Board can’t help

Published 10:35 am Tuesday, July 21, 2009

JACKSON—One very expensive utility pole stands in the way of a much needed road project on a private drive in Gaston.

At their recent meeting, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners heard from Carl E. Hawkins about the need for Moore Rook Lane to be paved and maintained by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in order for residents to receive trash pick up and faster ambulance service.

Hawkins, a resident of Moore Rook Lane off NC 48 located near Gaston, appeared before the board seeking assistance from the commissioners in relocating a utility pole owned by Dominion North Carolina Power.

According to a letter from Dominion Power to Hawkins, the work to relocate the pole would cost $7,386.25.

“This pole is holding up a project we so desperately need,” he said. “The trash company has already refused to pick up trash down the path anymore. This is a hardship on the elderly and I fear ambulance service will be needed next.”

Hawkins recalled a recent ambulance call on the road in which it took the vehicle 15 minutes to get down the path.

In April 2005, the commissioners submitted a request to DOT to get the road accepted into the state maintenance system. DOT has a stipulation that if a road existed before 1975 and is not included on the state system, DOT will make the necessary upgrades for the road to be accepted into the system.

However, if the road was created after 1975, the road has to be brought up to DOT standards before it is accepted into the state system.

According to County Manager Wayne Jenkins, Moore Rook Lane did not exist until September 30, 1975.

“This board has to be careful using public funds,” cautioned Jenkins.

Commission Chair Robert Carter told Hawkins he appreciated his comments, but the board could not assist with the more than $7,000 bill as the board cannot use public funds for private matters.

Carter exhibited his displeasure in the high price for the pole relocation.

“I’m very disappointed that Dominion Power will not work with citizens down there,” he said. “At least give a reduction in price.”