Retreat to shape Vance County board’s focus

Jan. 22, 2014 @ 08:59 PM

Major budget considerations, the affordability of county water, expanding the local economy and the elimination of empty structures are just a couple topics up for discussion as Vance County commissioners convene today for their annual planning retreat.

The meeting, scheduled for five hours, is open to the public and takes place at 10 a.m. in the Satterwhite Point Community Building, commonly referred to as the glasshouse.

The commissioners and county administration will receive an overview on the state of the county, brainstorm specific board goals for the 2014-2015 fiscal year and lead presentations on 10 items submitted for consideration.

David Beck, county finance director, will present an overview of the county’s finances and Porcha Brooks, the county tax administrator, will explain the process of revaluating the county’s property tax base, according to the planning retreat agenda materials.

The county will hire a professional consulting firm to perform the 2016 revaluation that is estimated to cost $700,000, according to agenda materials.

In addition to the cost of completing the property tax revaluation, the commissioners will discuss four other projects that are expected to have an impact on the fiscal year 2014-2015 budget: capital improvements at Vance-Granville Community College, building security upgrades to the Social Services buildings, computer software license purchases and salary adjustments for employees.

The costs of capital improvements at VGCC will be split between the two counties with Vance County financing 75 percent and Granville County financing the remaining 25 percent. Vance County will budget $115,000 annually for 10 years to fund the college’s capital improvement projects.

Commissioner Dan Brummitt will discuss improving the affordability of county water and commissioner Tommy Hester will discuss reducing the number of vacant county buildings, specifically the First National Bank on Main Street, the N.C National Guard building on Dabney Drive, the old school administration building and the Vance Manor building.

Earlier this month, the county began construction on phase two of the county water system and turned on the system for some residents in phase one.

The county water district estimates there will be 329 residential customers with active connections and 224 residential customers paying only the $30 base fee during this first year.

The total number of customers is projected to increase to 620 in 2015-16, 977 in 2016-17, 979 in 2017-18 and 980 in 2018-19.

Chairwoman Deborah Brown will lead the discussion on improving recreational opportunities for youth, elderly and disadvantaged members of the community and commissioner Terry Garrison will speak on growing the local economy through small businesses.

Commissioner Archie Taylor will talk about the use of social media to promote the county, commissioner Gordon Wilder is responsible for the fiscal year 2014-2015 budget timeline and commissioner Eddie Wright will present on developing an action plan for a new county animal shelter.

County manager Jerry Ayscue will address the three topics suggested by county resident Michael Bobbitt at the commissioner’s Jan. 6 monthly meeting.

Bobbitt asked the commissioners to explore options for reducing the costs of volunteer fire department audits, to examine the possibility of relocating the county’s data centers, and to consider performing a general audit of the Vance County computer systems.

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.