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By David Leone
WAKE FOREST — Should the town have more say in how the fire department works? That seemed to be Commissioner Margaret Stinnet’s contention Tuesday during a mention of the town’s budget draft.
“How many of the board of directors do we appoint?” she asked of the nonprofit’s board of directors.
“None,” replied Town Manager Mark Williams. “They’re elected by the citizens. They do it in their annual meeting.”
“Some of Wake Forest Fire Department members are appointed by the county,” Stinnett said. “If we’re providing 80 percent of their budget, then I feel like we need to appoint 80 percent of their board of directors.”
Stanley Denton, the fire department board’s president, is appointed by Wake County. The other nine members are elected.
Though Denton is the county’s representative, he lives inside town limits. That’s up to the county, James Holding, fire department board secretary, said when reached by phone Wednesday.
One additional member, Dean Tryon, does live outside town limits. Another former member, Bob Bridges, also lived outside town limits. But neither man was appointed by the county. Bridges died recently and has been replaced with former town commissioner Frank Drake, Holding said.
As for the town’s perceived lack of contributing members, there’s a reason for that, Holding added.
“The town years ago did used to have two voting members,” he said.
“Mark (Williams) said … they had some liability,” so that was changed, he added.
The fire department has come under some scrutiny in the past months due to its plans to build a new station on Jenkins Road.
The station would serve the county as much as the town, and a lack of equitable funding from the county has been debated. To pay to staff the new station, town taxes would have to be raised 2 cents over the next two years.
Commissioners will discuss the issue as part of their budget work session June 10.
Walkers win out
Kids are being favored over cars in the updated plan for Stadium Drive, which will add or improve sidewalks, a roundabout and other improvements along its entire length.
The plans are 60-percent complete and won’t be voted on until the final draft is ready.
Using feedback from neighborhood residents, consultants suggested eliminating on-street parking along the blocks of North Avenue between North Main Street and Wingate Street to make room for a sidewalk on the other side of the street for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Wake Forest High School students to use.
Most of the people using the parking spaces are seminary students and Ryan Hutchinson, seminary vice-president, was amenable to the plan, said Jason Pace, consultant with Kimley Horn and Associates.
Another option they considered was to leave parking in and cut into the steep bank by the seminary to add the sidewalk, but that idea was shot down by the State Historic Preservation Office because it would interfere too much with the historic feel of the campus, Pace said.
The roundabout is planned for the intersection of Stadium and Wingate. Other changes include a center turn lane and markings for cyclists.
“I think it looks great,” Mayor Vivian Jones said about the updated plan.
The work may begin as early as 2015, if voters approve bonds this fall and the town receives Locally Administered Projects Program grant funds that would pay for 80 percent of the estimated $1.7 million cost.
To follow progress of the project, see tiny.cc/stadiumwalks.
If changes to the town’s parking ordinance go through as designated, it’ll soon be illegal to park your car on the sidewalk or curb.
Commissioners agreed to a few new words in their codebook Tuesday following a complaint made by the Historic Preservation Commission about a North Main Street resident who routinely parks a yellow sports car on the curb.
“A lot of people don’t know where their property ends,” said Town Manager Mark Williams. “They think they own right up to the street.”
Tuesday’s meeting was a work session. Votes can only be made during a regularly scheduled meeting.