to someone he puts his mask on out of being respectful and polite and that he agreed with Sean Lavin that our county does need to drop the declaration emergency.  Stipulations with grant reimbursements were pointed out by Lloyd Griffin who said that would be a discussion for another time.  Lloyd Griffin also pointed out that County Manager Sparty Hammett did a good job making sure that the courtroom was properly socially distanced and he did not think there were any actions the board needed to take on this topic.

Sparty Hammett recommended converting seat appointments for the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Tourism Development Authority (TDA) board to balance county and city seats equally as they were currently off balanced in member allocation.  The TDA representative agreed that this was equitable to shift the balance to equality for county and city representation.

Representatives from River City Development Corporation asked for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) so that the county could receive funds from FEMA to help with the homeless situation in Pasquotank County.  The funds would flow through the county budget.  Bill Sterritt also wanted to know who the River City Development is overseen by, to which they replied FEMA directly.  He questioned the accountability of the program, as in who would be accountable to ensure that hotels receiving funds are actually housing people.  Jonathan Meads asked who is responsible if the people they put in hotels tear the rooms up.  He also asked about drug use policies for the program participants. The representatives explained that they have a zero tolerance policy for drug usage and vandalism and that anyone who was not respectful of the guidelines would be removed from the program immediately.  This program would not require any Pasquotank County matching funds and would be entirely funded by FEMA.

Reports from Sparty Hammett:  The County Manager reported on properties that Pasquotank County is trying to currently sell.  He indicated that with grass cutting season approaching he would like to move properties to avoid maintenance costs.

Reports from Bill Sterritt:  He talked about the Community Relations committee planning a fundraising event to help March for Meals month. He said no one knows where the Food Bank is but they do now because he told them.

Reports from Sean Lavin: He said Elizabeth City Chamber of Commerce met and is looking for ribbon cuttings and open houses.  The Economic Development meeting was on the 17th.  He said the Workforce Development Force did ill some of the positions he had previously talked about.

Reports from Jonathan Meads:  He said learned a lot at the retreat.  He commented on their work on the county’s debt.  Where we were and where we are now is very big and he wanted to thank the county manager and the county finance manager and said without them we wouldn’t be where we are now.

Reports from Barry Overman:  Barry Overman said the board ranked pretty high for him to meet there tonight on his 24th wedding anniversary.  He said he very much enjoyed the retreat and appreciated everyone for making it happen.

Reports from Cecil Perry:  He said he attended a virtual JCPC meeting for teen court and so forth.  He said our county is leading in virus vaccinations.  He said they are accessing people that do not have cars and are not mobile and would not normally have these services available to them.  He commented on citizens complaints on dog hunting on their property and said it can get to be quite troubling for some of our citizens and said that he hopes their special projects committee could bring about a resolution to help our citizens.  He also spoke about the voting precincts being contentious in the black community because only one of the districts that we vote in have more Afirca Americans than whites and they are 40% of the population.  He wants to see the precincts to be redrawn to give more opportunity to people of color.  He suggested that the board needed to talk about it before lawyers had to get involved to bring about that change.

Reports from Charles Jordan:  He reported that the health department had reported no new outbreaks at the jail.  He reported on the opening of the new movie theater being pretty spectacular and said it was great to have a first class movie theater in our area now.  He said he had the opportunity to see ECSU and COA have a collaborative agreement.  He also asked people to sign up to deliver meals for the Meals on Wheels week to help.

Reports from Lloyd Griffin:  He talked about the airport authority board.  He said that the consolidated road was having traffic issues with the expansion area by the airport being used for a covid vaccine distribution center.  He said last week was for the first shot and this week is for the second shot there.  He talked about the hospital cancer center on Halstead Boulevard.  He talked about the county having some debt to be incurred in the next five to ten years for the quality of life for our citizens and future economic development.  He commented that we are one of the few counties that have been able to maintain having in person meetings and we were very fortunate to have the courtroom available to allow us to socially distance to be able to meet in person instead of virtually.

To watch video excerpts from county commissioner meetings meeting check our Pasquotank County Commissioner Meeting Videos page.