Concerns diminishing

Jan. 23, 2013 @ 07:27 PM

Two guests from the N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University helped answer concerns of county commissioners during Wednesday’s annual planning retreat at Satterwhite Point Community Building.

The program, a public service center in the college of engineering, advances the sustainable energy economy by educating, demonstrating and providing support for clean energy technologies, practices and policies.

“The solar farms presentation was very informative,” said Dan Brummitt, a commissioner for District 4. “It solved some of the concerns that I had with it.”

Brummitt’s concerns, voiced during January’s board meeting of the commissioners, mainly involved removal costs.

“Primarily I was concerned with the residual value,” Brummitt said. “What they were saying, I believe, is that the residual value, the salvage value of the operations, on a three-fold basis, would cover the cost of removal for the site.

“It solved some of the concerns that I had with it.”

Terry Garrison hopes to be presented with an ordinance the board can agree upon during next month’s meeting.

“There were some answers provided about solar farms,” Garrison said. “We are going to address that at our next board meeting, and hopefully we can get some resolve with respect to adoption of an ordinance.

“I’m looking forward to that.”

Porcha Brooks, Vance County tax administrator, provided information on Tag and Tax Together, a program requiring the payment of vehicle property taxes at the same time vehicle registration renewals are due. The program will be implemented July 1.

Vance County Emergency Operations Director Brian Short provided an overview of the Emergency Operations Department’s new video designed to help with the recruitment of qualified emergency telecommunications.

Jerry Ayscue, county manager, gave the board a financial overview, providing basic information on current finances and budgeting for the upcoming fiscal year.

During the current fiscal year, revenues have been declared at projected levels, not showing significant signs of increasing.

With an economy that is not recovering rapidly, department heads have been managing their operational budgets closely.

Input was sought from the board of commissioners as to their financial expectations and priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.

A proposed budget for the fiscal year 2013-2014 is being composed, and should be presented to county commissioners by May 1.

Discussion of the overly-crowded Vance County Animal Shelter brought a unanimous decision by commissioners to place a sign at the donated, 5-acre plot of land on Brodie Road, designating it as the location for a new shelter.

The move would solidify the fact that the commissioners are looking to rebuild.

“They should have a sign out there, somebody suggested, that says, future home,” said Archie Taylor, representing District 2. “We’ve been given five acres and all that kind of stuff.”

Also agreed upon by commissioners was the need for animal control management in Vance County.

“We should have some management control stuff with the neuter and spay programs,” Taylor said. “We just need to know what it cost and all that. We asked the county manager to bring us back some answers.”

Students from Northern Vance, on a mission to win N.C. State University’s Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation, presented their prototype of a product called Sirocco, designed to dislodge dust from a computer.

Tommy Hester, board chairman, agreed to help spread the word on an online public vote to determine the winner, beginning Feb. 4 and continuing through Feb. 11.

“Any time we’ve got positive things in this community in terms of education, we need to let people know,” Hester said.

Wednesday’s commissioner retreat provided time for board members to gain knowledge on county matters, while also allowing ample time for each commissioner to voice comments and concerns.

“I think it’s always good to hear individual commissioners as well as the full board discuss ideas,” Ayscue said. “All was helpful to me as a manager.”

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