Board rewards citizens’ ingenuity

Published 9:23 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

GASTON — An unprecedented move by the Northampton County Board of Commissioners will allow residents of a private drive recieve better access to emergency services.

At their recent meeting, the board voted to provide funding to help with the relocation of a utility pole Moore Rook Lane. The pole needs to be relocated by Dominion Power in order for the road to be paved and maintained by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT).

The relocation of the utility pole comes with a hefty price tag of $7,386.25. County Manager Wayne Jenkins said the majority of that amount has been raised by the citizens of the lane, all but approximately $900.

Jenkins recommended to the commissioners approve to fund that gap of approximately $900 not to exceed $1,000 to Dominion Power for the relocation of the pole.

For years, citizens of Moore Rook Lane have come to the commissioners about the problems that plague the private drive they live on.

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. Moore Rook Lane did not exist until September 30, 1975.

The board has heard many concerns of those residing on the road, from trash pick-up to emergency services, the latter of which was brought before the commissioners in July.

At that meeting, Moore Rook Lane resident Carl Hawkins came before the board and expressed concerns about emergency services being able to serve citizens.

“This pole is holding up a project we so desperately need,” he said at the July meeting. “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.”

The board told Hawkins they could not fund the $7,000-plus project with public funds.

At their most recent meeting, the commissioners agreed funding the rest of the project would enhance the delivering of public emergency services to the residents on the private drive.

Commissioner Virginia Spruill commended the citizens for raising nearly $7,000 for the project.

Commission Vice Chair Fannie Greene motioned to approve the funding for rest of the project, not to exceed $1,000, to Dominion Power. The motion was seconded by Spruill. The motion passed without objection.

The funding will come from the county’s operating budget contingency.