Board OKs purchase of BRHS property

Published 4:24 am Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Staff Writer

The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners on Monday moved forward with the purchase of property from Beaufort Regional Health System after a public hearing drew no comments on the proposal.
The commissioners voted unanimously to buy 19 pieces of property valued at $6 million — including some buildings and undeveloped land — from BRHS for $4.8 million.
The health system’s Board of Commissioners was expected to consider and approve the purchase offer at its meeting Tuesday night. 
The purchase will allow BRHS to reimburse the county $1.57 million it owes as a debt payment on a recent BRHS construction project and give BRHS operating capital as it pursues a partner for a possible merger.
Under the plan approved by the county commissioners, the county will seek approval from the N.C. Local Government Commission for a 15-year loan from First Citizens Bank — at an interest rate of 4.65 percent — to buy the property.
The Local Government Commission likely will consider the proposal in early August, County Manager Paul Spruill told the board.
In related business, a meeting of the county commissioners with Donald C. McNeill, an auditor with the firm Dixon Hughes of Raleigh, was delayed because of a scheduling conflict. McNeill was asked to discuss the 2009 BRHS audit with the commissioners. That meeting will be rescheduled, Spruill told the board.
In other business, the board:
• Heard a complaint about the recent property revaluation from Earl Carney who owns a waterfront home and land at Schooner Point near Belhaven. He said the increase in value of his property — from $214,416 before revaluation to $423,136 after revaluation — is unreasonable.
“I don’t know what’s going on in other parts of the county,” he said. “But where I live, this tax digest is as screwed up as Hector’s goat.”
• Heard a report from Marisol Barr, who works with Martin County Community Action’s weatherization project for Beaufort County. The project, funded largely by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, helps people make their homes more energy efficient. To date, almost 50 homes have been upgrades and some 150 more have received energy audits, she said.
“This program is really good. I think we can help the community,” Barr said.
• Rejected by a 5-2 vote a request for county funds to help pay for travel to a tournament by the 8-year-old-and-under all-star team from the Washington Girls Fast-pitch Softball League. Voting in favor of the motion were Commissioners Robert Cayton and Ed Booth. Voting against the motion were Commissioners Stan Deatherage, Al Klemm, Jerry Langley, Jay McRoy and Hood Richardson.
“I cannot take the taxpayers’ money and use it for this purpose,” said Richardson.
The commissioners generally agreed to support the group with individual contributions.
• Unanimously approved a resolution asking Gov. Beverly Perdue to appoint a candidate from eastern North Carolina to fill a vacant at-large member for rural transportation issues on the N.C. Transportation Board.
• Unanimously approved sending a resolution of appreciation to the family of Eddy Davis, director of planning and economic planning development at the Mid-East Commission.
• Voted 6-0 to appoint Tony Russ, Mac D. Daniels and Lex Mann to a volunteer agriculture district board but tabled appointments to the Beaufort Regional Health System board, the Beaufort County Board of Health and the Richland Township Fire and Rescue Advisory Board.
• Voted 6-0 to approve $3,784.56 in travel requests from county employees.
• Voted 6-0 to designate Langley as the voting delegate to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners annual conference to be held Aug. 26-29.
• Voted 6-0 to authorize the purchase of two Ford F-250 regular-cab trucks, included in the county’s 2010-2011 budget for the Water Department.
• Voted 6-0 to move forward with a project to provide water-service lines to homes on Jefferson, Respess and Cattle Pine roads. A portion of the cost of the project will be paid by the homeowners on the roads, Spruill told the board.
• Voted 6-0 to endorse a $15,789 grant application by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.
• Approved, by a 6-0 vote, a resolution certifying that the dispensing of fuel at Cotton Patch Landing &Marine is consistent with the county’s land-use plan.
All commissioners attended the meeting. Richardson received permission to leave the meeting early.