County approves monument committee
By Wesley Gardner
Caldwell County Commissioners on Tuesday approved the remaining five members of a nine-person committee that will be tasked with devising a final recommendation for approval concerning the Confederate monument on courthouse lawn.
The committee will consist of County Judge Hoppy Haden, Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Roland, historical commission members Donelly Bryce and Shirley Williams, local environmentalist Lee Rust, historian Dennis McCown, professor Jeff Utzinger, Alexandria Renee Carter and Carl Ohlendorf.
Haden said he was aiming for the committee to first convene by Friday if all members could make it that quickly.
“We had a long lag between court [meetings] and we need to move forward with this committee as quickly as possible while giving it the attention it deserves,” said Haden.
In other business, commissioners voted to reinstate the county-wide burn ban following several days of 100-plus degree heat.
According to officials, a person violates this order if they burn any combustible materials outside of an enclosure or they engage in any activity that could allow flames or sparks that could result in the spread of a fire.
Officials noted individuals who violate the order can be charged with a class C Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.
Commissioners are also moving forward with an agreement with software development company CivicTec that will make the county the first in the nation to test out new equipment that would allow motorists to pay for tickets and clear certain outstanding warrants on the spot during routine traffic stops.
The program was initially okayed in March, but was suspended due to COVID-19.
According to the MOU, CivicTec will provide all hardware and software for the project at no cost to the county for a trial period of 120 days. In return, the county will essentially serve as the beta test for the technology.
Using the cvcETICKET application, Caldwell County law enforcement officials will be able to offer motorists receiving a traffic citation the option to pay the fine on the spot, meaning neither the motorist nor the officer would be required to appear in court.
With the cvcCLEAR application, motorists who have outstanding Class C misdemeanor warrants will have the option to pay the fine when they’re pulled over, keeping them out of jail and preventing law enforcement officials from being diverted to the administrative tasks associated with processing an arrest.
County Judge Hoppy Haden touted the program but stressed its success was entirely contingent on whether or not the technology actually works.
“It’s a way to expedite things right there on the road rather than tying up our law enforcement officers, if it works,” said Haden. “If it doesn’t work, no harm, no foul.”
Haden said the county will look into negotiating a contact with CivicTec at the end of the 120-day trial period if law enforcement officials find the technology useful and efficient.