The Town Board meeting Oct. 9 turned into a profitable evening as aldermen accepted $175,000 in grants toward the construction of a pavilion at the Town Park for the farmers market and to cover most of the salary for a resource police officer at Troutman Middle School for the next three years.
The board also unanimously adopted a late addition to the agenda urging residents to approve the school bond referendum before Iredell County voters in November.
“We are grateful to our staff for pursuing these grants, which will be of great benefit to our residents,” Mayor Elbert Richardson said prior to the votes accepting the two funds.
The grants are:
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• $50,000 for town pavilion. The town accepted the grant from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Commission to go toward the construction of a new pavilion at the Troutman ESC Park, which will serve as a farmers market when in-season. “This brings us another step closer to pavilion construction at our town ESC Park,” said Town Manager Ann Bailie. Moving the farmers market from the depot on Main Street to the park will alleviate safety and traffic concerns, and we also expect an increase in vendors due to increased space and easy access.” The grant expires at the end of 2016.
The funds emerge from a November 1998 agreement signed by the attorney generals of 46 states with four of the nation’s largest cigarette manufacturers. This settlement commits these tobacco manufacturers to pay approximately $206 billion to the 46 states over the first 25 years of the agreement. North Carolina’s share is estimated to be approximately $4.6 billion. The Tobacco Commission funds programs to assist current and former tobacco farmers, as well as individuals displaced from tobacco-related employment. The Farmers Market fits within these parameters.
• School resource officer. The U.S. Justice Department will provide the town with a three-year grant worth $125,000 to cover a portion of the salary for a school resource officer at Troutman Middle School. The $51,137 local match will be paid jointly by the Iredell Statesville-Schools System and the town.
The resolution urging a yes vote for the bond issue was suggested by Alderman Paul Henkel after Richardson asked the board if they approved of him wearing a “Vote Yes” button at the meeting. “Do you want us to pass a resolution?” Henkel asked. When the mayor agreed, the board complied unanimously. The referendum covers a total of $163.5 million which, if approved, would cover capital improvements in the county’s two public school systems and Mitchell Community College.