WENDELL — Somebody stirred up a hornet’s nest – and poked the bear.
That was the tone for part of the July 8 Wendell Board of Commissioners meeting when a Wake County commissioner on a goodwill visit instead landed in the lions’ den.
Unbeknown to Wake County Commission vice chairman Phil Matthews, a recent decision by the county leaders had snubbed a town board decision that had been made with much effort. He learned that in no uncertain terms.
“I’m trying to set a good representation because Wendell is very important to all of us,” Matthews of Garner said Thursday. “I had not planned on being beat up while I was down there. My hide is thick. … Life will continue.”
At last week’s meeting, Matthews addressed the board for several minutes regarding the Wake economy and work by the county board. When time came for questions and comments, two members had plenty to say.
Ginna Gray expressed offense that the Wake board tabled Wendell’s nomination of Charles Kramer as an Extraterritorial Jurisdiction representative for the town planning commission, a position the Wake board must approve because technically the position represents the county. Town Commissioner Christie Adams dressed Matthews down about Wendell’s 11.6 percent subsidized housing rate; reading Wendell’s September 2012 resolution in support of Wake County’s housing distribution policy and asking that Matthews take that back to the commission.
Gray has consistently urged her fellow board members to keep on schedule with nominations for membership on citizen boards. The boards have proven hard to fill, and the town recently reduced the size of the Parks and Recreation board to have a better chance at reaching a quorum.
Kramer was the only qualified ETJ resident to apply for the planning board, even after the town twice extended deadlines. Wendell submitted Kramer’s name, but Wake County asked the town to consider a candidate from further out in the town’s ETJ, which has been extended to include areas around Wendell Falls. Mayor Tim Hinnant said at the meeting he had been told the county had received calls from “concerned citizens” asking the county to name someone else. “This is our second cycle,” Gray said Thursday night, echoing her comments from the July 8 meeting. She is irritated that residents had contacted the county but not the town. “I would love folks from that area to apply. But people don’t apply. We don’t get to pick and choose who submits an application.”
Matthews said the Wake board was just asking Wendell to take another look.
“By no means do we tell municipalities what to do,” he said Thursday, pointing out that Wendell could resubmit the Kramer nomination (the board did) and “we’ll just approve it and be done with it.”
Matthews said Thursday he will be happy to return to discuss housing, boards and anything else.
“Wendell is a place we have room for a lot of growth over there,” he said. “And that’s one of the reasons I want to go over there and get a lay of the land and of specific issues. Yes, I will be going back, and hopefully the meeting will be a little more planned.”