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China Grove searching for new police chief

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
CHINA GROVE ó The search is under way for a new police chief.
Town Manager Bill Pless announced Tuesday night applications will be taken until Sept 18.
He told aldermen Ron Niland of Mount Airy-based All American Associates is handling the process.
Niland previously assisted the town with hiring a manager, placing Pless in the job as a interim before getting a contract as manager.
Pless asked aldermen for individual input on the selection.
Brett Bass is serving as interim chief since the firing of Hodge Coffield in May.
In other matters, the board:
– Agreed to close the Municipal Building from noon to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. An answering machine will handle phone calls.
– Approved a partial fix for a culvert on South Bostian Street that collapsed from heavy rains earlier this summer.
Aldermen debated whether to replace one wall of the 5-foot-by-7-foot brick culvert, estimated to be 60 years old, or replace the entire structure with a concrete culvert.
Alderman Allen Welter argued for replacing the entire culvert, saying the partial fix could be money down the drain if more heavy rain comes.
Pless said the $120,000 to replace the culvert would take most of the town’s state Powell bill funds for a year, delaying other projects including sidewalk repairs.
Public Works Director David Ketner said replacement of the east wall of the culvert and repairs on the west side might work. He quickly added, ” if the brick don’t fall out tomorrow.”
The board approved the partial fix with Spinnaker’s low bid price of $66,000.
Welter cast the lone vote against.
“I’ll come and see you when it collapses,” Welter told Mayor Don Bringle.
– Two residents complained about their water bills and the new rates, which took effect July 1.
Donna Moss of Blackwelder Street noted the town charged residents the new rate although the water-sewer sales ran from June 16 to July 15. “Two weeks should have been at the old rate,” she said.
Moss said the town is forcing her to lie to potential buyers of a house next door. She said she was afraid to tell people about the utility rates. “We’re scaring people away with the utility bills.”
Ray Allen of Chapel Street also questioned why his usage increased 1,000 gallons. “I live by myself. I’m a creature of habit. I don’t understand.”
Bringle asked Pless to discuss the water-sewer bills at a later time.

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