County talks roads, books

Published 8:15 pm Tuesday, May 12, 2009

By Staff
They also discuss PCS permit
Staff Writer
At Monday’s meeting of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners, N.C. Department of Transportation officials got approval for a plan that includes widening Harvey Road, which runs from N.C. Highway 32 to U.S. Highway 264.
The plan also includes paving several short roads around the county. N.C. DOT District Engineer Woody Jarvis told commissioners his department has finished much of the work on last year’s plan, but funds are too tight to do the paving, he said.
On another matter, Commissioner Hood Richardson argued that the state should provide textbooks to home-schooled students.
He also wants the county commissioners to have more control of the Beaufort County Board of Education budget.
Richardson said he thinks the school board will “try to bulldoze us.”
He also predicted that when the funding agreement between the schools and the commissioners expires “the school system is going to be back to their wild-and-woolly ways.”
The funding agreement stems from a lawsuit about how much money the county must give the schools to operate. That lawsuit is currently being decided by the N.C. Supreme Court.
Richardson said he thinks the schools manage their money poorly.
Commissioner Al Klemm criticized the budget sheets the schools provide to the county commissioners.
He added, “Some of it is fairly incomprehensible.”
Richardson also complained that it is too difficult to record a real estate map in the county. He blamed “high-handed government employees” and proposed pay cuts as part of the solution, citing the example of a map that was denied because it wasn’t in the desired scale.
County Manager Paul Spruill said officials had apologized in that case, but that the process still could be smoother. Spruill and Richardson will work to solve the problem, they said in the meeting.
Spruill also reiterated that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has largely backed a plan by PCS Phosphate to expand its mine in Aurora. Spruill said the largest danger to the plan now comes from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The commissioners briefly discussed a bill in the legislature pertaining to hunting with dogs, but tabled the matter until late in the meeting so staff could research exactly what the legislation proposes. Look for coverage of the discussion in tomorrow’s Washington Daily News.