Lee Sharpe, longtime owner and publisher of The Taylorsville Times, received two honors at the April 4th meeting of the Alexander County Board of Commissioners. Sharpe was first presented a “Key to the County,” and was then surprised with the prestigious “Order of the Long Leaf Pine” award, which is an honor granted by the State of North Carolina to individuals who have shown extraordinary service to the state.
Former Sheriff and Representative Ray Warren and Dr. Warren Hollar worked with county staff and community leaders to secure the state award for Sharpe in recognition of his many years of dedicated community service, both as a citizen and as a newspaper publisher. Both awards were also presented in honor of Sharpe’s 80th birthday on April 9 and for the newspaper’s 100th anniversary.
“Thank you so much for this great honor. I am very honored to have had the opportunity to spend almost fourscore years in Alexander County. I am very thankful for my family and for the opportunities that have been afforded to me. Jane [his late wife] and I were very delighted to be able to pursue our vocation and to raise our family here. The pastures are green in Alexander County – the place that I relish as home.”
Chairman Ronnie Reese expressed his sincere appreciation to Sharpe for his servant leadership in Alexander County.
“It is our honor and privilege to recognize you with the ‘Key to the County’ and the ‘Order of the Long Leaf Pine’ award. We appreciate everything you’ve done for Alexander County as you have helped tremendously in so many ways,” said Ronnie Reese, Chairman. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this recognition. We wish you many more years of happiness with your family and at your newspaper.”
Dr. Hollar outlined Sharpe’s many accomplishments during his life and career in the areas of civic clubs, chamber of commerce, recreation, health care, history, and much more.
“Lee Sharpe is one of those special people who understands that community improvement comes by the efforts of people,” Dr. Hollar said. “A few special people show up in our lives who bring about change through empathy, encouragement, and service leadership in our communities. Alexander County is a better place because of our friend, Lee Sharpe.”
Sharpe received a standing ovation and round of applause from the large crowd of supporters who were in attendance at the meeting.
In other business:
• Commissioners approved an agreement with West Consultants PLLC for engineering services for an elevated water tank in Bethlehem. David Moose, Compliance and Procurement Specialist, said the county issued a request for qualifications for engineering services in January. Two submittals were received. Staff determined West Consultants PLLC to be the most qualified firm for the project. The cost for engineering design, construction bidding, and construction administration totals $360,000, which will be state funded.
• Commissioners also approved an agreement with McGill Associates for engineering services for the Bowman Court sewer pump station project. Moose said the county issued a request for qualifications for engineering services in January. Four engineering firms submitted responses. Staff determined McGill Associates P.A. to be the most qualified firm for the project. The cost for engineering design, construction bidding, and construction administration totals $152,000, which will be state funded. The pump station project is estimated to cost $1,554,000 and will be paid with funding from the American Rescue Plan through the State Fiscal Recovery Fund that the NC General Assembly allocated as 100 percent grants.
• Commissioners approved a resolution to partner with Yadkin Valley Telephone Membership Corporation (Zirrus) on a Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grant application. Moose said the GREAT grant program is administered by the NC Department of Information Technology and provides funding to private internet service providers to help expand broadband access into rural areas. GREAT grant applications are scored based on a number of factors. To attain the highest possible score, the company must secure a financial match from a partnership with the local government. If the GREAT grant is awarded, Alexander County’s match would be up to $163,815 appropriated from the county’s American Rescue Plan funding.
• Commissioners approved a four-year agreement between Alexander County and EnergyUnited Water Corporation. County Manager Rick French said the county will sell up to 500,000 gallons of water per day for $1.50 per 1,000 gallons to EnergyUnited to increase capacity in the company’s water system and provide water to more customers
• County Manager French presented a resolution naming April 4-10 as National Public Health Week in Alexander County. Commissioners approved the resolution.
• County Manager French presented nine (9) budget amendments, as well as a project budget ordinance for the Alexander County EDC site development project which utilizes a $500,000 grant from the NC Railroad Company for site preparation and grading in the Alexander Industrial Park.
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners typically meets on the first Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in room #103 at the CVCC Alexander Center for Education. The next meeting is set for Monday, April 18 at 6:00 p.m. Regular meetings are recorded, and can be viewed on the county’s Government Channel on Spectrum channel 192 or on the county’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/alexandercountync. Meeting agendas, minutes, videos, and more are available on the county’s website at https://alexandercountync.gov/commissioners.