By Tim Gardner
During their regular monthly meeting January 6th, the Avery Commissioners unanimously (5-0) voted to amend an allocation to a new total of $130,000.00 for repairs to the Avery County Court House. That includes already approved funds of $98,700.00 for the Court House roofing project with additional funds of $31,300.00 for needed heating and elevator repairs to the Court House, Jail and County Administration buildings.
All Commissioners–Martha Hicks (Chairperson); Tim Phillips (Vice-Chairman); Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr.; Blake Vance; and Dennis Aldridge were present. Other top county officials attending included: County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr.; Finance Officer Tim Greene; Assistant County Manager and Clerk to the Board Cindy Turbyfill; and County Attorney Michaelle Poore.
The commissioners also unanimously approved Todd Hefner of Catawba County, NC as the repair project’s Process Grant Engineer at a cost of $50.00 per hour, not to exceed $5,000.00.
Additionally, Allied Construction and Environmental Services of Shelby, NC was approved by the commissioners at a cost of $1,385.00 for any needed lead paint risk assessment and clearance of lead paint as necessary.
Hefner or Allied Construction and Environmental Services will be paid for any services they provide the county from funds in the Community Development Block Grant program Avery County received. No county funds will be used to pay either.
In other business, the commissioners unanimously:
*Approved a $131,546.16 Rural Assistance Operating Program Grant for Avery County.
The Rural Operating Assistance Program Grant is a state-funded, formula -based grant administered by the NC Department of Transportation for operating costs of passenger trips for counties within the state.
*Approved donating a surplus ambulance to Mayland Community College for its Emergency Medical Services programs after a request for such by Tony Cook, EMS Program Coordinator at MCC.
*Approved the report from Avery Tax Administrator Bruce Daniels that the county collected $19,451,849.15 in taxes for the year of 2019, including $5,767,570.72 for the month of December 2019.
*Re-appointed Jean Ray to the Avery County Joint Community Advisory Committee.
*Approved spending $495.00 in previously allocated funds for a half-page ad in the next edition of the Avery Chamber of Commerce’s Business and Visitor’s Guide (January 2020), of which 45,000 are printed. The advertisement is designed to help promote Avery County as part of its “Come for the day, Stay for a lifetime” mission.
In additional business, the Commissioners:
*Recognized Troy and Tina Cook for their combined 80-plus years of service in various capacities to the citizens of Avery County.
*Received good news from Avery Department of Social Services (DSS) Director Barbara Jones that the county has received an additional North Carolina State allocation of $26,955.00 for its Crisis Intervention Program. The county’s original funds allocation from the state was $67,404.00
The next regular monthly meeting of the commissioners will be Monday, February 3rd, in their Board Room on the second floor of the County Administration Building, located at 175 Pineola Street in Newland.