Granite Quarry's Ponds retained as mayor

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 5, 2011

By Mark Wineka
GRANITE QUARRY — In a minor break with tradition, the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen voted 3-2 Monday to make Mary S. Ponds mayor again, even though she wasn’t the leading vote-getter Nov. 8.
For Eloise Peeler and Brad Kluttz, the two aldermen who made the difference in the mayoral vote, it came down to staying with what has worked.
“I think we should leave things the way they are,” Peeler said in nominating Ponds.
Peeler, Kluttz and Ponds voted for Ponds as mayor, while Bill Feather and Jim LaFevers voted against her. LaFevers had nominated Feather for the position.
“I think everything is going well,” Kluttz said. “There’s really no sense in changing things.”
Ponds has been Granite Quarry mayor for the past 12 years, but the Nov. 8 election was the first time she hadn’t led the voting when her seat was up. She came in second to Feather, the incumbent mayor pro tem who expressed interest in becoming the town’s mayor.
Feather acknowledged disappointment Monday night that it didn’t happen.
Both Ponds and Feather said they weren’t sure how the board would vote going into Monday’s meeting. “We didn’t have a clue,” Ponds said.
“It’s always the board’s decision,” Feather added.
Ponds and Feather noted it was an uncomfortable situation to be placed in, sitting side-by-side as they do and with the board members forced to take sides.
The town board’s staggered terms don’t give as much weight to a leading vote-getter’s becoming mayor. Every two years, there are always two or three seats not up for election. (Board members are elected to four-year terms.)
So even though Feather led the ticket for three seats elected Nov. 8, it came with Peeler and Kluttz on the sidelines.
For comparison’s sake, Salisbury elects all five seats on its City Council every two years, and the newly elected council members elect a mayor and mayor pro tem among themselves — something they will do at today’s meeting.
The election’s leading vote-getter in Salisbury usually becomes mayor, though council members are not obligated to do so.
Ponds and Feather stressed that the split vote Monday night would not cause a rift on the board.
“The two of us have always worked well together,” Ponds said.
Rowan County Clerk of Court Jeff Barger swore in Ponds, Feather and LaFevers to four-year terms on the board before the vote occurred among the five members for a mayor and mayor pro tem.
Feather once again was elected mayor pro tem by his colleagues. The vote was 4-1, with his being the lone vote against it.
Barger then gave the oaths of mayor and mayor pro tem to Ponds and Feather, respectively.
As a formality, the new board also appointed Dan Peters as town manager, Becky Shives as town clerk and Chip Short as town attorney.
LaFevers replaces Jake Fisher as an aldermen.
In other business Monday, Town Engineer Jeff Moody reported that the Nov. 25 deadline for completion of the Brookwood Drive culvert has passed with work still left to complete this week, weather permitting.
The contractor has finished curbing, gutter and driveway turnouts, with a stone base going down in preparation for paving.
The paving could begin as soon as today, if weather permits, Moody said. The contractor will still have some seeding, mulching and cleaning up to perform after the paving, Moody added.
Feather said it was obvious last month that a Nov. 25 deadline was “aggressive” on the contractor’s part. “I would like to know a date that is a reasonable date,” Feather said.
“I felt that was not a reasonable date myself,” Moody said.
“Then, let’s get one,” Feather demanded.
Aldermen gave Peters and Ponds the authority to seek at least three bids for repairs and resurfacing to a 90-foot section of road at the intersection of South Main and Sycamore streets. The work is expected to cost from $17,000 to $18,000.
The board said Peters and Ponds could approve the work without its coming back to the full board. “We don’t want to delay it any longer,” LaFevers said.
In another matter, Daniel Matangira of Matangira Recycling said that among the communities for which he picks up recycled items, Granite Quarry has recently been generating the most tonnage, even though it has fewer homes recycling than in other areas.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.
About 120 Granite Quarry property owners are recycling now, and the amount they are recycling has increased from 1,800 pounds a month to 2.6 tons.
“We’re excited, because we live and breathe recycling,” Matangira said.
Ponds agreed the news was encouraging.