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2nd Term Archive

February 23. 2006 12:00AM
Sam Watford files to keep commissioner seat
 The Dispatch
Unlike many candidates before him, Republican incumbent Sam Watford was without an entourage as he filed to keep his seat as a Davidson County commissioner Wednesday.  "It was a rainy day, and I was waiting on a rainy day to file," he joked in an interview.  The 53-year-old underground water and sewer utility contractor is completing his first four-year term as commissioner and says he needs more time to make some changes in the county.  "Even though we've had some successes, the goals that I had hoped to achieve, especially in the area of economic development in our county, have not materialized," he said.  Watford said if "allowed the opportunity by the citizens" to serve another term, he will work to ensure that the sewer line project, which is part of a $66.4 million school bond approved in the November election, is completed properly and in a timely manner.
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GOP candidates make pitch

The Dispatch
Faced with the opportunity to set themselves apart before the May primary, many Republican candidates ended up striking similar points at a forum in Abbots Creek Thursday night. Incumbent Sam Watford answered the two questions in the quickest possible way, saying the biggest challenges for the next term would be "anything having to do with money." In particular, he mentioned funding the Medicaid program, which in North Carolina is the burden of individual counties, paying down the school bond referendum and ensuring every school in the county is attached to the sewer system by 2010. He promised smart budgeting and his construction experience would help him tackle the issues.
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May 02. 2006 11:22PM

Watford earns top votes; Akins misses the cut
The Dispatch
Voters have selected four Republican commissioner candidates — Sam Watford, Billy Joe Kepley, Don Truell and Kenny Moore — to square off against the Democrats in November, leaving behind one incumbent candidate and several strong contenders. In Tuesday’s primary election, Sam Watford led the pack with 3,592 votes (16 percent) with the other candidates following close behind. Incumbent Cindy Akins came in fifth and won’t return to the board. “I’d like to thank the people that voted for me,” Watford said Tuesday night at the Davidson County Governmental Center after the results were announced. “You always try to do the best you can for this county.” Watford and Kepley embraced amid a crowd of family and supporters. “I look forward to working with you,” Kepley quietly said to Watford. Watford, 53, of Thomasville, is one of three incumbents who ran and will continue on to the November election with fellow incumbent Truell. This is Watford’s second run for office. He owns a construction company specializing in underground utility construction.

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2006 Primary Election Summary
2006 Primary Election Detail

October 11. 2006 1:00PM
Candidates flock to women's club forum
The Dispatch
Incumbent Republican county commissioner Sam Watford spoke also for fellow incumbent Don Truell, who as a former Thomasville mayor was playing in the Mayor's Cup golf tournament.
"I'm sticking with one issue -economic development,"
Watford said, promising to continue "aggressive recruitment."
He called it important for the tax base, jobs and to improve the appearance of the county by filling empty factory buildings.
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November 01. 2006 1:00PM
School construction and jobs are on forefront of commissioners' race
The Dispatch
The third single-term commissioner campaigning for another four years on the board, Watford hopes to win re-election to see sewer service extended to the remainder of Davidson County. He forecasted the project's completion for 2010. After the massive layoffs and factory closings over the past several years, Watford said he'd be reluctant to offer incentives to a furniture manufacturer, although he noted that Davidson County had always had a "hands-based" job market. Watford said he couldn't see the county moving too far afield from that type of labor. Still, he voiced confidence in the Davidson County workforce. "I think we're pretty well-qualified to do anything." Like the majority of the candidates, he concedes that something must be done to help fund new schools to meet ever-increasing student numbers. But whatever the solution is, Watford said he's flatly opposed to borrowing money to accomplish it.
"I believe in taking the money you have and doing what you can," he said. Watford reiterated his displeasure that social issues have begun appearing on county government agendas. "There's a movement among politicians to use moral values for their own personal and political gain," he said. "It has absolutely no business in county government."
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November 08. 2006 1:00PM
Kepley, three incumbents give board of commissioners familiar look
The Dispatch
Davidson County voters returned three incumbents and one former commissioner to the board in the multi-seat plurality contest. Incumbent Democrat Max Walser lead the field of eight candidates with 17,229 votes (15 percent). Following closely with 16,519 votes (14 percent) was former three-term commissioner Billy Joe Kepley, who will return to the seat he lost by only five votes in the Republican Primary in 2004. Rounding out the field were incumbent Republicans Don Truell, with 15,795 votes, and Sam Watford, with 15,672 votes (14 percent each).

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2006 Election Summary

2006 Election Detail

January 10. 2007 1:00PM
Commissioners move forward on pretrial release
The Dispatch
After a protracted debate, the Davidson County commissioners Tuesday night voted to continue examining a proposed pretrial release program for some county inmates.
By a 4-2 vote, the commissioners voted to apply for a state grant from the Governor's Crime Commission that would fund the program for two years. Pretrial release programs have been identified as a priority for that commission for 2007. Commissioner Sam Watford observed that if the county receives the grant, it can evaluate the program's funding after the grant money runs out to gauge its effectiveness. "This is about treatment of offenders who have not yet been sent to prison," said District Court Judge Mary Covington, one of several judicial officials on-hand at the meeting who praised the program as a way to reach first-time offenders. "(They're) just getting the treatment early. That's the incentive."
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January 20. 2007 1:00PM
Davidson, counties statewide seek Medicaid relief
The Dispatch
North Carolina is the lone state in the union that puts the burden of Medicaid administration costs on its individual counties, which has been a bone of contention between county and state government for years.
At a Jan. 11 and 12 meeting of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, more than 80 delegates voted to place relief from that burden at the top of their list of legislative goals for 2007.
Tellingly, numbers two and three on the list are increasing funding for school construction and empowering local governments to seek alternate revenue streams. Watford said school construction woes dominated discussion at the meeting. Medicaid relief, he said, was the subject of less discussion. Watford, on behalf of the county, cast a vote to keep the priorities as they are. He said Thursday he was encouraged by the support of the state legislators representing the county - Reps. Jerry Dockham, R-Davidson, Hugh Holliman, D-Davidson, and Larry Brown, R-Forsyth, and Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Davidson, have all pledged their support for Medicaid relief in the past.
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March 14. 2007 1:00PM
Employee documentation rule defeated
The Dispatch
A measure adding new language to county contracts concerning the legality of contracted workers was voted down 4-3 Tuesday night following a testy discussion at the Davidson County Board of Commissioners' meeting. McClure was joined by commissioners Larry Allen and Larry Potts in voting for the measure while commissioners Sam Watford, Max Walser, Don Truell and Billy Joe Kepley voted against. Watford took umbrage with the new language, saying it constituted "a do-nothing resolution" since federal and state laws already require employers to verify their workers' legality. "If it's a do-nothing resolution, Commissioner Watford, what is all the fuss about?" McClure asked his colleague. "If (contractors) have to do it already, why are we fussing about it?" Watford shot back. That exchange followed an earlier one in which Watford assailed McClure's motives as political.
Kepley raised the concern that the new I-9 requirement might drive up the cost of county contracts, a point with which Watford agreed.
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May 04. 2007 1:00PM
Board to seek federal funding for I-85 bridge
The Dispatch
The Davidson County Board of Commissioners on Thursday passed a resolution seeking federal funds to upfit one of the county's busiest corridors.The resolution, which specifically calls for lane additions and the replacement of two bridges on Interstate 85 between Exits 81 and 86, was passed unanimously at the commissioners' monthly information meeting.Commissioner Max Walser will carry the resolution with him when he meets with Congressmen Howard Coble and Mel Watt next week to convey the board's opinion on the pending Alcoa relicensure.Commissioner Sam Watford, who recently discussed the Yadkin River Bridge with Rowan County Commissioners' Chairman Arnold Chamberlain, asked Walser to raise the bridge issue with legislators during his trip. To reinforce the county's stance, Rowan is set to pass an identical resolution prior to Walser's trip. "The interstate is a federal highway anyway," Watford said in an interview this morning. "We figured we could start at the top."
By passing the resolution, the county hopes to qualify for those funds. The document further cites the number of accidents that occur along the stretch of road as well as the route's presence in a county economic development corridor. Watford said he hoped Senators Richard Burr and Elizabeth Dole, both natives of the Triad, would be swayed by the joint resolution from the two commissions.
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August 03. 2007 1:00PM
Bridge collapse heightens concerns
The Dispatch
The collapse of an interstate bridge in Minneapolis, Minn., made Davidson County Commissioner Sam Watford think about another interstate bridge closer to home that has been structurally criticized.
The safety and replacement of the Interstate 85 bridge over the Yadkin River connecting Davidson and Rowan counties have been discussed by local, state and federal officials for years. Now the county is trying to get more local governments and legislators on board with the building of a new bridge by asking towns and cities from Atlanta to Petersburg, Va., to pass a resolution in support of the bridge's replacement. "We have to get somebody else involved in it, be it the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County or the City of Greensboro. That would do it," Watford said. The four-lane bridge with a concrete divider was rated as the seventh-worst bridge in the state, according to a AAA Carolinas study of the top 20 substandard bridges in North Carolina. "We need to tell (other governments) how this affects the economy of the whole state," Watford said.
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November 14. 2007 9:00AM

County commissioners OK purchase of pod for school system
The Dispatch

The Davidson County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of a multi-classroom mobile pod unit at its meeting Monday night. The pod is meant to relieve the crowding of an elementary school in the growing northeastern section of the county. The vote was approved 6-1. Commissioner Sam Watford opposed. Watford said he felt there could have been better planning when the school system drew district lines between Wallburg and Friendship Elementary School. "It looks to me that somebody made an error when drawing the lines," Watford said. Friendship's enrollment is listed at 451 on its Web site, less than half of Wallburg's enrollment. Friendship opened two years ago. Watford said he thought Friendship "is not that crowded," and that maybe the schools should look at shifting some students.
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 January 04. 2008 9:00AM
County weighs future with planning group
The Dispatch
The Davidson County Board of Commissioners is discussing whether its absence from a transportation planning group would be a benefit or a detriment to future road projects in the northern part of the county.
At the county board meeting Thursday, Commissioner Billy Joe Kepley asked fellow board members to hold off on signing a "memorandum of understanding" between the county and the Winston-Salem Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, essentially approving a new voting structure. Kepley said the voting structure gives Winston-Salem and Forsyth County too much power and is "un-American and un-Christian." But Commissioner Sam Watford thought the county may not have a dog in the fight.
"All I can say is that if we had 90 percent of the MPO within our jurisdiction, we'd hold 90 percent of it, so I can't see your point at all Mr. Kepley,"
Watford said. Kepley said the MPO is the only organization he has come across that diverges from the typical voting structure. Other transportation planning groups give each government organization one vote, which the commissioner argues is more balanced.
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March 12. 2008 9:00AM
Commissioners voice toll bridge opposition again
The Dispatch
Commissioner Billy Joe Kepley was asked by N.C. Board of Transportation member Nancy Dunn to informally poll the board's interest in an Interstate 85 toll bridge over the Yadkin River. The result? None here. Kepley asked fellow commissioners at their Tuesday night meeting to call or write him their opinions of a toll bridge, but most didn't need the week that Kepley suggested to publicly denounce a driver-funded project for a free road. "(Dunn) is well aware of how the commissioners generally feel about a toll bridge over there. And the citizens, I don't think there has been anyone who spoke in favor of having it," Commissioner Fred McClure said. "I don't need to wait two weeks to give you where I'm leaning. I'm not leaning at all. I'm on the other side, definitely opposed to a toll bridge on that road."
Board of commissioners Chairman Larry Potts and commissioners Larry Allen and Sam Watford also denounced a toll bridge idea. Commissioners Don Truell and Dr. Max Walser were a little more open-minded to the idea of a toll.
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April 09. 2008 9:00AM
County refuses to sign planning agreement
The Dispatch
By a 4-3 vote, the county board refused to sign the memorandum of understanding with the MPO, an organization that prioritizes road projects for a region and votes on what projects should be planned prior to being added to the Transportation Improvement Plan list of the N.C. Department of Transportation. County Planning Director Guy Cornman said he wanted to make sure the two counties would be able to work together when the new N.C. Highway 109 is built. Cornman said transportation officials are looking at four different routes for the state highway that runs along the eastern part of the county to Winston-Salem and will eventually connect with Interstate 40. Cornman said without a county voice in those talks, Winston-Salem officials could have complete control over where the new route would go. Robert Hyatt, county manager, warned commissioners that not signing the agreement "could come back to haunt us" in other areas including economic development, the quest for a new Yadkin River Interstate 85 bridge and other regional projects. Commissioner Sam Watford, who said "since I've always been a small fella," urged the commissioners to "cozy up" and "make friends" with people from bigger cities and communities and not try to become their adversaries. Voting against signing the memorandum were Kepley, Potts and commissioners Larry Allen and Fred McClure. Supporters were Walser, Truell and Watford.
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June 25. 2008 9:00AM
Board OKs landfill gas project
The Dispatch
A partnership between the county and a pair of companies to capture methane gas emitting from the county landfill and convert it into energy will add about $200,000 in revenues to the county's pocketbook each year and help prevent greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere. The Davidson County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a 20-year contract with North Carolina-based Enerdyne Power Systems and DTE Biomass Energy, a utility headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich. "That greatly exceeded my expectations," Commissioner Sam Watford said about the estimated revenue to the county. In other news, commissioners:
Designated Watford as the county's voting delegate to the National Association of Counties annual conference next month in Kansas City, Mo.
Re-appointed Watford to serve an additional three-year term on the county Department of Social Services board
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December 1, 2008 at 2:17 p.m
McClure elected commissioners' chairman
Watford chosen vice chairman

By Seth Stratton
The Dispatch
The general election concluded a month ago, but the politicking continued when the Davidson County Board of Commissioners met Monday morning to select its chairman and vice chairman. When the votes were tallied, Commissioner Fred McClure was elected chairman and Sam Watford vice chairman. Don Truell nominated fellow Thomasville-area commissioner Sam Watford for the chairman, and Potts nominated McClure for the head post. “Dunn received three votes, from herself, Kepley and Dr. Max Walser. McClure received two votes, from himself and Potts. And Watford received two votes, from himself and Truell. This is my sixth year … I feel like it takes some time to get to what you feel like you’re qualified to be the chairman,” Watford said. “I feel like I’m just now being qualified to be chairman.” “I’ve been here 16 years, and I’m still not qualified,” Kepley joked. After a brief break the commissioners reconvened. Watford pulled his name from the consideration list for chairman and instead nominated McClure. And Kepley again nominated Dunn. McClure, with votes from himself, Truell, Watford and Potts, seized the chairman position by one vote as Dunn’s votes from herself, Kepley and Walser fell just short, 4-3. Watford was nominated for vice chairman; McClure and Walser nominated Kepley to keep his position. Watford beat out Kepley 4-3 by the exact same vote as the chairman election.
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December 10, 2008 at 9:00 a.m.
Commissioners split on worker reclassifications
By Seth Stratton
Staff Writer
County department heads recently completed a reclassification of all their employees, but a few newly defined positions drew scrutiny from some Davidson County commissioners at their meeting Tuesday night. The commissioners approved $22,810 for retirement benefits to part-time employees by a 5-2 vote. Commissioners Larry Potts and Don Truell voted against the personnel resolution, concerned that cutbacks were being made in other aspects of the county budget in light of tough economic times and projected revenue decreases. They said county department heads and administrators could have found ways to have fewer part-time workers who are eligible for retirement benefits.
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Published: Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 5:57 p.m.
Commissioners mull ideas to grow local businesses
By Seth Stratton
The Dispatch
Davidson County government doesn’t have the resources or money to craft its own stimulus package, but that doesn’t mean the county can’t do other things to help grow area businesses in the current economic recession.

Commissioner Sam Watford, at a Davidson County Board of Commissioners informational meeting Thursday morning, presented his colleagues with a one-page list titled: “What can our local government do to improve Davidson County’s business environment?” The goal of the list is to expand existing or land new businesses in the county, Watford said. And the ideas range from expediting the planning and zoning process to waiving or reducing different fees to cutting or eliminating property taxes.

“I’ve never seen you this enthused on anything,” Commissioner Billy Joe Kepley said. “It would be a great step forward for the people who have been forgotten who are actually the backbone in our economy in the county … I think you’d be surprised by how many would be on board with this. In the long run, it would be great progress in our tax base. Full speed ahead.”

Watford proposed the county work with municipalities, utilities and other agencies to lessen the financial impact on businesses looking to start up or expand and make the process more “user friendly.”

“I tried not to use the word ‘stimulus’ or ‘reinvestment act’ or ‘recovery’ or anything like that,” Watford said. “We can actually help the businessman. And I’m not just talking about the big business with fancy employees — the man who mows yards is a businessman, fixing hair, we’re all business people. And that’s what it takes at this time. We all have to work on it together.”

The commissioner said he has read through part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus bill and identified money that potentially could be used to help re-open factories.

“We got plants in Thomasville, that, when they shut the doors down, not the Thomasville Furniture (Industries) plants, the smaller ones, all the machinery is still there, they just shut the doors,” Watford said. He said the county could partner to bring together the owners of the facilities with displaced skilled workers who know how to operate the equipment.
He also suggested the county prioritize business over residential construction projects and have the county planning and zoning department approve permits and other necessary documents as fast as they can. County Planning Director Guy Cornman said his staff has to work within certain statutory guidelines that often require the county to advertise for and hold public hearings for zoning and construction issues.
Watford also suggested the board could hold public hearings at its regular meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month instead of the first Monday of each month to expedite business growth. He also suggested the county board hold special meetings or meet in July, a month the board typically takes off, to make sure business projects are not held up in procedural processes.

“It’s a long, drawn-out process to get anything built in this county,” Watford said. “It takes at least two months. If somebody comes in and wants to do something, I’m saying let’s prioritize it.”

The commissioner also said he would consider a one-year moratorium on property taxes for any new machinery or equipment purchases and a 50 percent reduction in property taxes for five years for any new nonresidential or institutional construction, regardless of job creation.

“Our economic development efforts have always been tied to job creation,” he said. “Everything’s tied to how many, number of jobs, how long. If you got a building in this county or any kind of business and are fixing to buy equipment or add on to that building, it’s going to help the county. You may not hire anybody that day but somebody’s going to get helped, no question about it.”

Steve Googe, executive director of the Davidson County Economic Development Corporation, who recently returned from a business trip to Europe, said the German government has provided land and half the cost to build machines at several new plants in eastern Germany, and companies are flocking there. Googe suggested commissioners explore tying any new or extra incentives package plans to the unemployment rate.

Watford said the board would need to receive information from the county tax and legal departments to find out what kind of impact that would have on county revenues before it made a decision to implement tax cuts. Commissioner Cathy Dunn commended Watford on his ideas and said a pro-business attitude can do nothing but help the county.

“It doesn’t cost you anything to have nice people that will say, ‘Here, we’ll help you,’” Dunn said.

Watford encouraged municipalities and utilities to waive or cut their impact or tap fees and suggested the county offer a type of extra incentive to anyone who refurbishes an existing empty building to put back on the tax books, even if it is as simple as using the facility as a warehouse. He used the example of Greensboro-based DDC Investments’ purchase of the former Stanley Furniture plant on West Center Street in March as an example. DDC Investments is a division of D.H. Griffin Companies.

“We can’t get involved in trying to keep businesses alive like they’re doing in Washington right now,” Watford said. “In my opinion, I’m free enterprise all the way. But there’s little things we can do as a government. If you can make it through this mess right now, then I feel like we ought to be able to help you expand.”

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Published: Friday, April 3, 2009 at 10:26 p.m.
News linked to economy dominates the headlines once again
By Lexington Dispatch
In a week when Davidson County residents learned the unemployment rate increased again in February, jumping to 13.4 percent, we were pleased to see county Commissioner Sam Watford begin a discussion with fellow commissioners regarding ways county government can help existing businesses expand and encourage new businesses to set up shop in Davidson County.
Watford's list of ideas suggested a variety of efforts, including expediting the county's planning and zoning process, waiving or reducing different fees and even cutting or eliminating property taxes. Watford hopes to encourage county government, along with city governments and utilities, to make it easier for businesses to start up or expand in Davidson County. It is a proposal worth thorough discussion and speedy implementation, just as soon as Watford's proposal evolves from a list of ideas into a practical policy. While the nation follows the up-and-down struggle of U.S. auto makers, banks and other large corporations, we would all be wise to remember that local businesses are essential providers of jobs and services in our community and communities across the state and nation.
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Published: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at 5:00 a.m.
County buys Davidson Country Day School
By Heather J. Smith
The Dispatch
When the Davidson County Board of Commissioners were presented a contract to buy the former Davidson Country Day School for $1.8 million at their meeting Tuesday, all members agreed it was a deal, but not all agreed the county should take it.
Commissioners Dr. Max Walser, Chairman Fred McClure, Billy Joe Kepley and Cathy Dunn voted for the purchase. Larry Potts, Sam Watford and Don Truell voted against it.
Potts said economic conditions were too sour for the county to justify the expense.
“I think it’s the wrong property at the wrong place at definitely the wrong time and I’m against it,” Potts said.
Watford agreed, saying forecasts that the economy will get better are still uncertain. Until the economy actually gets better, Watford favored the county deciding against the purchase.
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Published: Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 4:38 p.m.
Contract for school resurfaces at meeting
By Heather J. Smith
The Dispatch
The Davidson County Board of Commissioners talked Thursday morning about its decision last month to buy the former location of Davidson Country Day School for $1.825 million before all commissioners had read the contract.
I don’t understand why there was such a rush. We had until (Aug.) 28th to close. Why couldn’t we have discussed it then and made the decision today?” Watford said. “I didn’t realize all the backs had already been slapped and the cigars had been smoked.”
Since last month’s meeting, Watford said he found other commissioners had not seen it either. He also discovered that he and others were under the misconception the property was owned by the bank that issued the mortgage, Bank of North Carolina, because the county was dealing directly with bank officials. It was instead fully owned by Davidson Academy LLC.
Watford said both he and Commissioner Larry Potts make income off buying and selling real estate. They both believe the best way to land a low price on property is to negotiate with the owners, which takes time.
We could have dealt directly with Davidson Academy,” he said. “They were the true owners of the property. We could have negotiated for a better price.”
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Published: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 8:30 p.m.
County abandons pursuit of grants for sewer project
By Heather J. Smith
The Dispatch
County commissioners decided they will not apply for a $250,000 state grant to install public sewer to a Denton manufacturer at a public hearing Wednesday.
Commissioners voted 3-3 with Larry Potts, Cathy Dunn and Fred McClure against applying, while Don Truell, Sam Watford and Billy Joe Kepley voted to proceed. Commissioner Dr. Max Walser was absent.
But several commissioners believed the county should try for the grant, even if success was unlikely.
“What’s it going to hurt to apply for it?” Watford asked. “If this doesn’t go through, then we’ll be working on something else.”
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Published: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 5:00 a.m.
EDC considering changes to grow jobs
The Dispatch
The Davidson County Economic Development Commission is considering changes to its grant process in order to spur more job growth and lower the county's unemployment rate.
Googe and the EDC have previously only focused on offering incentives to existing or new businesses looking to invest a minimum of $1 million toward an economic development project. They also only really dealt with industrial projects, leaving smaller retail and commercial developments to the local chambers of commerce around the county. But that may all change.
Thanks in part to Commissioner Sam Watford, who in a Jerry Maguire-like "Help me, help you," moment at a Davidson County Board of Commissioners' meeting in April, wondered aloud what the county could do to help struggling businesses in the economic recession.
Googe said he and Watford later met for about two and a half hours to discuss ideas on how the EDC could assist smaller businesses in addition to the large industries for which the commission is used to designing grant packages. In the past five months, the EDC, with input from its board, governments and agencies, has come up with a few ideas to stimulate the local economy.
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Published: Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 11:50 a.m.
Walser elected new commissioner chairman
By Heather J. Smith
The Dispatch
The Davidson County Board of Commissioners elected Dr. Max Walser chairman of the board for 2010 in a 5-2 vote Thursday morning. Sam Watford will serve a second year as vice chairman.
Kepley, Truell, Watford, Cathy Dunn and Walser voted for Walser for chairman. Potts and McClure voted for McClure.
Responding to the call for nominations for vice chairman, Walser named Watford. Truell nominated Potts, who then asked that his name be withdrawn.
Watford was elected vice chairman by unanimous vote.

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Published: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 9:01 p.m.
County OKs, modifies economic development incentive grants
The Dispatch
The Davidson County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved economic development incentive grants for three businesses and modified three grants with existing industries at its meeting Tuesday night. “We can’t penalize these companies for the economy,” said Sam Watford, vice chairman of the board.

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Sunday's Internet Edition, February 14, 2010.
County to turn garbage into energy
Karissa Minn: Staff Writer
The Dispatch
The county will soon be making money from residents’ old garbage.
The Davidson County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve most of a contract with a company that would extract methane gas from the county landfill to generate electricity. The company plans to sell the energy and return part of the profits to the county.
“Revenues would average $200,000 per year under the life of the contract, assuming the carbon credit
market remains strong,” said Purchasing Director Dwayne Childress.
“Anything that we can do to help any part of this county grow is a benefit for us,” Commissioner Sam Watford said.
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Published: Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 5:50 p.m.
Jail, courthouse expansion is up for review

Charlotte-based architectural firm Ware Bonsall will review the courthouse and determine if there is enough room for expansion.

The Davidson County Board of Commissioners approved Ware Bonsall’s contract for the project during its meeting Tuesday.

Cost of the analysis project will be approximately $57,370 and will look at accommodation needs for the jail, courts and sheriff’s office. Surveying will be done to incorporate additional parking that would be needed if the current site on West Center Street was expanded.

With the current jail having been expanded about 10 years ago, the question is whether additional jail expansion is more cost efficient than moving inmates to a new location that would allow for growth.

Commissioner Sam Watford said that question will be a decisive factor whatever plan of action the board takes on future plans.

We will receive updates from month to month from Ware Bonsall to see what is the best for our dollar,” Watford said.

I can go either way; nothing is cheap about building a jail. It’s less expensive to build a jail like we started to with the Duracell plant.”

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Published: Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 2:14 p.m.
Update to county zoning ordinances raises concerns on cost

By David Bodenheimer
The Dispatch
The Davidson County Planning and Zoning Department with the assistance of the Piedmont Triad Council of Governments will work to evaluate and update a comprehensive zoning ordinance for the county.
The Davidson County Board of Commissioners approved a contract with PTCOG on a 5-2 vote Tuesday night, but not before some questions about the cost of the work.
PTCOG is an entity of government between the state and federal level that offers technical assistance to local governments. Since counties in the state contribute funds to the organization, PTCOG offers assistance at a lower cost. “It’s going to have to be a joint effort,” said Commissioner Sam Watford of the communication between the board and planning and zoning department.

After two motions to limit the work expenditures to $25,000 and $30,000 did not carry, the board voted 5-2 to limit the scope of the work to $40,000. McClure and Potts provided the two opposing votes.

Work on the new zoning ordinance will begin this month.

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Published: Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 2:25 p.m.

Commissioners contract out probation service
By David Bodenheimer
The Dispatch
A first-time contract to outsource Day Reporting Services in Davidson County received unanimous approval Thursday morning from the Davidson County Board of Commissioners. Commissioners agreed to contract the program to Salisbury-based Alternatives Counseling. The Day Reporting Services program was developed by The Criminal Justice Partnership Program in an effort to give offenders in Davidson County the opportunity to remain in the community, work and receive treatment as needed, generally at no cost to the offender. Thursday's meeting was the first in more than a month, as the board recessed for much of July. During that time, commissioner Sam Watford attended the National Association of Counties conference in Reno, Nev. Watford gave a brief report to the board on his experiences during the six-day conference that included over 40 discussions and sessions on topics like health reform, jail diversion and transportation among others. “I enjoyed it, it was a good trip,” Watford said.
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Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 11:44 p.m.

County school offices, Stoner-Thomas sewer project to be funded with leftover money
By David Bodenheimer
The Dispatch
Leftover funds from two sewer projects will help pay for a new sewer line to Stoner-Thomas School and the Davidson County Administrative Offices. Tuesday, commissioners approved the project by a unanimous vote.

Roughly $900,000 was left over from the sewer line projects to Extended Day and Churchland Elementary schools, part of the county’s order to provide sewer to every county school building. The board wasted no time in passing the project. Commissioner Sam Watford and Larry Potts both raised questions, making sure the $716,553 estimate was for both projects. Once that was confirmed, commissioners voted swiftly to approve the project.
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Published: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 11:55 p.m.
Commissioners narrowly approve Wil-Cox bridge repairs
By David Bodenheimer
The Dispatch
The Davidson County Board of Commissioners opted to move forward with cosmetic repairs to the Wil-Cox Bridge, set to be done by Flatiron-Lane Construction, the same contractor heading up work on the new Interstate 85 bridge project over the Yadkin River. Commissioners Larry Potts, Sam Watford and Don Truell all voted against spending the money. Board Chair Dr. Max Walser gave the decisive “yes” vote alongside commissioners Fred McClure, Billy Joe Kepley and Cathy Dunn. Commissioners debated at length, asking Ivey a series of questions and expressing concern on whether postponing cosmetic repairs would be a better option for the county. “I think we should save the money,” said Watford. “We don’t have to do this.” But concerns over future prices and different contractors prompted the board to move forward.
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Published: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 10:36 p.m.

County votes down proposed illegal immigrant employment fines, for now
By David Bodenheimer
The Dispatch
A lengthy discussion about whether the county should financially penalize contractor workers who employ undocumented immigrants ended with commissioners split on the idea. The Davidson County Board of Commissioners voted 5-2 against a proposal brought by Commissioner Fred McClure that would have made it a requirement for some contractors to comply with the E-Verify program before committing to any work. “Who would enforce this?” asked Watford. “(Employing undocumented workers) is against the law to start with. I can't support this not knowing what it's going to cost to enforce this and knowing how that's going to apply with general statutes when we start fining people and telling them who can and can't work in the county.”

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Published: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 5:00 a.m.
County OKs Air Care chopper space

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ERIN WILTGEN Thomasville Times
August 2010

Conference offers tips to better counties
The National Association of Counties (NACo) focused on surviving the economic hardships, offering tips to the gathered county government officials from across the nation on ways to turn unemployment and lack of spending around.
Davidson County Commission Vice-Chair Sam Watford attended the conference, which spanned July 16-20 in Washoe County, Nev.
I believe in it, and I enjoy it,” said Watford, who paid all of his expenses except for the registration fee and the hotel. “I think it’s worthwhile. I meet a lot of people from all over the country. There’s no question about whether it’s worth the little bit of money it costs the taxpayers for me to go out there.”
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by ERIN WILTGEN Thomasville Times

September 2010

Small businesses seeking incentive grants

IThe drive to encourage small businesses to invest in Davidson County began about six months ago, spearheaded by Commissioner Sam Watford, Googe said. The county’s municipalities endorsed some new guidelines that addressed smaller projects and startups.
“This has caused us to have an influx of people that ordinarily would probably have never touched base with us before they started doing some sort of project,” Googe said. “I think this is just representative of that new set of guidelines to encourage smaller businesses.”
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by ERIN WILTGEN Thomasville Times
November 2010

Board of Commissioners approve funding for new middle school LEXINGTON — Davidson County Board of Commissioners approved funding for a new middle school and voted to OK a bid for construction recommended by the Davidson County Board of Education. The final vote of 6-1 came after about an hour of debating — and didn’t come easy.
There are some legitimate questions in there that need to be answered,” Watford said. “But that’s not enough reason to put this off. I think the best thing we can do tonight is approve our part of it, the funding part. We can go ahead and move forward with it tonight and get some questions answered before we sign the contract.”
The final approved motion includes an agreement with the school board to address any questions raised, requesting a report back to the commissioners next month, before a contract is signed. The county has until Jan. 8 to negotiate a contract.
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  Check the Record!
Links to the minutes of all commissioners board meetings since Sam has been in office are listed below.

January 5, 2006

January 10, 2006

January 24, 2006

February 9, 2006

February 14, 2006

February 28, 2006

March 14, 2006

March 28, 2006

April 6, 2006

April 11, 2006

April 25, 2006

May 4, 2006

May 9, 2006

May 23, 2006

June 1, 2006

June 13, 2006

August 1, 2006

August 22, 2006
September 7, 2006
September 12, 2006
September 26, 2006
October 5, 2006
October 10, 2006
November 2, 2006
November 14, 2006
November 28, 2006
December 4, 2006

January 4, 2007
January 9, 2007

January 23, 2007

February 1, 2007

February 13, 2007

February 27, 2007
March 13, 2007
March 27, 2007
April 27, 2007
May 3, 2007
May 8, 2007
May 22, 2007
June 26, 2007
August 2, 2007
August 14, 2007
August 28, 2007
September 6, 2007

September 11, 2007
September 25, 2007
October 4, 2007

October 9, 2007
October 23, 2007
November 1, 2007

November 13, 2007
November 27, 2007
December 6, 2007
December 11, 2007
January 3, 2008
January 8, 2008
January 22, 2008
February 4, 2008

February 12, 2008

February 26, 2008
March 6, 2008
March 11, 2008
April 3, 2008
April 8, 2008
April 22, 2008
May 1, 2008
May 13, 2008
May 27, 2008
June 5, 2008
June 10, 2008
June 24, 2008
August 7, 2008
August 12, 2008
August 26, 2008
September 4, 2008

September 9, 2008
September 23, 2008
October 2, 2008

October 14, 2008
October 28, 2008
November 12, 2008

December 1, 2008
January 8, 2009
January 13, 2009
January 27, 2009
February 10, 2009
February 12, 2009

February 24, 2009
March 5, 2009
March 10, 2009
March 24, 2009
April 2, 2009

April 14, 2009
April 28, 2009
May 7, 2009
May 12, 2009
June 4, 2009
June 9, 2009
June 23, 2009
July 9, 2009
July 14, 2009
July 22, 2009
August 6, 2009
August 11, 2009
August 25, 2009
September 3, 2009
September 8, 2009
September 22, 2009
October 1, 2009
October 13, 2009
October 27, 2009
November 5, 2009
November 10, 2009
November 24, 2009
December 3, 2009
December 8, 2009
January 5, 2010
January 7, 2010
January 12, 2010
January 26, 2010
Febuary 9, 2010
Febuary 11, 2010
March 4, 2010
March 9, 2010
March 23, 2010
April 1, 2010
April 13, 2010
May 6, 2010
May 11, 2010
May 25, 2010
June 3, 2010
June 8, 2010
August 5, 2010
August 10, 2010
September 2, 2010
September 14, 2010
September 28, 2010

October 7,.2010
October 12,.2010

October 26,.2010

November 4, 2010
November 9, 2010
November 23, 2010
December 6, 2010
December 14, 2010


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