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Avery Fire Commission Chairman Declares No Funds Missing

By Tim Gardner

     Despite recent speculation about missing funds, Avery County’s Fire Commission’s top official said that none are missing from the Fire/Rescue Tax revenue.

     Fire Commission Chairman Bill Beuttell explained that due to a “computer clerical error” approximately $179,000 showed up missing in tax funds when in fact all are accounted for. Beuttell added that the computer error has been corrected.

     The amount speculated as missing was $230,000.00, which Beutell said was an inaccurate figure.

     “There was an error on our computer spread sheet that made the money (approximately $179,000.00) appear to be missing when it is not,” Beuttell added.

     Beuttell released the following statement concerning the funds: “The Avery County Fire Commission has not and presently have not had any tax funds missing or unaccounted for from the Avery County Fire/Rescue Tax revenue. The Avery County Fire Commission is audited annually along with the County of Avery.”

     County Manager Phillip Barrier commended the Fire Commission concerning its work for the County. “I have full confidence in the Fire Commission. Bill (Beuttell), Fire Departments Coordinator Charlie Franklin, the Fire Commission’s Board members and all others involved with it provide exceptional service to our county’s citizens.”

     According to its mission statement, the Avery County Fire Commission is dedicated to providing the highest level of fire protection and prevention to the people of Avery County.

     Since the fire tax was established in 1978 for the well-being of the entire county, the Fire Commission has an obligation to deliver the best possible service within its allocated resources. It’s also the Fire Commission’s goal to deliver services in the most cost-effective manner through the different volunteer fire department units and in compliance with applicable state statutes