Lawsuit, partnership on county agenda

Published 5:30 pm Sunday, April 30, 2017

With next year’s budget presentation on the horizon, other issues will take precedence at Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners.

On the agenda, are the purchase of new system to increase efficiency and flow of information from telecommunicators to firefighters during emergencies, an official agreement to the public-private partnership to construct a shell building in the industrial park and a lawsuit filed against the county by a local political group.

Vic Williams, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office e-911 director, is asking the county to approve the purchase of Emergency Fire Dispatch, a software system and protocol that complements the Emergency Medical Dispatch protocol put into service in January of 2016. EFD would establish a unified standard to triage response according to the severity of an emergency. The protocol costs $74,151, but would be paid for by the North Carolina 9-1-1 fund, and no county funds would be needed.

Approval of a contract between the county and economic development organization Committee of 100 is an item for decision at Monday’s meeting, which includes the purchase by C100 of a lot in the Washington-Beaufort County Industrial Park. The county’s investment would be a maximum of $116,000, not exceeding $35,000 in a given year for marketing, legal expenses, interest, utilities, maintenance and insurance. As the cost of construction will be taken on by C100, and is an estimated $1.1 million, the county would receive 10.55 percent of any net profits in the sale or lease of the property.

The lawsuit against the county filed by Ray Leary, representing Citizens for a Better Government, in on the agenda to be discussed in closed session. CBG alleges that county commissioners violated the state’s open meetings law by going into closed sessions to have discussions that should have been had in public on four separate occasions in 2015. The group is not seeking damages, but is seeking an injunction requiring the board to comply with the law.

In an earlier interview, county Manager Brian Alligood, said that, to his knowledge, the board had not violated the open meetings law.

Monday’s meeting is open to the public and will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Beaufort County Administrative Office, 121 W. Third St.