County changes road names, launches new tax software

Published 5:33 pm Saturday, October 11, 2014

Beaufort County commissioners gathered Monday for their regular meeting, one in which all of Commissioner Hood Richardson’s agenda items were removed from the agenda by a 4-3 vote. The removed items revolved around the current status of the Beaufort County Detention Center, the building of a new detention center and bringing in a third party auditor to investigate the status of money allotted to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office narcotics unit, as well as the status of weapons in the department’s possession.

The following items were resolved by commissioners:

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Commissioners voted 6-1 to restore street signs in the Pamlico Bluffs neighborhood on the south side of the Pamlico River. Earlier in the year, the board was asked to allow Pamlico Bluffs residents to rename the roads, as they were named after the original property developers with whom residents had been embroiled in a legal battle. Permission to adopt new road names was granted by the board and the signs were replaced at Pamlico Bluffs property owners’ expense. Monday, however, the decision was reversed at the behest of Stan and Alma Friedman, the original developers. Commissioners Stan Deatherage, Al Klemm and Gary Brinn publicly apologized to the Friedmans for allowing the road names to be changed, each saying they did not have all the information when the decision was made and the situation had been misrepresented. The lone dissenting vote came from Commissioner Robert Belcher, who stated that his vote was not based on anything personal, but on the fact that Pamlico Bluffs residents own 13 ½ of the 14 lots in the neighborhood and should be allowed to give the roads names they prefer.


Beaufort County’s tax collector and tax assessor, Wyn Kinion and Bobby Parker, announced the county’s new tax-billing program had gone live. The upgrade involved a massive data transfer that Parker called challenging and “a long time getting here.” The Farragut property-tax software is designed to streamline the tax-billing and tax-paying process, increase revenues and cut down on workload. Kinion called the new system “a tremendous step forward in getting billing and information online.” On the morning of Oct. 6, Parker gave Farragut the go ahead to print over 50,000 bills — by 3:27 p.m. that day, they had been mailed, he said.


Commissioners voted to 7-0 to replace a 43-year-old air conditioning unit at Beaufort County Community College, as repair costs for the unit have cost the county over $80,000 in the past four years. Beaufort County Schools Superintendent Don Phipps also sought the commissioners’ approval and support—but no funding — for an Energy Saving Initiative, a project that upgrades existing fixtures and devices with more energy efficient ones. Phipps said the project requires no capital outlay, but is paid off through the guaranteed savings.


A 7-0 vote closed out a Community Block Grant designated for building reuse at Pronamic Industries’ location at the Beaufort County Industrial Park on Page Road. The manufacturer of fiberglass media used in filters created 221 jobs, far exceeding the original goal, according to Beaufort County Manager Randell Woodruff.


Another 7-0 vote decided the renaming of Keyesville Road, which was rerouted to prevent accidents at one of the road’s sharp curves. Another road, a straightaway that essentially bypassed the curve, was constructed, but both roads were named Keyesville Road, a concern for residents should they ever have need of emergency services. At the suggestion of Mid-East Commission planner Bryant Buck, commissioners voted to rename the bypassed area Old Keyesville Road to allay confusion.


The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners will meet Monday in a special called meeting regarding the acquisition of the surplus VOA property from the federal government. Last month, commissioners were asked to take constructive possession of the property by signing an agreement with the National Park Service. Commissioners voted to add conditions to the agreement, one of which was that the county would require the use of 280 acres of the 2,800-acre parcel for a short-term revenue producing use along the lines of a solar farm. NPS officials informed commissioners the following week that the added conditions were unacceptable. Commissioners Richardson, Ed Booth, Gary Brinn and Woodruff will travel to Washington, D.C., this week to discuss the matter with NPS and General Services Administration officials, as well as with North Carolina’s legislators.

The special called meeting will be held at 4 p.m. at the Beaufort County Administrative offices at 121 W. Third St., Washington.