JEFFERSON — The Ashe County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, July 19 in the third floor courtroom of the Ashe County Courthouse.
Those in attendance were Vice Chair William Sands, Chuck Olive, Jerry Powers and Jonathan Jordan. Chair Todd McNeill was unable to attend due to previous time conflicts, therefore Vice Chair Sands led the meeting.
The meeting began with DSS Director Tracie Downer presenting a monthly departmental update, requesting approval for the Energy Programs Outreach plan as well as the reinstatement of an employee's sick leave.
For the plan, approximately $100,000 is provided through federal funds and Downer stated that no county money will go towards the program. It was then approved by the commissioners.
Downer said that the number of foster children and wards are approximately the same which they continue to serve to lower the numbers. She also requested 67.6 hours of sick leave for a returning employee. The time was approved by the board.
Tax Administrator Chris Lambert then provided a monthly tax report to the board and stated that bills have been coming in since the beginning of July.
"We've had three thousand transactions and have collected over $2 million," said Lambert.
County Manager Adam Stumb then presented the financing authorization resolution which will be the first step in funding for the new middle school. It will layout that there will be a public hearing at the next BOC meeting, August 2, at the Venue of the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce.
Financing will be $47 million in addition to the $15 million of lottery grants provided by the Ashe County Board of Education. Stumb said the county is committed to paying that amount back over the next 20 years.
"We're not locked in yet, but we're getting closer as we move forward with the plan," said Stumb. "The school intends to have bids back by mid August so we'll have a better idea of what the final cost will be for the project."
Commissioner Powers said that they have looked into using some of their COVID-19 relief money to install the HVAC system, which was met with resistance from the Board of Education.
"I think that we should appropriate that money which can be used for that," said Powers. "We should do everything in our power to see that the completion date is completed in a timely manner. The money needs to be set aside, intended for and encouraged for that project to keep the ball rolling."
Approval for the final price will be set around mid September after bids are in.
The board then discussed the previous delays in the project and hope to resolve future situations in order to save time and money.
Vice Chair Sands said that supply costs and building materials have began to drop which he hopes will work in their favor.
The hearing and authorization resolution was approved by the board.