County approves new access road

Union County auction

While much of the crowd was inside for the weapons auction, some bidders staked claims at the pieces of equipment they were interested in buying.

On Monday, the Union County Board of Supervisors approved a Development Infrastructure Grant agreement for a new access road to Newport Furniture in the former Stratford Futorian plant.
The road will connect Industrial Drive, off North Glenfield Road, to the Newport lot, running approximately parallel to the railroad. Its purpose is also to bypass Rolling Hills Subdivision since the only other existing street leading to the Newport side of the plant runs through the subdivision.
The DIP grant will provide $270,000 along with a $220,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and $270,000 from Newport, county administrator Johnson said. The city and county will split an additional cost of $30,650. That brings the projected cost of the project to $790,650, although bids have not been taken yet.
An auction Saturday of surplus equipment and seized weapons and other items brought in about $125,000 for Union County, officials said Monday.
County Administrator Terry Johnson said surplus equipment sold for about $75,600 and weapons seized by the sheriff’s department brought in about $40,000.
The sale was to get rid of unneeded road equipment and to clear out weapons that had been accumulating for years at the sheriff’s department. Johnson said only three big items did not sell: a tractor, chip spreader and tar truck, all of which had minimum bid requirements that were not met. “They were just worth more to the county to keep than sell for less,” he said.
Most of the money will go into the county’s general fund but Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said that funds from items that had been seized during arrests would go back into the seized asset funds.
Nearly 400 people registered as bidders for the sale, which also allowed some items from private sellers in the equipment part of the sale, and the crowd was estimated to be as large as is seen at the Union County Fair.
In personal appearances, the board heard from resident W. R.  “Pat” Patterson who had a question about delinquent garbage collection fees. Patterson said he had purchased some land several years ago at a public sale after the owner had defaulted on a loan. After keeping the land three or four years, he sold it to another individual but then received a bill saying he owed $141 in delinquent solid-waste collection fees on the land. “I just don’t think it’s right to send a garbage bill for a man who’s been dead 10 years,” he said. Patterson wanted to know whether he is responsible for the bill.
Supervisors said the situation had not been handled properly in that the overdue fee should have been collected from his purchase price when he bought the land. Now that he has sold the land, it is the new owner who is responsible for paying the fee, they said.
Basically, the garbage fee is attached to the land, not the individual. If a renter moves out without paying the garbage collection fee the landlord is obligated to pay it, they said. If a fee is not paid, it results in a lien on the land and can prevent delinquent payers from obtaining vehicle tags.
Board President Danny Jordan said they might have preferred to tie garage collection fees to other utility bills so that electric power could simply be cut off for non-payment. Since more than a half dozen utility companies provide service in Union County, that would not be practical, he said.
Administrator Johnson said the E-911 office has already written the amount down to less than half the original amount and Jordan said supervisors would look into the matter to see what needs to be done.
In other business supervisors:
•    Were told by Sheriff Jimmy Edwards that anyone who heard a loud boom in the downtown area about 8 a.m. Tuesday should not be alarmed. A beaver dam was scheduled to be blown up in Camp Creek Branch at the edge of the Park Along the River.
•    Accepted the resignation of Union County Park and Recreation Commissioners Bobby Pullock and Greg Elder from the fourth and fifth supervisors district. Appointed to replace the two were Kevin Rackley and Glenn Hutcheson.
•    Approved a request to forgive $145.17 in ad valorem taxes for 2013 on Still Waters Restoration Center. The center should have been listed as tax-exempt since it is part of the Baptist Church, attorney Thad Mueller said. Since this was the first year and the tax had not been paid, no actual money was involved so no refund was needed.
•    Approved a manual check for $150 to pay rent on the building used as a Macedonia voting precinct. Board President Jordan said the county apparently had an agreement to pay $25 each time the Macedonia Community Center was used for an election but those involved had failed to turn in claims. The request was to pay for the November 2011, January 2012, March 2012, November 2012 and both 2013 elections.
•    Was asked about participation in an NRCS beaver control project. There is a program that pays a bounty of $12.50 for each beaver killed, until the total amount of $2,000 set aside for the project is used up. Both the trapper and landowner have to be licensed, and anyone who simply wants to blow up a beaver dam also must be licensed. Supervisors directed attorney Mueller to look into the program but said there is no money for it in the current budget year.
•    Gave Sheriff Edwards permission to amend his budget, allowing him to use a $7,400 insurance check to pay for part of the cost of a replacement vehicle to be purchased this fiscal year.
•    Approved the February claims docket, February board minutes and road department work schedule for March.
•    Approved paying the county medical examiner-investigator for one death investigation.
The next scheduled meeting for the board of supervisor will be next Monday, March 10, at 10 a.m.