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JEFFERSON — The Ashe County Board of Commissioners met for its first meeting of the month Tuesday, Sept. 8 at the Ashe County Courthouse.

The meeting was the first since the arrest of Commissioner Larry Dix, who was arrested Aug. 27 and charged with four counts of having indecent liberties with a child, Ashe Post & Times previously reported. Dix was not present for the meeting. As he has not officially resigned from his position and he was not mentioned in the meeting.

First on the board’s agenda was returning to a proposed policy which would protect “whistle blowers” who are county employees. The policy was brought forward at its previous meeting Aug. 17; however, it was tabled due to not having gone through the proper committees.

Commissioner William Sands noted some disagreements with the chain of communication with the policy, mainly curious why people in certain positions would be reported to certain others. Both Sands and Commissioner Larry Rhodes noted the policy’s plan for reporting wrongdoing by the county manager, who would be reported to the sheriff and not the board of commissioners. The decision was made to change the wording from notifying the sheriff to notifying the chairman of the board of commissioners and the county attorney. It was decided to send the proposed policy back through the county’s policy committee one last time before approval.

County Manager Adam Stumb asked for the board to accept a grant of $24,035 from the N.C. Department of Public Safety for the purchase of 23 Motorola Axon body cameras, while amending the county’s budget to appropriate the money to the ACSO. The motion was unanimously approved.

Stumb also spoke to the board about a financing proposal for the purchase of Viper radios for the ACSO. Stumb said three proposals were sent out, with First National Bank and LifeStore making offers. First National’s 2.01 percent interest rate was chosen over LifeStore’s 2.1 percent, giving the county an annual payment of $50,974 for five years. Stumb also noted the expectation is that the county will pay it off entirely before the end of the five-year period. The board unanimously approved going with First National.

In the commissioner comments portion of the meeting, Rhodes noted the upcoming anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, while also mentioning recent successes of Wilkes Community College. Sands took the time to remind people to be careful while the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and the state continues to reopen. Commissioner Paula Perry gave her support for teachers, and asked people to think of them and donate as many teachers are having to buy their own supplies for their students. Commissioner Todd McNeill ended with praise for the recent Wi-Fi hotspots project from the school system alongside other organizations.

The next meeting of the Ashe County Board of Commissioners is Monday, Sept. 21.

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