Bailey gets an extension on sewer study grant

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BAILEY — Town officials moved forward Monday to complete a study that may help it move toward its goal of lifting a growth-halting sewer service moratorium after being granted an extension for state funds it previously was in jeopardy of losing.

Bailey commissioners approved an amendment to the $150,000 asset inventory assessment grant to conduct a thorough study on its wastewater system, officially awarding Rocky Mount-based engineering and surveying firm Mack Gay Associates, P.A. the contract after Raleigh-based contractor Envirolink failed to meet a two-year deadline from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.

Mike Tolson, vice president of Mack Gay Associates, previously said it would take anywhere from 15 to 24 months to complete this type of project depending on the amount of deliverables it contains.

The town board also heard a presentation from John Anthony of Anthony & Tabb, the Wilson-based accounting firm conducting its audit. Anthony said the town has done a good job in the last fiscal year, noting a $150,000 increase in unrestricted cash over the previous year, a $22,000 increase in restricted cash, a $111,000 surplus to the general fund and a reduction of $45,000 in debt.

Anthony also introduced his son, Charlie, who has been with the firm for six years and worked on the majority of the audit, saying that the father-son duo will work together to complete next year’s audit.

Mayor Thomas Richards announced a few changes to the town board’s public comment policy.

Residents who wish to speak may add their names to a signup sheet up to 15 minutes prior to the start of the meeting and will have no more than three minutes to speak at the designated time.

“These meetings, I’ve kind of let them get out of control. It’s my own fault,” Richards said. “Last month the meeting kind of dragged out because there were a lot of questions. I understand that everybody’s got questions, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.”

During Richards’ remarks, he referenced a Facebook post about turning the dilapidated Bailey Hardware building into an open-air pavilion with picnic tables and umbrellas that garnered an unprecedented amount of attention.

“I think it’ll be a better thing for Main Street. I don’t know for sure, but we’re going to look into it,” Richards said. “If you had a food truck brought in, a small band, if you have a gnat festival or a sweet potato festival, it would provide a good place for it.”

Following a closed session, the board approved a motion to purchase the hardware store building from Wayne Kent for $12,676.

The board also approved a motion to increase Officer Tim Garland’s pay to $14 per hour and to purchase two level-three bulletproof vests for an estimated $2,000, with the N.C. League of Municipalities covering a portion of the cost.