BY DEBBIE PAGE
debbiepage.iredellfreenews@gmail.com

The Troutman Town Council honored several community members and a retiring police officer and approved two agreements through its consent agenda during Thursday’s meeting. The one item of new business, two appointments to boards, was delayed until November because the applicants could not attend the meeting.

OFFICER JONES RETIREMENT

Mayor Teross Young thanked and commended Officer Russell “Rusty” Jones, who has served the Troutman Police Department for the past 11 years. Jones, who is retiring November 1, was unable to be present for the meeting. He worked as a patrol, narcotics, and K-9 officer over his years of service with the town.

Jones previously served nine years with the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, including being a member of the Special Emergency Response Team, and also as a patrol officer for one year in Parkland, Fla.

Prior to joining the TPD, Jones also achieved the rank of staff sergeant during his four years in the U.S. Air Force before continuing his military career with the Air National Guard for six years.

Police Chief Tina Fleming lauded Jones’s fairness and his extensive knowledge of law enforcement that benefitted all the officers in her department. She also expressed her appreciation for “the honor and privilege to serve with him.”

FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE RECOGNITION

Young also presented a plaque of recognition and appreciation to Iredell County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #10 representatives Ron Wyatt and Tony Geiger for the organization’s support of the splash pad project at ESC Park.

To honor its contributions, Young proclaimed that the amenity, completed in the spring and open during September with relaxex COVID-19 restrictions, would be officially named the “Iredell County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #10 Splash Pad.”

“This investment made possible an amenity that provides physical activity for children, brings families together, and allows for all-around positive experiences within our community,“ said Young. “Thank you for understanding and believing in our vision and for furthering the development of our town’s park.”

Young also thanked the FOP for its many years of providing volunteers, facility support, and donations to police officers’ supplies, training, and scholarships. The group has also donated equipment to the TPD and provided refreshments at the Back the Blue 5K.

The FOP also honors Troutman’s fallen officer, William John Pettit Sr., at its memorial ceremony each year, “never forgetting his life and service to this town and county.”

Wyatt thanked the town for the recognition, saying that the collaboration between the Iredell County FOP #10, established in 1972, was natural with its nearby location. Former TPD Chief J.C. Walker, who served the town in the 1970s, forged the relationship with the group during his tenure that continues to this day.

“It’s the little things that happen on these fields and the children — to get them out of the house and onto the fields — you never know what memories happen at this age that in 30 or 40 years that they they are able to look at.”

“We thank Troutman for that relationship and are just glad that we can be a part of this community and make memories for those in the future.”

EMERGENCY NURSE WEEK OCTOBER 11-17

Young also presented an Emergency Nurse Week proclamation to representative Amanda Coble, an ER nurse from Mooresville, who accepted it on behalf of Iredell Memorial Hospital, Davis Regional Medical Center, and Lake Norman Regional Medical Center.

Young noted that approximately 167,000 emergency room nurses across the nation provide their expertise in caring for patients ranging in age from birth to geriatric.

They use their highly developed critical thinking skills and training to recognize and treat life-threatening illnesses on the spot, saving patients’ lives on a daily basis. Their dedication and bravery has been especially evident throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coble said this recognition would be an encouragement to these special nurses as they perform their duties each day. She will present a copy of the proclamation to each hospital’s emergency room nursing staff.

ACCIDENT REPORTS

In the comments section of the meeting, council member Sally Williams brought up a concern that Iredell-Statesville Schools had to pay for a copy of an accident report, which was picked up in person at Town Hall.

After researching, she discovered that other municipalities do not charge other county governmental entities for this in-person service, though getting an accident report online through an outside provider does incur a charge.

Staff said the policy to charge $3 for anyone picking up a hard copy of a report has existed for at least a decade. After some discussion, council member Paul Bryant made a motion to waive the charge to other county governmental agencies, which passed unanimously.

PLANNING DIRECTOR SEARCH

Town Manager Bryan Gruesbeck is accepting applications for the vacant planning director position through October 19. He is asking the advisory committee, which includes Bryant and Williams, to submit essential traits and qualities they would like to see in the new planning director to aid in the interview process.

He also commended interim planning director Jonathan Wells for his work while the town is in the hiring process.

OTHER UPDATES

Council member George Harris commended the work on the ESC Park ballfields. He noted the community’s excitement in seeing this project come to fruition, which will provide much needed space for children’s athletics.

Mayor Young commended Parks and Recreation Director Emily Watson and her assistant Paxton Hicks for the installation of lights, benches, and planters as part of the town’s beautification project on Wagner Street.

Gruesbeck reported that he was meeting with Mayfield Construction the next day to finalize plans to begin the 2020 Street Improvements Project.

The town manager also said the design and construction contracts for the 2018 Collection System Rehabilitation Project in Mill Village were approved by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and that the Local Government Commission is sending a promissory note to get the project underway.

The original completion date was June 18 of next year, but delays may affect the project.

Gruesbeck told the council that the Streamwood pump rebuild will begin next week. He also reported that water pressure problems at the Barium Seasons development had improved until this week.

Public Works staff, EnergyUnited, and Town Engineer Benjie Thomas are working to trace and isolate the source of intermittent water pressure issues along Old Mountain Road which are affecting the subdivision.

They plan to rebuild altitude valves at the elevated water tanks to see if this upgrade alleviates the issues.

AGREEMENT APPROVALS

Through its unanimous consent agenda vote, the council approved two agreements:

♦ The Centralina Council of Governments was contracted to provide training for the Board of Adjustment between May and September which was delayed because of COVID-19 restrictions and Planning Director George Berger’s departure.

The council approved CCOG’s contract extension through June 30 at no extra cost to the town.

♦ The council also approved an agreement between the town and Nest Communities LLC that describes how water and sewer will be extended to serve the Calvin Creek development.

The developer will design and construct a 3,000 linear foot gravity sewer line from Streamwood Road to the north side of Autumn Leaf Road and extend 2,500 feet of water main along Autumn Leaf.

The overall cost of the project was originally estimated to be $1.1 million, but lowered costs in recent bids appear to be between $500,000 and $600,000.

The town will reimburse the developer for project costs through the use of credits that the developer can apply toward town water and sewer availability fees.

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