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home : news : e-news July 20, 2018

12/5/2017 4:56:00 AM
Commissioners Hold Lengthy Meeting
Commissioner Anita McCall was elected vice-chair of the Commissioners at their Monday night meeting.  Bill Beam, who was absent, was re-elected chair.
Commissioner Anita McCall was elected
vice-chair of the Commissioners at their
Monday night meeting.  Bill Beam, who
was absent, was re-elected chair.

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer

Bill Beam proved the old adage is true: if you're not there, they'll give you a job.  Beam was absent from Monday's Lincoln County Commissioners meeting.  He was re-elected chairman.  Anita McCall was elected as vice-chair and presided over a lengthy session including six public hearings.

When they got down to other business, the Commissioners showed their displeasure at a report from Soil and Water Conservation Director Rick McSwain and Planning Director Andrew Bryant on a study of cove soil samples near the Covington development on Lake Norman.

"We've spent nearly $15,000 and don't know any more than we did," said Commissioner Carrol Mitchem.  Commissioners had hired Southern Engineering, a Charlotte firm, to conduct the study in hopes of determining whether silt in coves near the development was from the development.  Rudy Bauer, who lives on Blades Trail near Covington's Eastwood Homes development, has spoken at multiple Commissioners' meetings insisting that runoff from the development is filling up the coves.

Commissioners agreed that Bryant and McSwain would try to find someone who can use the information from the study to answer their question--is Covington's development causing the problem? A similar situation developed several years ago when a former developer was found to be sending excess soil into the lake from the Burton Creek, as it was known then, development.

Commissioners approved two requests from Susan McCracken, who heads up the Social Services Department. One is a plan for the County's Work First program for the period 2019-2022. McCracken told Commissioners that because Lincoln County has done a good job with getting people off welfare and into jobs, it is one of only seven counties in the state which gets to prepare its own Work First program. McCracken's other request was for hiring a Food & Nutrition Employment & Training Coordinator. The federally funded position will try to help people on Supplemental Nutritional Assistance (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) develop skills and make contacts that could improve their job situation and possibly reduce their need for assistance.

Commissioners tabled a contract revision proposal regarding the county's 13 fire departments. Commissioner Martin Oakes noted that the departments got a windfall of a combined $400,000 beyond what they had requested when they presented their budgets last fiscal year. "But we (the County) is paying their Workman's Comp and now we're talking about paying for their audits. Some of the fire tax money in excess of what they asked for should be going to pay for those things and to help pay for the new Viper communication system."

The Viper radio system, which will cost the County a little over four million dollars, is on target to become operational by July 1st, 2018, according to County Fire Marshal Rodney Emmett. Commissioners gave Emmett the go-ahead to accept a $75,000 Rural Economic grant that will help with improvements to the system beyond what was originally budgeted.

Commissioners also gave Animal Services Director Hannah Beaver approval to turn two part-time positions at Animal Control into full-time.

One of the public hearings was on the County's new Land Use Plan that has been developed after multiple public input sessions and public meetings to discuss the proposals. Commissioners Rich Permenter and Martin Oakes showed dissatisfaction with certain parts of the plan and Commissioner Carrol Mitchem questioned whether the plan had been available for public inspection long enough before Monday night's session. The public hearing on the plan was extended until a later date.

Commissioners will hold a mid-monthly meeting on December 18th.

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