Bermuda Run celebrates Davie County All-America award

Published 12:10 am Thursday, June 22, 2023

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BERMUDA RUN — The Bermuda Run Town Council started its meeting last Tuesday night by celebrating Davie County’s national accomplishment of being named an All-America County by the National Civic League.

Town Manager Andrew Meadwell and council member Melinda Szeliga, who represented Bermuda Run over the previous weekend in Denver, Colo., headed a presentation that culminated with the mayor and council being presented with the plaque and enjoying a team picture.

“It was truly amazing to see this,” Meadwell said of the honor, where 20 cities and counties were chosen as finalists before the final 10 were announced as winners.

This year’s theme for the award was “Creating Thriving Communities through Youth Engagement,” where 12 student representatives from Davie — with the support of their program leaders, county and municipal representatives and community leaders — gave a 10-minute presentation about the impact of these programs on the youth of Davie County, followed by a Q&A from the judges.

“Andrew and I were so fortunate to be a part of the delegation to go to Denver with 12 students who had come through Davie County schools,” Szeliga said. “We were in that room after all the hours and weeks and months of work that went into getting there, and they announced that Davie County was a winner. If you could have seen those children and those young adults and felt their excitement and their energy, it was an incredible experience.”

Meadwell added, “This presentation was led by these students. There were parameters given by the adults, but they came up with the script, the idea, and it was awe-inspiring. This glimpse of what our future leaders are going to be gives you faith that we’re going to be OK.”

Mayor Rick Cross noted that Davie County was one of three winners from North Carolina — along with Charlotte and Fayetteville — among the final 10 selected, going up the likes of huge cities such as New York, Los Angeles and others.
The other winners were Dallas, Texas; Decatur, Georgia; Gonzales, California; Hampton, Virginia; Mesa, Arizona; Mount Pleasant, South Carolina; and San Antonio, Texas.

“With Bermuda Run, we are part of this Davie County community,” Cross said. “We are so thankful that this was done in a way where we could participate, that it wasn’t a single entity — that it was all of this together.”

During the public comments portion of the meeting, Lennie Ring offered this perspective: “I can tell you from the Ring household, from our neighbors in Kinderton Village, many of us watched the presentation that the young people presented in Denver, and we were amazed, we were in awe of their maturity, we were blessed to feel that these are the future leaders of our community.”

The June council meeting was also a time to approve the budget for the town’s General Fund, which was balanced at $2,321,850, along with the Gate Operations Fund (balanced at $693,000) and the Utilities Fund (balanced at $791,700). Also, the tax rate is maintained at $0.15 per $100 valuation.

Council member Mike Brannon brought out some tidbits to highlight some of the good work done by Meadwell, who was doing his first budget for Bermuda Run after taking over as town manager last July, and finance director Dora Robertson.

“In the actual ordinance document, there’s a line item that says debt service and that line item has a value of zero,” Brannon said. “What that means is that this town has no long-term debt. There are probably not many towns or counties that can say that. That’s significant in a budget.

“The other thing I would draw attention to is that while there is money coming from our fund balance as part of our budget, that money is not part of our core operational expense but instead is intended to be part of the seed money in new projects that connect the dots back to our Comprehensive Plan — and turning that into actionable work.”

While also choosing not to assign the American Rescue Fund Act funding to any given set of expenses but to instead literally add those funds to the town’s savings account in preparation for those projects, Brannon said in his mind that was an example of “a healthy, balanced budget.”

Also in last Thursday night’s meeting, the council received an update on the Blue Heron Trail from Meadwell, who said, “We are setting the hard date for the opening. The time has come. There are a few other issues the contractor has to resolve.”

Meadwell said he is targeting next week and possibly the date of the council agenda meeting on Tuesday.

“And that would include removing the gate system from the tunnel?” Cross asked.

“(Are) we going to let the folks from Kinderton come through?” Meadwell said with a laugh.

In other highlights from the meeting, the council:
• Heard a presentation from Cameron Webb, Davie County Fire Marshal/Emergency Management Director, who gave an overview of the functions, services and responsibilities of those areas in Davie County. That includes inspections (inspection of commercial buildings and new construction, maintaining those inspections, fireworks and ABC permits), investigations (all construction fires, including residential homes and commercial buildings, and any and all suspicious fires, including arson), and public education (educating the public, including children, young adults and senior citizens, fire safety tips and smoke alarms).
• Approved Zoning Text Amendment TA-2023-02 to alter the application of the 10/70 provision on sites within the town. The text amendment removes the eligibility limitation to areas identified on the Future Land Use Map as Village Residential, Mixed-Use Center, Crossroads Commercial and Enterprise Center.
• Approved a resolution directing the town clerk to investigate a petition for contiguous annexation for the property owners at 139 Hall Walker Lane and 233 Yadkin River Road. The Planning Board earlier had voted unanimously in support of the petition.
• Approved the town manager’s recommendation of amending the 2022-2023 General Fund Budget to accept $1,800 from the Davie County Community Foundation as revenue and expend the same amount for expenses related to the 2022 Christmas in the Town of Bermuda Run and recent Food Truck Friday events.
• Heard from Cathie Ring, a resident who lives on Kilbourne Drive in Kinderton Village, who expressed her concerns involving safety in the growing community.