Pittsboro commissioners name historic park, examine sewer system in late-July meeting

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Photo by Ari Sen/Our Chatham

  • The meeting kicked off at 7:04 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance, which was led by a group of Girl Scouts from Troop 1006. The girls were later honored by the Board for their “skip the straw” campaign, which encourages local residents to stop using drinking straws or bring their own reusable straws. 
  • Town Manager Bryan Gruesbeck then announced to the board that the water treatment facility had won the North Carolina Area-Wide Optimization Award for the fifth consecutive year, and that the plant was exceeding its turbidity goals. 
  • Gruesbeck also announced plans to replace a 2-inch water line with a 12-inch water line for the downtown roundabout. Commissioner Michael Fiocco said the project “will vastly improve our distribution system.” 
  • Mayor Cindy Perry then addressed the fallen trees near Powell Place off of Highway 64, calling it an “absolute slaughter.” Perry called for the Board to examine a freestanding tree protection order.
  • The Board then heard a presentation from Town Engineer Elizabeth Goodson and Bryan Odom, vice president and director of Water Resources for WK Dickson about the town’s sewer lines and manholes. The two presented a map of the various assets in the town’s sewer system along with some data. Here are some numbers:
    • 756 manholes
    • 32 miles of sewer collection system 
    • 187 manholes examined for storm water ingress 
    • $2.50/ft to install cameras to monitor the sewer
  • Odom said he worked with town staff to develop a “criticality score” which ranks the likelihood and consequence of a sewer failure, which the town then mapped using GIS software. Several areas of the map show red dots representing high scores. Odom said the map was used to develop a cost-planning tool so the town could budget for repair and replacement. 
  • The Board then selected Fiocco as their Triangle Area Rural Planning Organization representative. If chosen, Fiocco would represent not only Pittsboro, but also Siler City and Goldston. 
  • Fiocco will face opposition from Siler City Commissioner Larry Cheek, the previous occupant of the job, who wishes to continue serving in the position. Perry said in the meeting they were electing a representative because it was “Pittsboro’s turn.”
  • After a presentation by Grimsley Hobbs, the Board voted unanimously to name the town park on Rectory Street “Lewis Freeman Historic Park,” after an early 19th century African-American merchant who inhabited the land after he bought his freedom from slavery. 
  • The Board then unanimously passed a resolution calling for immigration reform and decrying the Trump administration’s policy of family separation. Commissioner John Bonitz called the measure “remarkably well-written.” 
  • After proposing a few amendments, the Board passed a resolution calling for the town to limit its uses of herbicides like RoundUp, which has been the subject of investigations and lawsuits over its safety. Despite the original agenda item declaring it a “Herbicide Ban” the resolution would not prevent the sale or use of any particular herbicides. The Board also agreed to pursue an integrated pest-management program. 
  • Before ending the meeting before 9 p.m., the Board had a little Christmas in July in the form of a proposal by Mark Davis. Commissioner Jay Farrell said Davis designed a “Santa house” for the town and was willing to provide the jolly fat man to sit inside it on the weekends leading to the holiday. 

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