Indian Trail inks contract with Sheriff's Office
Three members of the Indian Trail Town Council voted to renew a service contract with the Union County Sheriff's Office on Thursday.
Mayor Pro Tem David Cohn and council members Christopher King and David Waddell met for mere minutes to vote on the contract. Mayor Michael Alvarez and council members Darlene Luther and Robert Allen were absent.
"That's three votes for and no votes against," Cohn said. "We have a sheriff's contract."
The audience erupted in applause.
The council was divided over town demands in the contract negotiations and abandoning the contract to start a town police department. A heated Feb. 16 special meeting pitted Luther, Allen and Alvarez, who stated their support for a municipal police department, against Waddell and Cohn. King was absent.
At the start of Thursday's meeting, King quipped, "I promise to never miss another special meeting ever again."
Though Alvarez read a prepared statement during the earlier meeting explaining why he favored a police department, he cast his tie-breaking vote against Luther's motion to begin planning a town police force.
Indian Trail pays the Union County Sheriff's Office roughly $1.6 million annually for 19 deputies assigned to town duty. The new contract is basically the same as the current agreement, with some specifics about equipment belonging to the county and not the town, and the town-assigned deputies reporting to the sheriff or his designee only and not the town manager.
"To let everybody in this room know, we heard you," Cohn said. "We might not have had public comments tonight, but we heard the town of Indian Trail. We got your emails, we got your phone calls, we ran into you on the street."
Cohn said he did not hear from anyone who supported starting a town police department.
"That means a lot. When we show up in this room like we did a couple of weeks ago on Saturday, I think that was a big reason the people spoke that day," he said. "If you were here on that day, that's the reason we have a sheriff's contract. Because you showed up on that day and let us know."
King said little, save that the issue was decided and the council moves forward from here on.
"Sheriff Cathey, good doing business with you," King said. "You've got another four years."
Waddell thanked residents for caring enough to participate in town business.
"This is one issue where I have seen people people come together who have fought tooth and nail over other things and I'm proud to say there has been a lot of bridges made through this," Waddell said. "So there's been one good thing about all the conflict. And that is, I've seen some people work together who normally don't. And that has been a wonderful thing to see."
The new contract takes effect July 1.