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Avery Board of Commissioners Approve the New Summit View Housing Development

By Tim Gardner

The Avery County Board of Commissioners had a light agenda during their regular monthly meeting September 5, with approval of the new Summit View Housing Development a highlight.

The commissioners usually meet as a Board on a Monday, but the September regular monthly meeting was on Tuesday because the Labor Day holiday is on the first Monday of September.

Four of the commissioners — Chairwoman Martha Hicks, Vice-Chairman Tim Phillips, Dennis Aldridge, and Robert Burleson — were present for the meeting, as were County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr., Assistant County Manager and Clerk to the Board Cindy Turbyfill, County Finance Officer Caleb Hogan, and County Attorney Michaelle Poore. 

Commissioner Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr. was absent.

The Summit View Housing Development is located at 650 Mullin Hill Road in the Three Mile/Ingalls Community.  Summit View is owned by the Elevate Land Group of Mooresville, NC.  Wheels Contracting of Spear is also heaving involved in the development project. 

The project’s local top contact is Derek Buchanan, who is in charge of its Development and Sales for Elevate Land Group and also co-owns Wheels Contracting. 

According to Avery Inspections and Planning Department Director Allison Kidd, the Summit View properties passed inspection and meet all guidelines of the County’s subdivision ordinance. Summit View was previously approved by the Avery County Planning Board on August 28.

The commissioners also adopted a resolution authorizing the lease of property in the Linville Township to Daymark Recovery Services, Inc., effective July 1, 2023 for three years for the sum of $2,000.00 per month.  Daymark Recovery Services, Inc. will use the property to provide mental and substance abuse services to the County.

In other action, the commissioners approved the August 2023 Tax Report from Tax Administrator Andrea Turbyfill that $5,071,330.57 was collected in taxes due the county during the month. 

Turbyfill noted that as of the morning of September 6, a total of $9,484,301.70 has been collected by the county’s tax department during 2023.

The commissioners also approved designating Avery Fire Marshall Paul Buchanan and County Finance Officer Caleb Hogan the authority to execute and file applications for federal and/or state assistance, specifically to secure a generator for the Avery Senior Citizens Center.

Additionally, the commissioners adopted budget amendments as requested by Hogan that included their respective details and monetary amounts: 

*The Department of Soil and Water received a trail and stream restoration grant in the amount of $173,000.00 from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ).

*The Department of Agricultural Extension Service received a phytophthora root rot mitigation grant for $3,739.00 from the North Carolina Christmas Tree Association.

*The County received a grant from Dogwood Health Trust for the “CRAVE” AND “WAVE” projects that will make various telecommunication modifications for the large and small courtrooms as required by the Court Judicial System.  These projects have not been completed and invoices were not received in fiscal year 2022-2023 and funds in the amount of $25,000.00 will be rolled forward into the current 2023-2024 fiscal year to pay for the projects.

*The Department of Central Dispatch added a fourth console in February 2023, but did not receive a bill from AT&T for installing the console.  According to AT&T, the County will not be billed for the console completion until this month (September) and funds in the amount of $16,111.43 will be rolled forward into the current 2023-2024 fiscal year to pay the bill.

*Emergency-911 Department employees received training from the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch in May 2023. But the County had to delay billing the county for its training due to the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch’s computer system being hacked. Funds in the amount of $1,050.00 will be rolled forward into the current 2023-2024 fiscal year to pay the bill for the training.

*Additional funding for the Central Dispatch Department in the amount of $95,000.00 for the County’s radio tower upgrade project.  The fund increase is to allow analog use for the new tower equipment.

*Issuing a change order in the amount of $99,191.07 for the Department of Social Services Building Addition and Renovation Project.

All voting by the commissioners Tuesday was done unanimously (4-0) by their members present.

During his County Manager’s report segment, Barrier, Jr. said that the projected opening for the county’s new Department of Social Services (DSS) complex would be in January 2024.

He also noted that Avery will be the first of the State of North Carolina’s 100 counties to implement the Complete Access to Broadband (CAB) Grant, which will be used for the installation of Broadband Internet throughout the county.

Barrier, Jr. said that Avery’s total CAB funding will be $3,410,000.00, which includes $3,000,000.00 in the American Rescue Act funds that the commissioners have designated for Broadband service.   The CAB Program is a competitive bidding program that provides an opportunity for individual North Carolina County governments to partner with the North Carolina Department of Internet Technology (NCDIT) to fund broadband infrastructure projects in unserved and underserved areas of each county. 

The commissioners will next meet on Monday, September 18 in their Board Room on the top floor of the County’s Administration Building, located at 175 Linville Street in Newland. The meeting will begin at 3:30 p.m.

The commissioners will also host a round-table discussion public forum  about re-entry housing in the county on Thursday, September 7 in their Board Room, beginning at 7:00 p.m.