March 15, 2021

County Commissioners Meeting Mar 15 Summary

The 3pm Special Projects meeting ran about 12 minutes long.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the relocation efforts surrounding the Confederate statue in Pasquotank County.  Cecil Perry started by making a few remarks about what they are trying to do and why it is so important to the community.  He said that moving the monument was not all about the past, but is all about the future.  He said as a retired teacher he would love to be in the classroom with a group of young people and let them decide what they think about this. He talked about Hugh Kale being etched in the stones outside the building.  Pasquotank County has estimated paying $28k to transport the statue from the 4 cannonballs up to the top of the monument, not the base. The owner wants to make additional arrangements to also get the base.  He expressed a desire to use Croft and Crane out of Portsmouth, Virginia with him assuming part of the cost.  They came on site two weeks ago but the board has not received a quote from them yet.  The property owner was not present for the meeting.  Cecil Perry expressed concerns regarding limited parking for visitors wanting to see the statue.  County Manager Sparty Hammett said he wanted to hold off on any action until they are able to get the quote in and have the land owner present.  He says the land owner would need to take care of the installation of the statue on his property above the county’s low bid cost of 28K.  Sean Lavin commented that he also loved Hugh Kale and mentioned him being the first Republican Commissioner.

The 4pm Finance meeting ran about 26 minutes long. Some financial concerns were brought up regarding New Land.  Various tax issues and budget amendments were briefly presented.  A speaker from Elizabeth City Parks and Recreation, Director Sean Clark, was present to discuss fee amendments to recreation and classes. He explained they wanted to adjust fees and initiate fees for summer camps.  Sean Lavin asked if fees would cover their operating costs.  The speaker explained that the fees would move them towards being self-sufficient.  Jonathan Meads asked if all were Pasquotank County residents and how long the camps would last.  The speaker replied that it was mostly Pasquotank County residents but that there would be out of city / out of county fee rates for outside visitors.  He said that the length of camps would vary as some would be all new programs.  County Manager Sparty Hammett recommended approving this fee increase.  Motion was made by Sean Lavin and seconded by Cecil Perry to approve the increase.  Chairman Lloyd Griffin asked about the Covid mask policy for their activities.  The speaker replied that they typically have set numbers of ten per space.  He said they also utilize screen barriers and sanitize the seating regularly.  They also use larger spaces to keep 6ft distance.  The Finance Committee moved on to discuss consideration of a bid for 812 Parsonage street.  The property is surplus land owned by Pasquotank County. The property needs to be torn down and is a hazard.  Sean Lavin made a motion to move forward with an up bid on the property. The Commissioners briefly talked about consideration of the 2021-2022 goals discussed at their retreat.  The Commissioners received a request from the Community Relations Committee to reallocate $1000 of unused funds in their budget since they had a decrease in operational costs during Covid.  They wanted to give $500 towards homeless assistance and $500 towards the Food Bank of the Albemarle.   Lloyd Griffin said funds get reallocated all the time.  In a vote of 4 No and 2 Yes (Commissioner Barry Overman was absent) the Commissioners could not come to an agreement to allow them to do so and so the reallocation did not pass.  Bill Steritt who serves on the Community Relations Board said that the Commissioners could expect to hear a lot of discussion back about this decision.  He said that in their by-laws once they are given the money they don’t even have to ask how to spend it.

The 6pm Commissioners Meeting ran about 50 minutes long.  Many residents attended and spoke against the plan for a New Land Park.  Howard Smith a volunteer firefighter spoke about the number of traffic accidents on firetower and 158.  He spoke about the number of calls for opioids that may be worsened by public parks.  Ricky Albertson, an adjacent property owner, said his front door was only 145ft from the proposed park site.  He brought up comments from meeting minutes on the public record from 2018 made by Bill Sterritt who was only looking to spend $100K on 10 acres of land.  Now the county is looking at spending $600K on 51 acres of land just two years later.  County Manager Sparty Hammett said that they needed to get community input for receiving grants for this project.  Gina Albertson spoke against a Zoom meeting being held for this input because it excluded some of the nearby residents who it affected.  The commissioners assured everyone that the Zoom meeting would not be the final say.  There would be another discussion and opportunity for the residents to come speak.  Sean Lavin thanked everyone for coming.  Consent was given for several agenda items including a resolution honoring Superior Court Judge J. Carlton “J.C.” Cole at his upcoming retirement ceremony.  Pasquotank County Board of Elections Director Emma Tate made a presentation about the acquisition of new elections equipment.  This was the final approval needed from the Commissioners in order for the county to purchase the new equipment.  The county performed a simulated election test in order to meet the requirements of testing prior to purchasing new voting machines.  Our Commissioners gave permission to sign the contract and officially purchase the machines.  Jackie and Troy from the Pasquotank County Board of Elections were also present for the vote which was motioned by Cecil Perry and seconded by Charles Jordan to approve purchase of the equipment.  Someone asked what nearby counties used the DS200 equipment by ES&S that we were about to purchase and Emma said Currituck and Dare County are also using these upgraded machines.

Reports by Bill Sterritt:  He commented that he’d known Judge Cole a long time.  He said the SPCA had voted to continue all their meetings on Zoom. He reiterated that the Community Relations Committee would be in contact about the Commissioners telling them how they can spend their money.

Sean Lavin and Jonathan Meads both said their meetings were all this week.  Barry Overman was not present.

Reports from Cecil Perry: He commented that he was pleased to give recognition for people in the community like Judge Cole whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Reports from Charles Jordan: He says he is continuing to work with Trillium and they are working to appoint members to the governing board.

Reports from Lloyd Griffin: Mentioned the River City Youth is looking for mentors.  He briefly talked about the airport’s grant for expansion. He said it was the last day for the EDC applications.  He mentioned Albemarle Commission fiber optic broadband for our communities. He talked about the Workforce Development not being able to find qualified candidates to be trained.  He reminded everyone of the city/county joint meeting on the 29th.

To watch videos from past Pasquotank County Commissioner meetings check our Pasquotank County Commissioner Meeting Videos page.