City wants to keep current arrangement with county

Apr. 28, 2014 @ 10:45 PM

Some members of the Henderson City Council are not yet ready to reinstate a committee with the county.

At its work session Monday night, the council voted unanimously against moving forward with discussions about reestablishing an intergovernmental committee with the Vance County Board of Commissioners.

Councilman Mike Inscoe has been the county liaison, which replaced the intergovernmental committee about three years ago.

Board member Jim Kearney said they were waiting to have the discussion until Mayor Pete O'Geary returned from a medical absence. Council member George Daye was not present Monday night.

County board chairwoman Deborah Brown sent a letter in February requesting the committee be reactivated at the council's March meeting.

In an April letter to O'Geary, Brown said the liaison's purpose was setting the rate for water that Henderson would sell to Vance County's water district.

She said the committee was needed to discuss jointly funding programs.

"In light of negotiations or considerations we now have with the county relative to the things that affect our budget, more specifically,the parks and recreation, I am inclined to think that we might soften our position on this," Kearney said.

The council recently proposed the Vance County commissioners take over operational management of the parks and recreation department.

But council members Sara Coffey, Garry Daeke, Michael Rainey and Inscoe were not supportive of the change.

"I would not go forward at this point," Coffey said. "I think we were much better when we had a representative there. It's nothing personal about anybody there; I just think we are getting a whole lot more accomplished with one person."

Councilwoman Brenda Peace-Jenkins said the county's offer could mean a fresh start for the committee.

"It did not work at that time because of certain people who were on that committee, and I think there have been some changes made, and they've reached out to us," she said. "I think it would look good in the public eye if they could see us working together rather than just a liaison."

But Rainey and Daeke agreed the current arrangement has proved successful.

"Looking at the track record based on the last three years, our relationship with the county was good," Rainey said. "I like the way things are going now. I just think we should be able to get along and move things in the same direction. We are not in competition with the county commissioners, and they are not in competition with us. We should all be working together for the same common good and common goals."

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.