By Tim Gardner
Initial funding for a new roof at Crossnore School, notice that the County’s upcoming annual fiscal year audit and adoptions of resolutions, including one honoring Avery High’s 2020 Dual Team and Individual Team State Wrestling Championships were key topics during the Avery Commissioners regular monthly meeting March 2.
All Commissioners attended, including: Chairperson Martha Hicks; Vice-Chairman Tim Phillips; Blake Vance; Dennis Aldridge; and Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr. Also attending were other top County Officials-County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr.; Assistant County Manager and Clerk to the Board of Commissioners Cindy Turbyfill; County Finance Officer Tim Greene; and County Attorney Michaelle Poore.
At the request of the Avery County School System, the Commissioners unanimously (5-0) approved an initial payment for $45,000.00 for the new Crossnore School Roof Project.
Also, by unanimous vote, the Commissioners authorized Sharon Gillespie, Certified Public Accountant of Spruce Pine, to conduct the County’s financial statements audit for the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2020. The audit will begin in July 2020 and will be issued no later than October 31, 2020 at a fee not to exceed $36,400.00.
The Finance Officer noted that this fee includes no increase from the prior fiscal year’s audit and also includes the County’s Fire Commission Audit.
The Commissioners also adopted all resolutions by unanimous vote. They included:
*Recognizing the Avery County High School State 1-A Classification Wrestling Team which won the North Carolina High School Athletics Association State Dual Team and Individual State Championships—the first team state titles for the Vikings in any sport—that brought ultimate sports acclaim and honor to the high school and county.
*Funding the leases of possible purchases of Apple, Inc. products for Avery County Schools. Those products include laptop computer hardware, software and related computer equipment and services to be used for instructional purposes. This resolution covers the school years 2020-2021 through 2023-2024 in the total amount of $1,479,702.03. The contract will result in substantial savings to the county, according to Jeff Jaynes, Avery Schools Finance Officer.
*Avery County being committed to partnering with the United State Census Bureau and the State of North Carolina and will:
1-Support the goals for the 2020 Census and will help disseminate 2020 Census Information
2-Encourage all County residents to participate in events and initiatives that will raise the over-all awareness of the 2020 Census and increase participation
3-Facilitate Census advocates to speak to County and Community Organizations
4-Encourage census takers as they help our county complete an accurate count
5-Strive to help achieve a complete and accurate count of all persons within our borders
In further County business:
*The Finance Officer also told the Commissioners that the County has received an additional $10,967.00 in funds from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety for the Juvenile Crime Convention Council. There are no required matching funds from the county.
*In a letter, Avery Social Services Director Barbara Jones told the Commissioners that the County has received new allocations of $527.00 and $4,761.00 for the State for the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program.
*Mountain Electric Co-Op/Operation Pocket Change has given the Avery Sheriff’s Department a $1,200.00 grant to be used for the DARE program.
*County Tax Administrator Bruce Daniels advised the Commissioners that the County collected $503,978.84 for the month of February.
*Barrier, Jr. also reminded the Commissioners that bid opening for the new Community Room at the Avery County Extension Service complex will be held on Thursday, March 5 at 3:30 p.m. in the Commissioners Board Room.
*Appointed Dennis Quackenbush, a retired Lutheran Minister, to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.
The Commissioners will hold their next regular monthly meeting in their Board Room in the County’s Administration Building on Monday, April 6, beginning at 3:30 p.m.