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Attempt to resolve St. Charles water authority appointment fails

WALTER LITTRELL • Mar 6, 2007 at 11:18 AM

ST. CHARLES - For the fifth month in a row, the St. Charles Town Council has voted against a recommendation by the Lee County Board of Supervisors to fill a position on the St. Charles Water and Sewer Authority.

Membership on the authority's board of directors consists of two county appointees, two town appointees, and one by joint agreement of the two entities.

When the joint position became vacant, the town nominated Councilman Mike Sprinkle with an aim to have a member of the Town Council on the authority. However, at the Board of Supervisors October meeting, Supervisor Mark Carter - who represents the district in which St. Charles lies - recommended that Earl Parsons serve on the authority. The St. Charles Town Council has rejected that recommendation at each monthly meeting since, although supervisors have continued to press for the appointment of Parsons.

At Tuesday's Town Council meeting, Sprinkle broached the issue, saying the Board of Supervisors has sent the town a letter recommending Parsons again and asked whether the council was going to discuss the issue further.

Mayor Larry Holman responded that the issue had been on the table for the past few months and remarked, "it's been the same way every time."

Holman then offered his opinion that nothing would change if it was taken up again. At this point Sprinkle then made a motion to put Parsons on the authority, and Rhonda Webb offered a second. When the vote was taken, they were the only two to vote in favor. Councilwoman Susie Bryant abstained, creating a tie and prompting Holman to cast his vote against the appointment.

"I have nothing against the gentleman, but we had a member and they wouldn't accept him with no explanation," Holman said.

Councilwoman Teresa Webb then added that if supervisors didn't have to give a reason for rejecting a town recommendation, then the town shouldn't have to offer a reason for rejecting their nomination.

In other matters, Rhonda Webb asked the council to be looking for alternative places town residents could use for hosting parties and community events. She noted that the community center board no longer rents out the center for events, and that started a short discussion on what purpose the center serves. During the discussion no one was certain who serves on the board of directors, or even when the board meets, and most on the council expressed their opinion that it was not right that the building is no longer available for community use.

It was agreed to see if a former bank building or the UMWA hall could be used for hosting public events and private parties.

Holman also advised the Town Council that Powell Mountain Coal Co. may be about to open a new mine entrance inside the corporation limits, just across the railroad going toward Bonnie Blue. Sprinkle said he will contact Town Attorney Greg Edwards to see if a mine can be located in town limits and if so, what regulations apply.

Council members also approved payment of $174,222 in invoices for demolition of the old sewage treatment facility and construction of the north St. Charles sewer extension project.

Responding to questions from the audience, Holman said the council has decided it does not need a town manager at the present time, and if it ever determines one is needed, the position will be advertised.

Mike Pennington, representing the St. Charles Church of God, was given permission to add an 8-foot porch to a new building under construction by Town Hall. The porch will face the parking lot in front of Town Hall. Pennington also told council members the church is planning to develop a dedication park near the youth center, and the park will be available for public use. He added that the church is selling bricks for a dedication wall at $50 each for two lines, and a third line can be added to the brick for an additional $2. Bricks will be sold through Aug. 1. More information on the project and how to purchase bricks can be found at the church's Web site, located at www.stcharlescog.com. Forms to order bricks will also be available at local businesses.

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