Clean-up assistance requested

Published 9:41 am Wednesday, November 25, 2015

WINDSOR – A couple of Bertie County towns want some beautification help from the county.

Kelford and Roxobel sent correspondence to the county’s Inspections director and Nuisance Abatement officer over a code enforcement agreement regarding litter, solid waste, and abandoned motor vehicles that are eyesores in their communities.

Kelford made their request in early October while Roxobel made theirs when the County Commissioners heard the town’s request from Planning and Inspections Director Traci White, and Nuisance Abatement Officer Barry Anderson; appearing at the Oct. 26 Commissioner’s meeting at the Perdue Wellness Center in Lewiston.

White told the Board the towns are seeking an interlocal agreement on enforcement of the county’s litter and solid waste ordinance codes.

“I told them they would have to adopt the ordinances with the same regulations as the county in the town and they have both indicated in writing that they have done that,” White said.

White further said the towns must vote on adoption of the ordinances then report back for approval from the Commissioners. She said the process involves advertising a public hearing, and a vote before the ordinance goes into effect. She requested clarity on the rules through the County Attorney.

Commissioner John Trent said both towns informed him they will adopt the county ordinances as written.

Commission Chairman Ronald “Ron” Wesson stated that he did not think the idea was a bad notion, but that he wanted to be sure that the county could handle these requests if more were received in the future. White said she felt they could since the two towns were relatively small, but if larger townships made the request, more staff would be needed.

The towns also would have to request Anderson’s assistance in enforcing the ordinances, beginning with an inspection by the Nuisance Abatement official.

Wesson said the Commissioners would wait for the recommendation from the County Attorney and then reconsider the request before taking action.

White said the town of Powellsville had adopted the ordinances some time ago, but there was no interlocal agreement made; though they did get calls on the junkyard-abandoned vehicle ordinance.

Commissioner Ernestine Byrd Bazemore asked Anderson if this new change would adversely impact his current schedule.

“I work throughout the county anyway,” Anderson stated. “This is all part of a process; a long process, but part of a process.”

He added he was confident that he could handle these new enforcements as these two towns together are a relatively small section of the county.

Commissioner Stewart White complained of trash on Sand Hill Road near his residence where garbage bags had just been thrown beside the roadway.

“This stuff’s gotta stop,” White said. “They’re throwing TV’s out and tires, too. Stop trashing Bertie County; we need to keep it green-and-clean.”

The Commissioners concurred that they would like to receive more information on this initiative, but that they would also like to receive feedback from the County Attorney regarding the proposed inter local agreement before making a final decision.

As a follow-up, there was an update at the Nov. 16 Commissioner’s meeting in Windsor where the Commissioners heard from assistant County Attorney Jonathan Huddleston who highlighted the technical aspects of cooperating with the municipalities, supporting their requests, and assuring the ordinances are enforced at the municipal and county level.

“We need to see to if the towns are following the steps needed in adopting the ordinances before the official pull-up agreement is executed between the county and the towns,” Huddleston said. “We must make sure this is followed before the county sends its inspector or representative in to the towns to enforce the adopted ordinance that there is no question of a potential challenge.”

Wesson said a memorandum of understanding would be adopted between the county and the towns as to what constitutes code violations

Commissioner John Trent said the towns had voted to accept the county’s agreement and that despite the recent elections of new a new Town Council in Roxobel, the new council is in agreement with the memorandum of understanding.