On Tuesday, the Yadkin County commissioners approved the two contract bids from Charles D. Lowder for the East Bend water line project slated to begin late this year. That approval is tentative pending final approval from the Department of Environmental Quality as it is the financing source for the project, said County Manager Lisa Hughes. The county is still working to obtain the last few easements for the project.
Also approved at the meeting was an amendment on a recycling grant the county received earlier this year, a lease proposal with Southeastern Emergency Equipment for monitor/defibrillators and a grant agreement for economic incentives for B&G Foods. A final change order from New Atlantic was approved. The change order is a reconciliation of the construction contract to close out that contract with the county, the result of which is a credit to the county of $69,604.50.
During her manager’s report, Hughes alerted the board to a property tax concern brought to the county from the town of Yadkinville. Hughes said she was contacted by Yadkinville town officials in regard to the space the county is renting to medical providers in the former Yadkin Valley Community Hospital facility. As the county owns the property they are not required to pay property taxes. Yadkinville officials, however, claim that as the county is functioning in a manner similar to a private landlord by renting the space that they should now be required to pay property taxes.
Hughes said she brought the matter to the county lawyer and tax assessor, as well as an official with the North Carolina School of Government.
“Chris McLaughlin with the School of Government basically laughed and said counties don’t pay property taxes,” Hughes said. McLaughlin did say some type of formula could be created for cases such as this.
Board Chairman Kevin Austin instructed Hughes to look into the matter further.
“We could probably check with other communities to see what’s normal. The quick answer though is that we’re trying to do something to benefit the community and bring business and stature to Yadkinville, etc.,” Austin said.
“One thing that differs us from a private landlord is that a private landlord is in it to make money, we’re simply charging rent to pay utilities and cover our costs. We’re not making a profit off renting the space,” Hughes added.
In other business, Jessica Wall, assistant director of human services, gave a brief presentation to the board during the meeting in regard to several community health action plans. These plans are the result of the recent community health assessment completed by the human services department. Items identified as high priority from the survey results were a lack of knowledge/access to physical activity, prescription drug abuse and overdoses and chronic health conditions.
Included in the plans to address these issues is to create or identify additional walking trails and work with senior centers and other community groups to promote walking for exercise. In regard to addressing prescription drug overdoses in the county, the action plan involves working with the state to obtain grant funds for a naloxone dispensing campaign. Naloxone is an antidote that can be administered in the case of opioid drug overdose.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.