Cooleemee Mayor: P.D. an asset to county

Published 8:44 am Thursday, March 10, 2016

Three people told county commissioners on Monday evening that a proposal to change the way sales taxes are distributed is wrong.

The proposal would take hundreds of thousands of dollars each away from Mocksville, Cooleemee and Bermuda Run – and add some $1.4 million to the county coffers.

Commissioners, by law, can only make that change in April. None of the commissioners have said in a meeting how they may vote in April.

“To Cooleemee, it’s more than money,” said Cooleemee Mayor Steve Corriher. “It’s three men’s livelihoods, and security, potentially.”

The town, he has said, would have to do away with its police department if the method of distributing the taxes changes.

He gave an example.

A 911 call came in last year about a woman down from a dog attack, and another being attacked. It was on Clark Road, just outside of Cooleemee’s limits.

There was no sheriff’s deputy nearby, but a Cooleemee officer responded within minutes and shot the dog, which had already bitten another woman and had her pinned her in a car. He most likely saved that woman’s life, Corriher said.

He isn’t blaming the sheriff’s department. They can’t be everywhere all the time. He understands that.

“Although we’re a small police department … we’re an asset to Davie County,” he said, adding that town officers had helped on emergency calls surrounding the town limits when  a deputy was further away.

He also talked about RiverPark, the town’s nature park on the Rowan County side of the South Yadkin River.

Town officers can patrol the park, Davie sheriff’s officers can’t. Rowan officers can, but only go when called.

“If that control is not there, it could go back to how it was 10 to 15 years ago,” Corriher said.

Cooleemee resident Tronia Gibson said the county should give specific reasons to where the money would be spent before making a change. That way, residents could give their opinions as to whether the method should be changed.

“Cooleemee has no way of creating revenues for a $150,000 loss,” Gibson said. “We have no luxuries. If we have to give up our police department … the safety of widows … our school children, are all threatened.

“Don’t make it harder on us than it already is,” Gibson said.

Carol Quinn of Bermuda Run has lived in that community for 42 years, and she loves Davie County. But the sales tax distribution method shouldn’t be changed.

“It’s not the right thing to do,” Quinn said.

She took aim at county commissioner John Ferguson, a former mayor of Bermuda Run. “If John were still mayor, I don’t think he would support this change. It’s another example of bigger government taking advantage of the situation.”

Commissioners are expected to vote on the issue April 4.