Commissioners meet during power grid crisis

The Moore County Board of Commissioners tabled a Vass project, approved a safety software install, approved airport ordinances, and commented on the affairs of the day at its regular meeting Dec. 5.

The meeting was held without electricity due to an attack on the county’s electrical grid Dec. 3 when 45,000 lost power.

Public Works Director Randy Gould presented the data on the Vass project to update the sewer system. A developer planning to develop a 14-acre site said he would invest in the sewer update and paid an engineer $20,000 for design plans. However, the developer is not prepared to pay for the updates at present.

The updates include sewer line extensions and a larger pump station.

Vice Chair Frank Quis told the new board members the Vass project began in 2018 and said the presentation was an example of long-term plans.

“Here we are in the eleventh hour, and the developer has pulled out,” Quis said to his new colleagues about trying to help Vass grow.

Newly elected commissioner Kurt Cook asked if the old pipes (1970s) could handle the force of a larger pump station.

“Yes,” Gould said about researching that information beforehand.

Newly elected District I representative Jim Von Canon said he was concerned about trusting the developer in the future and asked if the town would allow him to develop in that area again.

After a brief discussion, it was said, and largely agreed, the developer may choose to back out, but there may be another developer who would take the responsibility.

Vass has applied for grants and is trying to meet requirements for the USDA Rural Development grant.

The Board decided to table the action to “buy time” for the developer to speak with Vass officials to find a solution.

The Board approved the airport’s budget ordinances and resolutions for a taxi lane extension and hangar site. The projects are no cost to the county, and funds are already in place.

Airport Director Ron Maness said a $3.1 million grant was insufficient, and the airport had to cover $75,335 for the projects.

In new business, the Board approved a software upgrade to record activity at county facilities, including the agriculture building, the courthouse, safety center, and the recreation areas. The property management software cost $39,955.90 from Johnson Controls.

During the public comments, Moore Family Farms member Nick LaSala presented each commissioner with a bound copy of the county’s 2013 Land Use Plan.

LaSala said the Board must have the plans to enforce zoning. To the bound copies, he added N.C. Article 5, 160D-501 to remind the Board of the law.

At the Nov. 15 regular meeting, the Board voted to stall staff recommended changes to the Land Use Plan. Citizens pleaded for a steering committee to preserve the quality of life in Moore County. Read the full story here.

As the meeting ended, commissioners reflected on the day and the state of emergency from the attack of the county’s power grid.

Cook said he was working for the county’s progress.

Newly elected Vice Chair Frank Quis said the teamwork was outstanding during the last couple of days concerning the sabotage. He said he believed it was an isolated and despicable case, which highlighted the teamwork and made him proud.

Von Canon said the team knocked down targets and have citizens in mind, and it will not work out well for the individual(s) who attacked the electrical grid system.

“If you hear of anyone in need, contact us and let us know,” Von Canon said.

Newly elected John Ritter in District III said the last 48 hours were difficult, and he appreciated the team. He said it was a shame that individuals with such hate would try to share their darkness.

“I am so pleased to see our team work so hard and effectively … it is a great light of hope in our hearts,” Ritter said.

Newly elected Chair and reelected District II representative Nick Picerno and Quis thanked the clerk, Laura Williams, and the staff for their service and said they were very proud.

Feature photo: Nick LaSala presents a bound copy of the Moore County 2013 Land Use Plans to each commissioner Dec. 5, 2022, at their regular meeting.

~Article and photo by Sandhills Sentinel Journalist Stephanie M. Sellers. Contact her at [email protected].

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