Letter to the editor: County sentenced Cooleemee to a slow death

Published 11:47 am Thursday, January 5, 2023

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To the editor:

In the year 2016, a disagreement had formed over law enforcement coverage between the Davie County Sheriff’s Office and the Town of Bermuda Run. The town wanted extra coverage but was not willing to pay for the extra covereage.

About this time, the elected powers for Davie County government decided to change the way taxes are distributed and removed some tax funds going to the three municipalities in the county (forcing Bermuda Run to pay, but also the other two towns, Mocksville and Cooleemee). This was not very popular and hurt the towns financially. After all, Mocksville and Cooleemee were paying for their own police.

I spoke the night of the vote at the Davie County Board of Commissioners meeting, asking the board to reconsider and also warning that this would devastate the town of Cooleemee due to the finances. Three commissioners – Ferguson, Poindexter and Renegar – voted yes together (as always) under the direction of acting county manager, Mike Ruffin.

Mocksville and Bermuda Run had the funds to make up for the lost revenue. Cooleemee did not. Struggling since the mill closed in 1969, the town was able to survive. This tax re-calculation has removed approximately one-third of the town of Cooleemee’s budget each year going forward, which is unsustainable.

Our elected officials are to serve fairly and equally to all citizens. Mr. Ferguson was not re-elected. It is time to find candidates to fill the other two seats who will represent all corners of Davie County.

There are no police departments left in the county. Mocksville Police Department closed due to self-inflicted internal problems. Cooleemee Police Department is now closed because of the decision/vote in 2016. So, the town board of Cooleemee had no choice – either close the police department or turn off street lights.

The three Davie County commissioners and county manager were warned of the consequences and the citizens of Cooleemee were sentenced to a slow death.

Bobby West

Retired Cooleemee Police Chief