Board of Commissioners approves budget amendment for HCS

Commissioners approve funding match for Tia Heart grant

RAEFORD — The Hoke County Board of Commissioners met Monday, where they approved a budget amendment to the Hoke County Schools Capital Outlay Budget and approved a funding match for a grant with Tia Hart Community Recovery Program.

The board approved the reappointment of Tax Collector Daphne Dudley and Deputy Tax Collector Susan Quick to new terms.

Along with that, the board also approved the 2012 Insolvent Tax Bill write-offs.

“These are our 11-year bills,” Dudley said. “For real estate, we’ll be writing off $8,058.45, for personal property $5,329.67, and for motor vehicles $181,156.38 for a total of $194,544.50. The law says you have to carry ten years of bills, so this is the 11th year that we actually have them. Once we get to that 10th year, we can write them off. I kind of try to wait to see if we can collect some of that money, but now it’s about time to get rid of those.”

According to Dudley, there are two more years of motor vehicle bills before they will be with the new system. She also stated that when that happens, the number of motor vehicle bills will go down a lot which will allow the department to concentrate more on real estate and personal property.

The board also approved a request from Hoke County Schools for a budget amendment to the Capital Outlay Budget.

“In our projects that we submitted, one of the projects that we hadn’t originally planned for was the sewer extension,” said HCS Finance Officer Wannaa Chavis. “So we set aside $250,000 for the sewer system at Rockfish. Currently, with everything being completed, except a few projects, we have a remaining balance of about $61,053.”

“The school system received an athletic grant, and when we filled out for it, we looked at some athletic needs, and of those projects, we did bleachers at West Hope Middle, and we did an irrigation system for the baseball field, a wrestling mat for East Hope Middle and windscreen for the High School. When we looked at the bleachers at West Hope Middle, at the time, we were looking at those bleachers and didn’t do East because it was our understanding that we would get another funding source for it. During that time, it has fallen through, so we don’t have the funding to do East Hope Middle. With us having the $61,053 left in capital, we would like to do the bleachers at East Hope Middle also, and we have received quotes, and the lower one was for $59,000.”

The board approved a funding match of $20,000 for a three-year period with Tia Hart Community Recovery Program for a grant from Vital Strategies to leverage opioid settlement dollars to support harm reduction programming in Hoke County.

“Hoke County, right now, is in an overdose epidemic historically driven by prescription opioids and, more recently, driven by heroin, fentanyl, and fentanyl analogs,” said Director Shirley Hart. “Since 2010, the number of all intents poisoning deaths in NC has increased by more than 106%, from 1,201 to 2,479 in 2019. Additionally, in 2019, there were over 12,000 hospitalizations and over 38,000 Emergency Department visits related to medication and drug poisoning.”

Finally, the commissioners were given an update by the Sandhills Prescribed Burn Association on Hoke Community Forest Restoration Project, Phase II.

“Phase I of the Hoke Community Forest was the thinning to get things started,” said SPBA Coordinator Jesse Wimberley. “Phase II now is where we start spending some money, and that involves planting some trees. I’m not asking for a dime from you guys. We’ve got all that covered. All we want is your blessing.”

The SPBA will also host a community tree-planting event on December 3, according to Wimberley.

The Hoke County Board of Commissioners will next meet November 7.