WENDELL — On one hand, town commissioners want to be fair. On the other, well, you snooze, you lose.
A two-week extension for applications will be merely a temporary measure as Wendell tries to find ways to fill spots for residents on a handful of citizen advisory boards, which sometimes postpone or cancel meetings because a quorum cannot be met.
At the June 10 town board meeting, commissioners grudgingly extended the deadline to June 24. Mayor Tim Hinnant asked the board for the extension.
“We have such a small pool of applicants to fill these vacancies. I’d like the town board to go ahead and solicit. It’s nothing against these people,” Hinnant said, referring to four applicants, including one student, who met the original deadline.
The board hopes for a greater response from residents of Wendell’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, in particular the recently adopted area along Poole Road and the future Wendell Falls development.
“We (should) give people in that area a chance to apply because they need to be notified, I guess, since it’s new to them …,” said Ira Fuller, the mayor pro tem. “If we come back in two weeks and there are no other applicants, then we appoint people.”
Commissioner Ginna Gray strongly supports citizen boards, but she also said enough was enough.
“I think they have had as much time to apply as anyone else. I don’t think we need to be picking and choosing,” Gray said.
To alleviate the shortage of members for the parks and recreation commission citizen board, the commissioners authorized a reduction in the number of members from nine to five. Members will serve three-year staggered terms. The board also appointed Charles Kramer to the planning board.
The town also has a board of adjustment, an appearance commission, a tree commission, and an economic development commission. Individual terms expire periodically, and other terms open when members move away or are otherwise unable to serve.
Town Manager Teresa Piner said she hoped residents would use the extension to join the governing process to provide more voices in decision-making processes. She pointed out that Wendell gives weight to citizen board decisions, especially those by the planning board. When that board makes a recommendation, a supermajority vote of the town board is required to override that recommendation.
Piner recommends residents of the ETJ consider joining Wendell’s boards.
“If I was a resident of the ETJ, knowing that growth is starting to occur around me,” she said, “I may not have the ability to vote for commissioners, but I have a way to get involved in the type of development that occurs.”
To apply for a citizen position, call Town Clerk Jonnie Driver at 919-365-4450 or go to the town’s website townofwendell.com