Gaston County Commissioners will have both a work session and special meeting this Tusday evening (Jan. 11th) at the Gaston County Courthouse on MLK Way in Gastonia. The 6 PM work session will include a presentation by the Intergovernmental & Interagency Task Force on Homelessness. The report had been scheduled for a meeting a month ago, and several persons involved with work with the homeless population spoke at that meeting expressing their displeasure with the delay.
When they've concluded discussion on that controversial subject, Commissioners and the public will hear a presentation about an economic impace study of Piedmont Lithium's plans for lithium mining in the northwestern area of the county near Cherryville.
Dr. John Connaughton, Professor at Belk College of Business, UNC-Charlotte, will present the findings of that study. It's expected that a large crowd will attend to hear his report and to offer comments on the proposed mining operation. The public comments portion of the meeting will actually precede the two presentations.
Homelessness and the homeless population has become a hot topic lately for many local governments. Lincolnton & Lincoln County established a steering committee last Fall to study the problem and suggest possible actions. Hannah Houser, Director of Animal Services, was chosen to head that committee.
At last week's Lincolnton City Council meeting, problems with some homeless persons became a topic of discussion. Barber Rex Rhyne told about a homeless man he said he had to run out of his shop. Rhyne also told about a homeless woman usin g the bathroom at the dance studio next door; and said items had been stolen from trucks parked along Water Street, although he said he couldn't say for sure they were stolen by homeless persons. Dentist Dr. Jonathan Austin said a homeless person had used his business's front porch for a bowel movement. Austin said of the homeless: "they know where things are; the pole out front of the library--I highly recommend you guys cut power to it because it's a wonderful charging port for them. The City has done a great job bringing everything in and I hate to come to you with a problem and no answer: I am going to meet with lots of charitable organizations around Lincolnton to find out what they're doing, why and how...I'm not saying be 'un-Christianlike' but we really need to make the city and county unattractive to the vagrants that are coming in."