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Section A: General News


Roads a rough topic in China Grove


Roads a rough topic in China Grove
Adriana “Penny” Hieronymus is now the China Grove city secretary..


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Wilson County News
July 17, 2013
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CHINA GROVE -- The ongoing discussion related to devising a streets-maintenance plan for China Grove has become tense, as some residents are accusing elected officials of attempting to direct city resources toward paving roads closest to where they live. This occurred during the July 11 meeting of the China Grove City Council.

Alderman John McRae reported that the current plan is to address Triple Bend, Triple Meadow, and two nearby cul de sacs. Resident Alice Pollok said it seemed like McRae wanted to address the roads in his own subdivision, instead of having the city perform repairs to streets like Triple Tree, Tree Bend, and Tierra Bonita, which an earlier report indicated were in far worse condition.

Another resident asked if there was going to be a master plan for the overall project. Mayor Gene Ripps said a master plan cannot occur until a civil engineer reviews the project.

Former Mayor Dennis Dunk said following the meeting that part of the anger expressed by residents during the meeting came from campaign promises McRae allegedly made, which related to repaving all of the city’s streets. Dunk said this was deceptive, because the city’s annual streets-maintenance budget is just $200,000.

Dunk had addressed the council during the “public speakers” portion of the meeting, referencing a June 9 article in the Southside Reporter, in which Alderman Mike Trainor was quoted as saying a recent spate of employee resignations was because “We were top-heavy. The writing was on the wall for many of these ex-employees who left our city. What we have here is just a group trying to collect unemployment benefits.”

Dunk urged the council to show more respect to people, especially city staff members who each gave many years of service to China Grove.

Also relative to city staff, the council unanimously approved hiring City Secretary Adriana “Penny” Hieronymus and Municipal Court Administrator Jennifer Diaz. These hires were effective immediately and interim City Secretary Yolanda Benitez administered oaths of office to both new employees.

Hieronymus formerly worked for the city of Converse, while Diaz previously worked in Windcrest.

In other business, the council accepted the resignation of former Alderman Larry Keller, which was tendered at the June 6 council meeting.

In attendance: Mayor Gene Ripps and aldermen Cathy Ripps, John McRae, Doug Pruski, and Mike Trainor; Attorney Frank Garza, interim City Secretary Yolanda Benitez, City Secretary Adriana “Penny” Hieronymus, Municipal Court Administrator Jennifer Diaz, Police Chief Larry Davis, and Fire Chief Mike Winfield.

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