Closed Session – Legal Matter & Economic Development Project
Starting at the end of the commissioners’ meeting because curiosity is asking, what is the latest economic development project? I was told there would be no public announcement regarding the closed session discussion of the economic development project. It does leave one wondering what the Chairman of the Economic Development Commission presented to the county commissioners.
Change Order– Farmer’s Market
According to the County Manager’s report, “Bad soils were encountered and had to be replaced with suitable soils in order to allow the project to proceed on schedule … .” Did the soil misbehave? Reading between the lines of the Earthwork Observation Report, smack dab in the middle of location for this Taj Mahal of a farmers market is the debris from another construction project completed in the very resent past. Core sampling and soil testing prior to the land purchase might have placed the $6,773.40 on the back of the seller (a private land developer) instead of the taxpayers. (The grant to build this temple mount of a farmers market comes from the taxpayers.) Within the first month of building this farmers market the County has spent almost a quarter of the projects contingency funds. Commissioners had only the printed reports for answers to their questions no one in authority from the construction company attended the meeting.
Schools – Capital Outlay
“Prior to the adoption of the FY 2013-14 Budget Ordinance, the Vance County Schools were unable to provide a revised itemized list of capital outlay based on the amount of funds allocated for that purpose.” I have one beginning of the year essay questions for the school administrators and Vance County School Board. Why are you more than a month behind completion of your homework, providing the Board of County Commissioners with the required itemized list of capital outlay?
Volunteer Fire Department Audits
Finally all the audits are in for the volunteer fire departments and the rescue squad. The rescue squad had a qualified audit report. A qualified audit report basically indicates that the auditors are unable to balance the books or there is a material weakness such as at the COG. Mr. Asycue asked the Commissioners for permission to send a letter to the rescue squad that another qualified audit report would not be in their favor for funding. Commissioner Taylor succinctly summarized the discussion saying he opposed funding the Warren County free clinic because their bookkeeping or account system was unreliable adding he would not fund the rescue squad or a fire department if their next audit report is unqualified. I have a suggestion for the multiple fire departments and rescue squad, use one centralized accounting system for all funding. This will impose common bookkeeping and accounting practices and significantly reduce overall audit cost.
Round two of the bidding for water meters has started. If you recall Robert Bernard, our principle contact with Hobbs & Church the developer of the water project, was unable to answer any of Commissioner Taylors’ pointed business specific questions regarding the proposed water. A special sub-committee of the Water Board met in mid-July to re-write the criteria for water meters. Mr. Asycue did not include a copy of the new criteria in the commissioners’ public meeting packet. The vendors have until August 16, 2013, to submit their bids. The Water Board will meet on September 3, to approve the bids for the water meters. The excitement of that even was palpable because with the meters Henderson’s city water will be flowing into the homes of those who signed up for county wide water. Commissioner Taylor, much the businessman, pressed Mr. Bernard on the date water will begin to flow. He asked for a specific date, such as mid-September, late-September, September 15, or 20th or 25th. Mr. Bernard was as well informed this month as he was last month, he had no answer. Mr. Asycue offer October 1, as a possible date. Commissioner Brummitt again asked the hard question; how much will the water cost a county resident. Mr. Bernard flatly stated, “I’m not spearheading that.” Last month he said he lacked qualifications to answer questions about water meters this month he has no answers to cost of water and start of it flowing. Makes one wonder why Mr. Asycue said that Mr. Bernard was our Hobbs and Church representative until the end of this project.
Sandra Grissom, Linwood Martin, Byron Mason, Samaria Carter, and Sarah Mansur
The Commissioners’ said good bye to Ms. Grissom, upon her retirement as our Veterans Services Office “administrator” then welcomed Mr. Martin the new Veterans Services Office “administrator”. Our collective best to Ms. Grissom. Mr. Martin welcome you have some big shoes to fill. Mr. Mason thanked the Commissioners for the opportunity to serve and learn as our intern. He is headed back to that chapel on a hill university to continue his studies in accounting. Ms. Carter introduced herself to the Commissioners as our county’s NCACC 4-H Representative. A soft-spoken young lady and a shining light of the future. We can only wish that both would return when they complete their educational endeavors. Mr. Asycue took a moment to introduce Sarah Mansur to the Commissioners. Ms. Mansur is the latest addition to the august staff of the Daily Dispatch. She also hails from that chapel on a hill university.