County Appoints Building Task Force
Members of the Major Capital Projects Task Force begin work today on plans for three county building projects expected to cost several million dollars.
The Moore County Board of Commissioners appointed the 10 members during the Monday afternoon meeting. The task force will hold its organizational meeting at 3:30 this afternoon at the courthouse.
"We want them to go out and make sure we get the most bang for our buck," said Board Chairman Colin McKenzie as he made the motion to approve the appointees.
Task force members include two commissioners, Sheriff Lane Carter and other county officials, along with Howard Warren, a retired architect with no financial interest in the three buildings -- expansion and renovation of the jail, construction of a public safety complex and construction of a county administrative office building.
McKenzie said Warren would ensure "expertise from the field of architecture."
In addition to Commissioners Tim Lea and Larry Caddell, Carter and Warren, the task force is composed of County Manager Cary McSwain, Chief Deputy Neil Godfrey, Capt. Eddie Johnson, Public Works Director Dennis Brobst (or his designee), Public Safety Director Scot Brooks and Fire Marshal Carlton Cole. The vote on the 10 nominees was unanimous.
The buildings are to be erected on a 21-acre tract purchased for $1.5 million last year from Johnny Grimm. The land is adjacent to the existing jail and extends from Dowd Street to McNeill Street.
The commissioners also made official appointments to a new panel known as the County Government Efficiency Advisory Board, composed of volunteers with expertise in finance, local government and business management.
"They can make sure we have exhausted every means possible before we raise taxes," said Caddell, who, along with Commissioner Cindy Morgan, came up with the idea of forming the advisory board.
The commissioners debated a proposal by McKenzie that advisory board members be given free rein to delve into projects other than those assigned by the commissioners.
This idea fell through after County Attorney Misty Randall Leland reported on her findings from the Institute of Government. Leland said the institute indicated that assignment of "specific projects has a greater opportunity for success" than an open range of subjects.
McKenzie called the five advisory board members honorable, trusted men who would do nothing dishonest or illegal.
"They'll not ask for anything that's not right," McKenzie said.
Appointees are Jim Westbrook, Dick Westcott, Bob Tweed, Nick Picerno and Densel Williams, who will decide on a chairman among themselves.
Morgan read a resolution establishing the panel into the county record, and the board voted unanimously to adopt the resolution and to appoint the five members.
In other business Monday, the commissioners voted to establish a minimal tax bill policy whereby property tax bills will not be sent to anyone owing $5 or less. Their vote to adopt the required resolution was likewise unanimous.
Tax Administrator Wayne Vest recommended the policy because it costs more to bill property owners for these taxes than the amount collected.
He said the county has 8,400 accounts that fall into that category, and it costs an estimated $30,000 to collect the $22,700 owed in taxes.
Vest said the change would not affect property values and that owners would not receive bills.
"I'm glad we've finally taken up this issue," Lea said. "This is a great recommendation on the part of the tax department."
The subject was discussed in detail by the commissioners during a work session in March.
Caleb Miles, president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, presented the bureau's annual report to the commissioners Monday.
In 2006 visitors to Moore County spent $346.2 million here, as recorded by the U.S. Travel Data Center at N.C. State University. That was a record expenditure, covering everything from hotel stays, food and retail purchases to golf green fees. That's almost $1 million a day.
The statistics show that tourism represents more than 5,500 direct jobs and another 3,000 indirect jobs. Tourism in Moore County generated $29.3 million state and local taxes in 2006.
Miles reported that a survey of visitors shows 95 percent are "very satisfied" with their stay in Moore County and plan to return.
The most common requests are for better maps and road signs.
"People get lost," Miles said.
Miles also reviewed the bureau's plans for future marketing and other improvements in tourism opportunities.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story