Burleson named chairman of county commissioners

Gene McIntyre voted in as vice chair

ALBEMARLE — The Stanly County Commissioners had a busy Monday night as they held their annual organizational meeting. The commissioners voted Commissioner Joseph Burleson as their new chairman.

“I think Joseph will do a fantastic job for the county as chairman; being vice chair this past year has prepared him for the job,” said Commissioner Ashley Morgan. “I think he will lead our board in a positive direction.”

Commissioner Gene McIntyre was voted 4-3 to serve as vice chair for this upcoming year.

A request for the rezoning of a lot on Highway 24-27 near Dunlap Road from residential to general highway business came from a local businessman, Daniel Hildreth. Hildreth owns Sound DNA and wants to use the land to build a 5,000-square-foot building to accommodate his expanding business.

Three neighbors came to voice their concerns about the rezoning, with one of their biggest concerns being the noise potential.

“Although part of Daniel’s business is installing radio systems and speakers into vehicles and boats, that is not all, and the hours of operation will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” said Karmen Smith, Hildreth’s real estate broker. “There will be no more disturbance than the fire department across the street.”

The commissioners voted 6-1 to grant the rezoning on about half of the requested area. Commissioner Bill Lawhon was the lone vote against the request.

The commission unanimously approved public official bonds for Tax Administrator Clinton Swaringen, Finance Officer Toby Hinson, Register of Deeds Suzanne Lowder and Sheriff George Burris. A public official bond is a type of surety bond that provides taxpayers with assurance when elected officials are in positions that involve financial transactions with taxpayer dollars.

Appointments to various board and committees were also approved by the commission. Appointments were made to the Economic Development Commission, Health & Human Services Board, Library Board of Trustees, Airport Authority, Fire District Commission, Senior Services Board, Rural Planning Organization, Stanly Water and Sewer Authority, and Centralina Council of Governments.

The commissioners also recognized Mary Troutman and Keith Nash, who are both retiring in January from the Department of Social Services.

“I personally would like to thank Keith for helping me with making some decisions about my health insurance, as well as Mary for helping my wife with her mother,” said Lawhon.

Debbie Bennett, who serves as public health educator, presented the State of the County Health Report. She focused on the top three issues within Stanly county: Substance abuse, heart disease and suicide.

Stanly County has created three drug drop boxes where citizens can take unused or outdated medications for safe disposal. From Jan. 1 through Nov. 30 of this year more than 320 pounds of medications have been dropped off and destroyed. Between 2012 and 2016 there have been 43 unintentional overdose deaths in Stanly County.

The commissioners also established meeting dates for 2018 which follow their tradition of meeting on the first and third Monday of each month. The board will meet three times on Tuesday due to New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Labor Day.

The commission will next meet on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 7 p.m.