Follow the leader

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2005

In spite of the fact that Gates County Commissioners have set a six-month moratorium on development in the county, there are some good things happening.

First of all, I have to tell you that I agree with Mr. John Willey’s statements to the commissioners in the June meeting. He told them that he is now beginning to have faith in their actions. But, he also had a complaint to air.

Mr. Willey reminded the commissioners that he had asked for information from the Planning office and still, there was none forthcoming. He added the fact that the information is owed to the public and he wanted answers for the people.

The information Willey requested should have been provided to him and the commissioners in the April meeting since he first asked in March when discussions of a moratorium on building first arose. He simply wanted to know how many homes have been approved for development prior to the moratorium.

Willey’s request was made in consideration of the fact that more and more students are arriving in the county, students that will take up space in Gates County Schools. The schools are currently at capacity and threatening to overflow the state’s limits. At Buckland Elementary they are already using four mobile classrooms (trailers).

One note here: over at Gatesville Elementary, they have four classrooms that are not even being used. Now I wonder; who did the figuring on that one?

Anyway, back to Mr. Willey’s request… He wants to know how many homes were approved because each one has the potential of bringing new students to the county’s school system.

I don’t know if anyone else agrees with Mr. Willey, but I do. We are certainly owed that information, especially since it is a matter of public record.

I question why has this information not been provided by the powers that be within the past three months? When Mr. Willey first requested the information from County Planner Traci White, she said it was unavailable at that time. Another three months have gone and I do not understand why she cannot come up with those figures for Mr. Willey and the rest of us.

If Mrs. White, as the head of Planning, doesn’t know the answer to information that is generated right there in her office, then I would like to know why. She, like most office employees nowadays, works with computers that store facts and figures. Can she not obtain the information from the computer?

Given that Mrs. White’s job takes her out of the office frequently, we could make allowances for that if she didn’t have a reliable staff to help her out. I say reliable because if they were not dependable and competent to do their jobs, I am sure they would not occupy their desks.

In spite of Mrs. White’s reluctance to provide the information, I am pleased to tell you that because of Mr. Willey’s insistence in the June meeting we should soon get the figures on how many homes were approved for development prior to the moratorium.

County Manager Mark Biberdorf assured the 77-year old gentleman that he would get the figures.

Commissioner Marsha Faulk Langston also deserves thanks on that issue. She advised Biberdorf that he needs to take care of that &uot;right away.&uot;

Langston also deserves appreciation for taking care of another issue the people of Gates brought to her attention. She contacted NCDOT to request an investigation on traffic safety on two county roads, Hazelton and Willeyton. As a result of her initiative, the roadways will be widened four-feet and speed zones signs will be put in place.

The number of accidents on both stretches of pavement is testimony that something has long been needed. I applaud Mrs. Langston for her initiative and concern for the people and I would urge all our commissioners to follow her lead.