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JEFFERSON — The Ashe County Board of Commissioners held a meeting on Feb. 1 to discuss the upcoming month and updates on the county.

Beginning the presentations of the meeting, Executive Director of the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce Kitty Honeycutt provided updates to the commissioners and a recap about what the Chamber does for the county.

”We are a private, nonprofit, voluntary membership association,” Honeycutt said. “This serves as a unified voice for the business community.”

Honeycutt expressed how well the Chamber employees represent the work put forth and how they take care of the county. She also reiterated the visitor’s center the Chamber holds and how it allows tourists and newcomers to engage in and become knowledgeable of the county.

Representing 446 members, either individuals or business owners, the Chamber worked both in office and from home during quarantine to ensure the success and growth of their members.

In 2020, with the pandemic in full force, the Chamber teamed with Ashe County Job Development and received $100,000, and raised an additional $52,000 which allowed them to give small business grants through the lockdown.

In continuation, Honeycutt spoke more on the visitor’s center.

”We promote economic opportunities while also serving as a welcome center for the county and an information resource,” said Honeycutt. “In a typical year, we’ll have 13,000 visitors through the door and 2020 was no exception.”

The Chamber was able to partner with AppHealthCare to distribute more than 2,500 masks to visitors and residents in the past year.

With the partnerships nestled within of the Chamber, they were able to award more than nine scholarships to students and teachers in 2020.

The Chamber has also taken charge of the Blue Ridge Brutal Bike Ride, allowing incoming tourism and a spike in economy for the county. It is scheduled for Aug. 21.

Tax Administrator Chris Lambert presented a request for approval in advertising tax liens which will be put into place in April. The commissioners approved this request.

Terri Hopkins, volunteer coordinator then requested the eligibility to hold the Annual Volunteer Awards Ceremony.

”This year, like last year, we’re still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hopkins. “Last year we didn’t get to actually have the ceremony. We’re wanting to do it a little different this year.”

Hopkins said that the volunteers are aware that they will not be able to gather, so the board would like to hold a drive through ceremony at the county’s senior center.

The ceremony was approved by the commissioners and is set to take place during National Volunteer Week in April.

Sheriff Phil Howell then presented the budget amendments for the sheriff’s department.

In the previous year, the sheriff’s department received a grant for four new police vehicles, which at the time was not needed. Howell requested that this grant be placed back into the 2021 budget in order to replace a recently totaled vehicle.

The commissioners made a motion to approve the request.

County Manager Adam Stumb then provided a revised Century Link Easement to the Courthouse, which was approved.

The meeting ended in a resolution to name a section of US 221 in honor of Senator Steve Goss. This resolution came as request for extension of the existing section of highway.

Chairman Todd McNeill then pointed out that they received word from the Department of Transportation stating that a dedicated stretch of highway cannot exceed five miles. The original point of the dedication is exactly five miles from the county line.

The resolution was then approved.

The Ashe County Board of Commissions will meet again on Feb. 15 at 9 a.m.

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