05/19/05 — Fremont board grants zoning variance

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Fremont board grants zoning variance

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on May 19, 2005 1:45 PM

FREMONT -- The Fremont town board granted a zoning variance, approved a legal contract for financing a new fire truck, selected a new town auditor and a town engineer, approved garbage pickup for some out-of-town residents and adopted a budget amendment at its meeting Tuesday.

The board also discussed harvesting timber from property at the old sewage lagoon and buying seasonal flags but took no action.

The board followed the recommendation of the Planning Board to grant a zoning variance that would allow Ernest Pitts to put two mobile homes on his property on Pitts Road. Pitts has rented the homes since the 1990s, before the town zoning ordinance was passed, but town officials said he now wants to sell the homes.

If the town board had not granted the variance, the board's adviser, Neil Mallory said, Pitts would have had to build a street to the homes. They are now served by a joint driveway.

Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie said the bids for the fire truck will open at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The legal services agreement was approved so the town could get financing.

McDuffie has asked the board to consider making the town fire district tax the same as the rural tax. But he said Fire Chief Donnie Wilkerson asked that the rural tax remain at 6 cents. The town rate is 7.5 cents. If the town tax is decreased in the next fiscal year, McDuffie said, the town would lose $11,000.

The town board accepted the low bid from the Petway, Mills and Pearson accounting firm to serve as its auditor. McDuffie said the town would save $2,800. The firm also audits for Black Creek and Lucama. James Pittman of Goldsboro had been the town's auditor until he died, and his business was taken over by another firm.

The board also approved The Wooten Co. of Greenville and Raleigh as its engineer. McDuffie called the company's proposal fair and reasonable.

During the meeting, the board also examined rules for garbage pickup.

Residents within a mile of the town limits, in the extraterritorial jurisdiction, may receive garbage pickup if they meet certain requirements. McDuffie said they must live on state-maintained roads and there must be five residents who want the service on each mile of road. They also must recycle to the town's standards. The collection will start immediately, according to the motion.

The aldermen also passed a budget amendment for sewer construction.

The board did not take action on a request by Joe O'Neal of Fremont to harvest the timber on town land at the sewer lagoon. He estimated that there might $10,000 worth of hardwoods and pines. He suggested that the town ask for sealed bids for the job.

"Make sure this is what you want to do," O'Neal said. "You will have people complaining about trees being cut."

O'Neal also said there was about a half-acre of timber on the cemetery on N.C. 222, but he added that no logger would cut an amount that small.

Later, O'Neal asked the board to consider tax breaks as a way to keep small business owners from leaving.

Jean Thorne asked the board to consider spending about $100 each for seasonal flags to spruce up the town. She noted that the daffodil flags were flown in the spring. The board took no action on the request.

The board also agreed to block one side of the first block of East Main Street from noon to 4:30 p.m. July 9 for a motorcycle charity ride.

Sam Pierce, a former alderman, complained that large chunks of concrete and holes in yards were left after sidewalks were repaired on Pender and Wayne streets.