Few comment on county budget

Jun. 04, 2013 @ 09:22 AM

As the Rutherford County Commission rolled through a meeting that took less than an hour, the highlight of the meeting drew very few comments.

On Monday, commissioners held a public hearing regarding the 2013-14 county budget.

Only five members of the community elected to speak on the county's budget — which is scheduled to be approved at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Isothermal Community College President Walter Dalton reiterated his request — an 11 percent increase over last year's county funding — was not frivolous.

During a budget meeting with the ICC Board of Trustees, Dalton said the budget increase was for a planning increase in energy costs and state mandated increases in salaries and health benefits for employees.

Three members of the public addressed the budget on behalf of the Rutherford Outdoor Coalition.

Their comments were to request the county add between $3,000 and $7,750 to partially fund a full-time trails stewardship coordinator to help with trail planning and creation across the county. A bulk of the funding for the position will come from the Mountain Lands Conservation and the position would be provided by AmeriCorps.

"We have had difficulty and we would like an experienced person that knows how to put in trails," said Josh Maddry. "We are looking to put in trails in Lake Lure and would love someone who knows about trails to work with the Town of Lake Lure."

The Outdoor Coalition has been working to finish trails inside the Isothermal Community College campus. Maddry said there are 5-8 trails being planned across the campus.

Loyce Broughton, another member of the Coalition, said the position can be more than just trails planning and coordination.

"You see a lot of children that are in need of outdoor activities," Broughton said. "It would be nice to have someone to come in and coordinate a school program."

She said the Outdoor Coalition is attempting to raise funds through auctions and other outdoor groups and the county may only have to contribute $3,000 - $4,000 of the salary.

The budget proposed by Rutherford County Manager Carl Classen in May had no funds for a position match.

In other business, commissioners:

• recognized East Rutherford High School senior Amie Sessoms on being named Distinguished Young Woman of North Carolina;

• appointed Robert Bole to the Broad River Water Authority;

• appointed Dr. William Casp to the Enhanced Recycling Committee;

• made no appointments to the Home and Community Care Block Grant Committee;

• appointed all listed to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Committee;

• reappointed all current members to the Rutherford County Planning Commission;

• appointed Angela Ezell and Karyl Fuller to the Transit Department Advisory Board;

• approved a schedule for county records retention;

• approved the Isothermal Regions Locally Coordinated Human Service Transportation Plan;

• approved a bid from Caldwell Construction Services for $340,065 to pave projects 5 and 6 of the Grey Rock development;

• approved budget amendments;

• approved a surplus vehicle request and gave county staff authority to sell any unneeded or unusable equipment from the Revenue Department renovations.