jeffersonpost.com

Lansing aldermen seeking solutions to traffic and meter tampering

Linda BurchetteAssistant Editorlburchette@jeffersonpost.com

July 11, 2012

As Lansing aldermen study the issue of speeding vehicles through the downtown area, they are considering asking the North Carolina Department of Transportation for ideas.


Although the board voted against removing the town’s only traffic light at the intersection of NC 194N and South Big Horse Creek Road because of community opposition, they may seek a three-way stop at the intersection of NC 194N and D Street.


“The only effective way to slow people down is to make them stop,” said Alderman Mark Goss at Monday’s meeting. “After the tragic accident we had recently, something’s going to have to be done about traffic and it’s got to be done sooner than later.”


Goss suggested the three-way stop at NC 194N and D Street.


Board members said vehicles been clocked far above the 20 mph speed limit through town, and some ignore the traffic light, and while a state trooper came after the fatal accident in June and handed out about 15 tickets, it doesn’t seem to have made any difference.


Goss said he would call Dean Ledbetter with the NCDOT about the potential of a three-way stop as well as lowering the speed limit coming into town on NC 194N to 35 where the new Smithey’s Cafe is opening. Board members said they feel the current 45 mph could be dangerous for motorists entering and exiting the cafe parking lot because of the blind curve just before the building.


Smithey’s is expected to open their new cafe in Lansing on July 19. Owners Penny and Chuck Barker attended Monday’s board meeting to ask permission to place temporary signs along the roadway announcing the opening.


Penny Barker said hours will start out at 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. until? Saturdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays (seasonal), closed Mondays. There will be about 15 seats under a shelter with picnic tables to be added later.


In other business, the board voted to publish the names of delinquent property taxpayers in the newspaper the first week of August.


Town Clerk Bernice Prestwood said the town is owed $9,052 in back taxes.


Mayor George Rembert said he would speak to the town’s attorney about a procedure for placing a lien on a delinquent taxpayer’s property, an option Gloss said the county uses to collect taxes before property can be transferred or borrowed against.


Rembert will also be discussing with the attorney the town’s options for dealing with residents who do not pay their water bills and those who turn their meters back on after they’ve been turned off for non-payment as well as who is responsible for the bill when a renter leaves without paying.


Prestwood contacted Jefferson and West Jefferson to ask their procedures for dealing with meter tampering, and said West Jefferson levies a fine and Jefferson calls in the town police. She said Lansing has about five residents every month on the water cutoff list and about three of them turn it back on themselves or even hook onto an unsuspecting neighbor’s water line.


“People have got to understand it’s tampering,” said Alderman Goss. “Obviously it’s been ignored so long people got it in their minds to do whatever they want to do.”


The board decided to consider levying a fine of $100 and calling the Ashe County Sheriff’s Department to make a visit to those who tamper with their water meters.