N.C. Dept. Seeks Creative Ways to Fund Aerial

MOUNT AIRY, N.C. -- Mount Airy’s commissioners gave unanimous approval Thursday night for buying a $759,000 aerial fire truck, but not without some heated words for Northern Hospital of Surry County from one official. Commissioner Jon Cawley...


“The city can use this for many, many items,” the fire chief said.

Campbell said Poindexter was to be commended for identifying the H-GAC plan, which is not universally known about although it is used by other localities in North Carolina including Winston-Salem and Durham.

The Truck

The aerial truck being acquired is a 2009 demonstrator model with less than 20,000 miles.

“We felt like the truck was … the best value for the city,” Poindexter said during a presentation Thursday night. When first built, the vehicle cost $1 million.

The 100-foot platform truck was brought here and thoroughly tested in August as part of a search process that involved weighing seven different proposals from aerial truck manufacturers. It has never been owned by any other fire department, with its mileage accumulated through travel to various fire truck expositions.

Poindexter assured the commissioners that the vehicle comes with an adequate warranty package.

In response to a question from Mayor Deborah Cochran, the fire chief said not having an operable ladder truck available in an emergency had kept him awake at night.

Repaving Approved

Another unanimous vote Thursday night by the commissioners drew applause: a decision to repave streets in the Hollyview Forest community which were disturbed by the 2007 annexation of that area.

“We hope to actually start next week,” city Public Services Director Jeff Boyles said.

Residents of Hollyview Forest had complained about delays in getting their neighborhood back in order after disruptions caused by the annexation. A frequently cited issue was streets torn up through the installation of city sewer lines and being left in rough condition.

There were fears that those streets might not be repaved until 2012, especially with a change in the schedule for disbursement of state Powell Bill funds to municipalities. Powell Bill money, from gasoline taxes, is used by Mount Airy for improvements of city-maintained streets including repaving and sidewalk work.

However, savings have been realized in existing funds from that source which allowed more money being available for the repaving than was anticipated. This will mean the work can progress soon, rather than after Oct. 1 when the next state allocation was expected.

“We’re ready to roll,” Boyles said.

The board voted to award the $261,080 paving contract to Carl Rose & Sons of Elkin, the lowest of four bidders for the job.

Boyles said that cost is less than what the city expected to pay. “We came in quite a bit under,” the public services official said. “It was a good time to bid projects out,” he added of a general slowdown in the construction industry.

The job will include placing about 3,175 tons of asphalt on Pineview Drive, Williamson Avenue, Valleydale Drive, Brook Avenue, Glenn Court, Apollo Drive and Apollo Court.

One Pineview Drive resident especially elated by Thursday night’s action was Shirley Brinkley, who had approached city officials about the need for repaving several times.

“I’d just like to thank all the commissioners and Jeff Boyles,” said Brinkley, who is a commissioner candidate in this year’s municipal election. “We’ve been at it a few times,” she acknowledged, but added that officials responded well to the issue.

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