Hutchens sides with Lowe and Norton on ‘scoop’ sign

Last updated: April 16. 2014 12:49PM - 1440 Views
By - agonzalez@civitasmedia.com



From left, Mayor Lestine Hutchens casts her first vote as mayor. Hutchens was elected in 2007, but never required to vote. The Elkin Board of Commissioners found themselves in a tie on Monday night over an animal signage program selection. Hutchens sided with Commissioner Bob Norton's choice sign.
From left, Mayor Lestine Hutchens casts her first vote as mayor. Hutchens was elected in 2007, but never required to vote. The Elkin Board of Commissioners found themselves in a tie on Monday night over an animal signage program selection. Hutchens sided with Commissioner Bob Norton's choice sign.
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Elkin’s mayor was needed to cast a tie-breaking vote on Monday night. The Elkin commissioners were at an impasse over selection of a which “poop n’ scoop” sign would best remind owners of pets within town limits of their responsibilities.


Procedural rules prevent any vote by Elkin’s mayor unless the board of commissioners is in a tie scenario. Since Elkin has five commissioners who are almost always in attendance, the likelihood of a mayor casting a vote are slim to none.


However, Commissioner Skip Whitman was on an excused absence for the town meeting. During the meeting, commissioners weighed in on the animal control signage selection.


Commissioners Terry Kennedy and Cicely McCulloch selected one type of sign. Commissioners J.L. Lowe Jr. and Bob Norton selected an alternative option.


When realizing the commission was at an impasse on which sign would be used, a startled Hutchens paused for a moment and then expressed that she has never been in a tie-breaking position.


“Wow, I have to say that this is my first time in all these years breaking a tie,” said Hutchens. “I think the sign I like best is the sign selected by Lowe and Norton.”


Hutchens has served on the town commission since 2002. Hutchens was elected mayor in 2007. Since her tenure, she had not cast a single vote as mayor. Hutchens indicated that her predecessor had to break a tie in prior years.


Nuisance and zoning penalties


Commissioners held a public hearing relating to a text amendment for nuisance and zoning repeat offenders. The amendment results in the following changes:


For repeat offenders of the nuisance ordinance for high grass, according to town officials, prior to Monday night there was no penalty for repeat offenders. The fine will now be is $100 and the offender only has three days to comply, a change from previously being allotted 10 days to comply.


For repeat offenders of the nuisance ordinance for illegal signs, according to town officials, violators had 10 days to comply and then would be charged a $100 fine. The fine is now increased to $300 and the fine goes with a repeat offense letter. There is no grace period of three days.


Trails update


Elkin Valley Trails Association officials said that the footbridge construction above the Shoe Dam Factory is expected to commence within days, weather depending.


Matching grant for Elkin Airport needs


Commissioners voted to accept an Airport Blocks Grant of more than $166,000 by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The grant requires Elkin to match 10 percent of the funding for an amount of $16,667. The funding will install a new lighting system in the airport, surveys, and assist with the clearing certain obstructions. The motion passed unanimously.


Is Elkin going RV-friendly?


Commissioners are considering allowing RV parking in designated locations in downtown Elkin. One site is on Standard Street on a property owned by the town that once had a cash wash operation. The lot would allow for three RVs.


A second option was discussed allowing for RVs to park along side the Smith Phillips building. Four potential spots would be developed. Commissioners debated allowing RVs to park in designated locations for special events versus annually.


RV parking overnight would be limited to 72 hours and would be free of charge. Commissioners tabled the topic opting to have downtown’s Main Street Advisory Board weigh in on the matter.


Commissioners are in recess until their Budget Workshop session to be held May 1 at 5:30 p.m. in Town Hall.


Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.

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