RONDA — During public comments of the Ronda Board of Commissioners Monday, Teri Varela, wife of Mayor Victor Varela, questioned the appropriateness of Commissioner Manual Wood’s decisions on water issues.
After reading from the town regulations stating that, “all residents and business locations within the town of Ronda must be connected to water and sewer,” Teri Varela asked for an explanation.
“There’s a commissioner on this board that either this doesn’t pertain to or I would like an answer to,” said Varela. “I’m referring to Commissioner Wood. So does anyone have an answer to me why I’m paying my water bill and sewer and a commissioner that is also making water decisions is not?”
Seemingly undisturbed by the questioning, Wood’s response was concise as well as enigmatic. “I’ve answered that several times in the past,” said Wood, adding, “If you’ve been to the meetings, you’d know my answers, so I’m not going to make no comment on that.”
Varela asked for other commissioners to comment.
Commissioner Sandra Simmons obliged, stating, “I feel like that every resident here commissioner or not commissioner needs to be [connected]. I don’t think we are exempt from anything.”
“It’s nothing personal against anyone,” said Simmons, agreeing with Varela that mandatory hook up was local law in Ronda. “I have to pay mine.”
“Can anybody address why this is a law and somebody doesn’t have to follow it?” asked Varela.
Although the board remained silent, town precedence on this matter has been set as pointed out by write-in candidate for commissioner, Kay Luffman.
“My sister was actually taken to court because she didn’t hook up,” said Luffman. “She had to get service and pay all of her back pay.”
“So what about back payments?” asked Varela. “Why am I paying and somebody else’s not? It doesn’t make sense to me.”
“And it don’t look good for the town,” said Simmons, who remembered that Wood had agreed in a previous meeting to have the meter hooked up.
Upon being reminded that there was a three-minute time limit, Mayor Varela explained the policy to his wife who chose to not remain for the otherwise short meeting.
Mayor Varela also offered to look up Wood’s previous statement to the board in past minutes.
At that time, Simmons was the person who brought up the concern with Wood, questioning the appropriateness of discussing the topic in a public forum.
At that time, Wood agreed to allow water and sewer hook up to be completed on his property as per the local law, however this has yet to be completed with no further explanation from any party.
This is not expected to be remedied any time soon as the town is experiencing a depletion of labor with two positions now available. Applications are available at townofronda.org.
The position of part-time maintenance worker is available for a maximum of 20 hours per week and is subject to occasional after-hours emergency call backs. Because this position assists with water meter reading, mowing, weed eating, repairing water leaks, and other maintenance tasks, experience with lawn care, water line maintenance, and building maintenance tasks is desirable.
Also available is a position for a part-time office assistant. The person chosen for this position will be expected to have at least a high school diploma and the ability to communicate effectively as well as good customer service skills in order to assist town residents with questions about town services, receiving water and sewer payments from customers, and other general office tasks such as answering the phone.
Until this position is filled, Town Hall hours have altered and are subject to change without notice. Anticipated hours mean the office will be closed for lunch from 1 to 2 p.m. and closed for the day at 4 p.m. with a drop box by the back steps for payments to be delivered at other times.
Call 336-835-2061 to confirm hours.
The next meeting of the Ronda Board of Commissioners will be the Nov. 9 work session.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.