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News Town board presents memorial to family of Alderman Jerry Evans

In honor of the late Jerry Evans, Mayor Joe Collins presented a framed memorial to his wife and children at the Monday’s meeting of the Town Board. Photo by Davin EldridgeFranklin Board of Aldermen paid their respects to former alderman Jerry Evans Monday by presenting a framed memorial to his wife and family.

Alderman Evans passed in February at the age of 55. The memorial plaque recognized Evan’s years of service as an alderman — from 1995-2003, and then again from 2005-2011. Evans served as Vice Mayor of Franklin from 2001-2003.

Evan’s wife, Glenda, and children, Todd, Jeremy, Christopher and Christy Evans were all present to accept the memorial.

“Jerry billed about 13 years with the town, but it was a true labor of love,” said Franklin Mayor Joe Collins, as he presented the memorial to the Evans family. “Some people like to fish, some people like to hunt — Jerry liked to be an alderman. It was really something that he enjoyed doing it, and he was good at it,” he said.

Billy Mashburn, who was a close friend and served with Evans the longest — more than a decade — also presented the memorial.

The memorial was adorned with the flag that flew at half-staff above Town Hall in the days following Evans’ passing, along with the plaque displaying his name that sat atop his seat at the aldermen’s table in Town Hall. A portrait of Town Hall showing the flag at half-staff was also set upon the memorial.

Christie Evans, an officer with the Franklin Police Department, thanked the board for the gift, on behalf of her family.

Sidewalks to be renovated by Eastern Carolina contractor

Following the memorial presentation, aldermen narrowly voted to approve a bid to contractors vying for the job of renovating downtown Franklin sidewalks in a 3-2 vote.

The project contract was awarded to D.O.T. Construction, based out of Beaufort, N.C., after some contention between aldermen on whether to give the contract to a local company, RVD Contracting.

According to Town Manager Sam Greenwood, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has provided $72,000 to assist the town in the project. However the allotment is contingent upon the town’s choice of a contractor that meets state requirements.

“I prefer to use local contractors where at all possible,” said Greenwood. “The only reason that might be overridden in my mind is the fact that we have to adhere to DOT standards, because we are using their money,” he said.

The town considered three of the bids: RVD Contracting of Franklin, who bid $198,351.60; Site Development of Sylva, who bid $198,706.00; and D.O.T. Construction of Beaufort; who bid $182,449.76.

The problem with hiring RVD for the streetscaping was that they may not have met state standards, and therefore the $72,000 allotment could have been withheld. Moreover, if the state rejected the contract, the bidding process would have to be restarted. Earlier this year, aldermen voted to reject previous bids and start the process anew after previous bids were disqualified by the NCDOT for similar reasons.

Aldermen Joyce Handley and Sissy Patillo moved to award the contract to RVD, with the stipulation that it would be awarded to D.O.T. if the state rejected the bid. Greenwood warned that such a decision could restart the process a third time. Handley and Patillo made the motion in the interest of hiring locally.

Patillo rationalized the decision to employ RVD because the other bidders were from outside Western North Carolina. “If something were to happen, they are going to have to come all the way back up here to check on it,” she said.

“One of my concerns is I don’t know anything about them at all,” said Handley. “I do know the people involved in the RVD, and I’ve certainly seen all of the quality work that they’ve done.”

Alderman Billy Mashburn, opposed the motion, opting to award D.O.T. the contract, so the town could utilize state funds. “I think we ought to use that money if it’s there,” he said.

“This is not the Independent Republic of Franklin,” said Alderman Bob Scott, cautioning that a policy of consistently hiring locally could, at times, deprive the town of monetary benefits. I would have liked to go with the local bidder. But if we would have done that and the state didn’t approve it, we would have lost the state’s lion’s share of the cost.”

Mashburn, Scott and Vice Mayor Verlin Curtis voted to award D.O.T. the sidewalk contract pending NCDOT approval. The motion passed.

Franklin to be ‘painted purple’ for cancer awareness in May

The Town of Franklin proclaimed the month of May to be “Paint the Town Purple Month” in support of American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Franklin.

On behalf of the local Relay chapter, Liz McCall and Anna Taylor asked the town to also close Iotla Street from 3:30 to 9 p.m. on May 7 for “Paint the Town Purple Day,” in which they will hold a benefit for Relay for Life. Aldermen unanimously approved the closure. This year’s Relay For Life will be held at Franklin High School on Friday, June 3.

Street closures

Downtown street closures were considered at the meeting, for both the Airing of the Quilts and Franklin Folk Festival events.

“The Airing of the Quilts is a new event this year, to help with the Macon County Quilt Trail,” said Main Street Program Director Linda Schlott. “It’s a countywide event, and we’re asking everyone in the county to hang out their quilts on their porch, fence posts, bushes, anywhere. We are having an event downtown from 10 to 4 on that Saturday.” Quilts will be hung on Franklin Fire and Rescue’s firetruck.

Aldermen also voted unanimously to approve to close Phillips, Iotla and Main Streets for Franklin Folk Festival on July 16, for the duration of its parade at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Other business

• The town voted to continue two matters on the agenda, to April 18, so that they could better explore the adoption of minimum housing and flood plain ordinances. A public hearing for a proposed minimum housing code will be conducted at the May 2 meeting. The town is now looking at two drafts of the code; one providing that owner-occupied dwellings be exempt from the ordinance, while the other would hold all dwellings to the regulations.

• Aldermen voted unanimously to reappoint Dorothy Crawford to represent the Town of Franklin on the N.C. State Affordable Housing committee, and to appoint Summer Woodard to replace Mike Decker on the Macon County Transit committee.

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