Vance commissioners hold hearing on budget to get public input

May. 31, 2014 @ 05:08 PM

Residents get the chance to speak out Monday in a public hearing that could mean geographical and financial changes to Vance County in the coming months.

The Vance County Board of Commissioners will open its monthly meeting with a public hearing on the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget. The meeting will be held at 122 Young St.

At $44 million, the proposed budget made room for county employee pay increases but included property tax raises of about 4 percent to the ad valorem rate. That is a jump to 81 cents per $100 valuation from 78.2 cents — the first change in five years.

The board has held three work sessions to shave the budget and rearrange expenditures with few public attendees.

Chairwoman Deborah Brown said she hopes residents will come out Monday and tell commissioners what they want.

“The primary issue for the public to be aware of is the public meeting for 6 p.m.,” she said. “We will hear from the public about things they may be interested in, such as tax increases, and other parts of the budget that the public feels we might need to address.”

This is the only public hearing scheduled so far. Several commissioners have already said they would not vote for property tax raises.

Following the budget hearing, the board will conduct hearings on the renaming of a creek that flows into Flat Creek and three other tributaries around Vance County.

At the May board meeting, brothers Jim and William Barker drove from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to submit the request that the creek be named Barker Creek in memory of their great-grandparents, who lived in the area. The creek is currently unnamed.

“We assumed that it was Flat Creek, but we grew up calling it Barker Creek,” William Barker said. “My brother did some investigation and found that they were unnamed. It was just a hunch, and we thought, see what they say. We are trying to preserve the history and focus as things develop around it.”

A public hearing to rezone land located at 95 Old Poplar Road, Henderson, will follow. The land was recently occupied by dairy farmers but now sustains one farmhouse and one residential tenant dwelling.

Property owners Crews Family Farms submitted the request to rezone the nearly 80 acres to allow commercial use.

Also during the meeting, County Manager Jerry Ayscue will recommend various action to board members:

• Approval to transfer Vance County Schools’ capital outlay fund money from renovations at Carver Elementary School to support replacement of equipment at Eaton-Johnson Middle School.

• Review an agreement between Henderson and the county on the Justice Assistance Grant of about $6,000 to purchase equipment for the Vance County Sheriff’s Office and Henderson Police Department.

• Review a fireworks permit request for Independence Day celebrations at Kerr Lake from the Vance County Tourism Department.

• Approve designating Vance County as a Purple Heart county in honor of wounded soldiers.

Also during the meeting, the board will hear recommendations from Porcha Brooks, tax administrator, who will present her selection of the firm to be contracted to conduct the county’s property revaluation next year.

 

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.