Up & Coming Weekly

July 07, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 14 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM 14 UCW JULY 8-14, 2020 EARL VAUGHAN JR., Senior Staff Writer. COMMENTS? EarlUCWS- ports@gmail.com. 910-364-6638. Hope Mills News & Views NEWS A handful of law enforcement officials around the state of North Carolina have announced they have no plans to enforce the latest requirement of Gov. Roy Cooper that people wear masks in public the prevent the spread of COVID-19. Hope Mills Police Chief Joel Acciardo isn't among those who will ask his officers to ignore the provision. At the same time, he said the emphasis won't be heavy-handed, and based on how the community has reacted to previous restrictions put in place to help curb the spread of the illness, he expects the citizens of Hope Mills to be supportive. "The goal is not to go out and write people tick- ets,'' Acciardo said. "The goal is to educate people and bring them into compliance. So far we haven't had any issues in that area.'' One of the most popular locations in town for regular large gatherings of people is Hope Mills Lake. While the initial job of getting people to observe the restrictions while at the lake falls on lake attendants, Acciardo said whenever the police have had to be called in so far, intervention and education have usually resolved the situa- tion without complication. If someone does refuse to abide by the requirement to wear a mask in public, Acciardo said a charge of criminal trespass could be assessed if the person refuses to wear a mask and won't leave the premises. "Dialogue goes a long way,'' Acciardo said. As long as people are on their own property and not having a gathering in excess of 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors, they are free to not wear a mask. Acciardo said if the police do encounter some- one without a mask, the police department cur- rently isn't able to provide people with them. "Our supplies are so limited,'' he said. "Most of the time we barely have enough to cover our staff. "These facemasks are not meant to be used for- ever. There is a pretty quick turnover. Our supplies are pretty finite.'' As long as the officers are inside their cars, Acciardo said they will not be required to wear a mask, only needing to put them on when they have to interact with the public. As of this writing, Acciardo said the police department was still developing the policy and when masks would have to be worn inside police headquarters. He strongly suggested that everyone familiarize themselves with the latest requirements set down by Gov. Cooper in his most recent official order regarding safety measures required in public. Go to www.nc.gov/covid-19/covid-19-executive- orders and click on the link to the June 24 order for complete information. If anyone has questions about the enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions in Hope Mills, Acciardo can be reached at 910-425-4103. Chief Acciardo expects few problems with mask requirement by EARL VAUGHAN JR. While the Board of Commissioners and the staff at Town Hall do most of the heavy lifting of govern- ment for the town of Hope Mills, there's another important group of volunteers that provide a lot of input to the decisions that are made about the town's future. That group is the people who serve on a variety of official town committees that delve a little deeper than the full board does into various town issues. Jane Starling is the Town Clerk, and her job includes getting applications from people who are interested in serving on the various committees. In addition to taking a closer look at issues before the town, Starling said the committees also provide valuable exposure to town citizens on how govern - ment actually works. She said it's often the begin- ning of a citizen becoming more active while at the same time getting an education. Currently, the town has five committees and one commission. The committees include Parks and Recreation, Veterans Affairs, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Historic Preservation and Mayor's Youth Leadership. The lone commission is Appearance. Nearly all the committees regularly meet at least once a month, unless the meeting date for a certain month falls on a major holiday. The committees are constructed around the elec - tion cycle. The January after an election is held in November, the committees get new members who are each added for a two-year term. The major exception to the rules is the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Its members serve a three-year term, and it only meets when a specific zoning issue is brought before it that requires action. If someone steps down from one of the commit - tees between election cycles, they can be replaced by someone with an application Starling keeps on file. All applications for committee positions are held for one year. One of the reasons most of the Hope Mills bodies are committees and not commissions is the rules for filling the slots on a commission are more stringent. Starling said commissions require members who have specific experience or professional training connected with the specific mission of the commis - sion. "It's really difficult in this small of a munici- pality to find people to fill those positions,'' she said. The Historic Preservation Commission was recently changed to a committee, and there has been talk of doing the same with the Appearance Commission. Most of the committees are made up of seven members. One exception is the Veterans Affairs Committee, which has two additional members who represent local veterans organizations. Each committee also has two liaison members, one from town staff and one from the Board of Commissioners. To find a complete list of the town committees and a description of their duties, go to townofhope - mills.com, click on the Government tab and look for the list of committees. Most of the committees have resumed regular meetings in the community room at the Parks and Recreation Department building off Rockfish Road, where they can safely meet while observing social distancing. Normally, the public is allowed to attend com - mittee meetings, but under the current COVID-19 restrictions, only committee members are permitted at the meetings. If anyone is interested in applying for a commit - tee position for the 2021 election cycle or when an opening comes up, they can get a form from the town website, pick one up at Town Hall or request to have one mailed to them. The number at Town Hall is 910-424-4555. Committees play key role in governing Hope Mills by EARL VAUGHAN JR. A list of the town's committees can be found on the website. Chief Joel Acciardo

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