New era of Davie County leadership begins

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MOCKSVILLE, N.C. — Davie County entered a new era of leadership Monday with the swearing in of new commissioners Dan Barrett and John Ferguson, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

They replace Robert Wisecarver, who was defeated in the primary, and Carl Humphrey, who chose not to seek re-election. The new board unanimously chose Terry Renegar as its new chairman — Wisecarver’s old position — and Richard Poindexter as its vice chairman, with Mark Jones, the former vice chairman, casting the lone opposing vote.

Before stepping down, Wisecarver told a standing-room-only crowd in the commissioners chambers that serving them had been a great honor.

“I hope we can keep Davie County moving forward,” Wisecarver said. “This has been something I’ll never forget.”

Jones called Humphrey a “man of great honor and integrity.”

The departure of Wisecarver and Humphrey from the board could signal a dramatic shift in the board’s relationship with Davie County Schools.

Though Wisecarver and Humphrey were in favor of holding a bond referendum for a new high school, they voted to delay it by six months against the wishes of the Davie County Board of Education; backed a state bill that has been languishing for more than a year that would give county commissioners control over school property; and were behind an effort to pull $2.2 million from the school system’s reserve fund in the 2012-13 budget, a move that was narrowly defeated.

When voters in May overwhelmingly approved the selling of $54.5 million in bonds for the construction of a new high school, they also voted in Barrett and Ferguson, who backed the school.

Shortly after taking his oath of office, Barrett made reference to the county’s bitter high school debate.

“When I was running for office, I said I would do the best I could to serve all the citizens of Davie County,” said Barrett, who is in his second stint on the board. “We’ve gone through a brutal division here, and I’ll do what I can to heal the division in the county. I will try to live up to that here. So let’s work together on that.”

The new board will be challenged immediately. A decision on how to proceed with sewage issues in eastern Davie County is expected to be made in January.

An engineering firm hired by the county is exploring a third option to handle that area’s sewage needs, one that would presumably satisfy residents of the Underpass Road area of Advance. The county currently has two options — build a wastewater treatment plant on Underpass Road or a gravity sewer line in that same area that would parallel Carter’s Creek to the Yadkin River.

Both options have been met with virulent opposition.

Mike Ruffin, the interim county manager, said last month that a third alternative is in the works. He told residents Monday that a report detailing that alternative may be ready next week. He said he plans to share that report with commissioners and residents, then make a recommendation.

“I will be recommending to the commissioner one more meeting, possibly going back to the Advance Fire Department, sometime in January to let you tell us what you think,” Ruffin said. “By that time, you will know what my recommendation is, and we look forward to hearing you express your concerns and having your questions answered.”

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