County to talk EMS tax, lottery funds and BCCC

Published 2:15 pm Monday, April 3, 2017

Adding two towns to EMS tax districts, asking the state the up counties’ share of the lottery funds and replacing a member of Beaufort County Community College’s Board of Trustees in the midst of the school’s search for a new president are all on tonight’s agenda of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners.

A public hearing regarding the proposed public-private partnership between the county and the Beaufort County Committee of 100 to build an industry-ready building in the Washington-Beaufort County Industrial Park will start the meeting.

The Town of Pantego and the Town of Bath are considering ways to be included in existing EMS Rescue tax districts—Pantego by inclusion in the Pantego Township Rescue Service Tax District and Bath is considering the same option, as well as providing funding for Beaufort County EMS directly from its general fund. Both towns are served by Beaufort County EMS, though residents are exempt from pay the service district tax, as they cannot be imposed on town residents unless the municipality agrees to it by resolution. If territory is added to a tax district, a public hearing will be held in June.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Frankie Waters is asking fellow commissioners to reach out to state legislators to ask for more money from the state’s lottery fund. Statutorially authorized appropriations of 40 percent were reduced by the state during the 2015-16 budget, resulting in less lottery proceeds funding education. At 40 percent, Beaufort County’s share prior to 2015-16 was $1,001,208; in 2015-16, it was reduced to $481,351. Lottery funds can be used by counties for education purposes, including capital outlay projects, planning, construction, enlargement, improvement, repair or renovation of public school buildings and for the purchase of land for public school buildings, or for equipment to implement a local school technology plan. If Waters’ resolution passes the board, it will be forwarded to Gov. Roy Cooper, local legislators serving in the General Assembly and the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and the 99 counties in the state.

Commissioners will consider a replacement on the Board of Trustees for Beaufort County Community College, as Bill Wall resigned from the board effective March 22.

Wall cited his objection to legislative constraints placed on community college boards that have caused a lack of confidence and trust in the system, along with concerns about disclosure of Board of Trustees’ member finances as public records, as well as the board’s choice of an out-of-state BCCC presidential candidate.

“As stated during personal interview, the selected presidential candidate believes that diversity of faculty and staff should be at the same ratio as diversity of the student body. When the transformation of faculty and staff diversity begins to be implemented, I fear that the (Board of Trustees) will be subject to much turbulence,” Wall wrote in his resignation letter.

Commissioners are considering former Beaufort County Chief Financial Officer and interim county manager Jim Chrisman as Wall’s replacement.