Onley Has New Mayor, Looks To Build New Town Hall

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By Linda Cicoira

Onley has a new mayor and is making plans for a new town hall.

Dawn Dize, who has served on the town council for about 20 years, was unanimously elected by the rest of the panel on Sept. 19 to fill the unexpired term of Mayor Jack Pierson, who died recently. The term expires Dec. 31.

The town is looking for someone to fill Dize’s place on the council, also for the interim. All the officials are up for election in November. Councilman Matt Hart and former Councilman Billy Ferguson are vying for mayor.

There are 11 people running for the six council seats. Dize is not one of them. Council members Susan M. Rillo, Melvin T. Bliss Jr., and Woody W. Zember are seeking re-election. Other candidates include Planning Commissioner Rose Mary Pierson, the late mayor’s wife; Vice Mayor Henry S. “Ned” Finney, who was not interested in being interim mayor; former Mayor Billye D. Custis; Custis’ husband, former Councilman John L. Dennis; Claudia Carpenter Harmon; Theodore F. Cathey Jr.; Jason E. Byelich; and Jerry D. Savage.

Onley Town Manager Jayme Salazar said one bid was received for construction of a new town hall. The bid of $1.07 million is on the agenda for discussion at the Oct. 1 session. That bid is for a 3,045-square-foot single-story structure to be put on a lot next to the current town hall. It would include a meeting room, four offices, a break room, and a storage room. The current office, which is shared with town police, would become the Onley Police Station, Salazar said.

Initially, town leaders discussed a $500,000 project. Later, a figure of $800,000 was discussed but never formally accepted. “Thanks to all the employees and the vice mayor who have done such a fantastic job during Jack’s illness,” Dize said. “It’s really an honorary thing,” she added about her new post because she has been on the council for nine or 10 terms.

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