Questions arose during the August 13 Hillsville Town Council Meeting concerning the former Hillsville Rescue Squad building on Main Street. David Young, Pipers Gap District councilman, asked why he had noticed lights on in the buildings if there is no longer a rescue squad, if former Town Manager Larry South had a key to the building, and who owned the equipment stored in the building.
Greg Yonce, Laurel Fork District Councilman, responded that “South has been in the building, not as a town official, but as a former captain of the rescue squad” in order to keep check on the premises. The rescue squad has been disbanded six years, but “there had been an ongoing effort to get the rescue squad up and running again, added Yonce.”
As to the equipment, Yonce said it “belonged to the town. Until we are able to dispose of it, we need a place to store it.”
Young then asked why the equipment couldn’t be sold.
Wesley Yonce, who was attending the meeting, was then asked about the equipment since he was a former member of the squad. Yonce, who is also a town policeman, said “Everything is outdated. The squad sold the ambulances, but the equipment is useless.”
Although Billy Walls Sr., Sulphur Springs District councilman, suggested a public hearing be held to determine what should be done with the building, any action was tabled for the time being.
Another issue that was tabled dealt with a generator for the Hillsville Police Department. Town Engineer Steve Bowman presented estimates on a 20KW generator with 16 circuit transfer switch that would cost the town $7,700 and on a 60KW generator with 400A transfer switch that would cost $29,850. When asked, Bowman said the difference is that the 20KW generator is just for “necessities,” while the larger generator will provide some power “for the entire police department.”
Ed Terry, Pine Creek District councilman, noted that the council “didn’t have a line item in the budget” for the generator, so additional financing might be needed. After a brief discussion, it was decided that Bowman would check into any grants that were available to towns for such a project. Hillsville Police Chief Jason Hawks added he would check to see if any law enforcement grants were available.
In another matter, the council postponed a decision over the water/sewer bill for the Hillsville Pentecostal Holiness Church. An apparent leak had left the church with a $7,743.85 bill for August. The council discussed setting up a “deferred payment plan” and waiving any penalty or late charge, but decided to wait until the church received its October bill, which will also be much higher than normal. The church was advised to pay the amount of its normal bill at this time.
Following a closed session, the council announced it will re-advertise the positions of town manager and police chief. During regular session, Mayor Greg Crowder said council had decided that “a board” would be used in the interview processes. He added that filling the town manager position would receive priority.