December 8, 2021 – Alexander County Commissioners were pleased to hear a favorable audit report at their December 6 meeting from Claire Chase of Martin Starnes & Associates CPA. Chase presented the 2020-2021 audited financial statements and issued an “unmodified opinion” which means that the firm CPA did not find any material misstatement that caused it to believe that the financial statements would be misleading for the reader. .
She said general fund revenues consisted mainly of property taxes at 49 percent, local option sales taxes at 27 percent and restricted intergovernmental grants (federal and state grants) at 12 percent. Property tax revenues increased by $ 907,108 (4.3 percent). The sales tax on local options increased by $ 1,712,790 (16.4%). Intergovernmental affected revenues increased by $ 863,805 (19%).
In terms of General Fund expenditure, the four main areas of expenditure are: public security (27%), social services (24%), education (17%) and public administration (16%). Public safety spending increased by $ 714,774 (6.7%). Spending on social services increased by $ 346,280 (3.6 percent). Spending on education increased by $ 343,363 (5 percent). General government spending increased by $ 252,543 (4%).
The general fund debt balance as at June 30, 2021 was $ 3,396,000 (public security) which will be repaid in 2026.
The available funds balance increased by $ 6,017,075, bringing the percentage of the county funds balance to 46.16% (33.34% in 2020) of the total expenses and transfers from the General Fund, for a total balance of funds available of $ 19,195,572 ($ 13,178,497 in 2020). It was noted that the county fund balance is favorable compared to counties in the population group of 25,000 to 50,000.
The Solid Waste Fund posted budget net income of $ 120,013. The Bethlehem Water Fund posted a net budgetary income of $ 458,424, while the remainder of the county’s water and sewer funds suffered a net budgetary loss of $ 7,328 due to recent plans to expand the water and sewerage. The county’s water and sewer fund has an unpaid debt of $ 11,572,597, which will be paid off in 2035.
Two significant weaknesses in internal controls have been identified in the Medicaid program. The Department of Social Services provided corrective action plans to the Local Government Commission.
President Larry Yoder commended the staff of the Alexander County Finance Department for their professionalism, diligence and hard work.
âI am extremely satisfied with the audit and I am proud of our staff and commissioners who have been prudent and conservative to keep the county in good financial health. Our fund balances continue to grow year on year, âsaid Yoder. âI especially want to thank our finance staff who do an excellent job all year round, but especially during the annual audit process.
â¢ The Commissioners elected Ronnie Reese Chairman of the Board of Directors and Marty Pennell Vice-Chairman, effective January 1, 2022.
â¢ In the County Director’s report, Mr. French said he received a letter from Senator Dean Proctor indicating that several projects in Alexander County will receive state funding. It appears that Alexander County will receive nearly $ 6 million to pay for a new water tank, sewer extensions, water extensions, health service funding, as well as court improvements. tennis and track at Alexander Central High School. The Commissioners expressed their appreciation to Senator Proctor for his efforts on behalf of Alexander County.
He noted that talks will begin soon for a DSS director and a county prosecutor. Improvements to the Wittenburg access area are underway, with the launch area closed until February 2022.
â¢ The commissioners approved a resolution authorizing the sale of approximately 164 acres of land to Carolina Land and Lake Resource Conservation and Development for the sum of $ 1.00. The property is located near Paynes Dairy Road, near the County Landfill. The nonprofit plans to build and operate a wood pellet manufacturing plant as part of its bioenergy initiative to develop alternatives to fossil fuels. Alexander County is a member organization of Carolina Land and Lakes.
â¢ The Commissioners denied a rezoning application for a 0.92 acre parcel located at 95 Shook Valley Court. The property and all surrounding plots are zoned RA-20, but the owner of the property has requested that it be rezoned to HC (Highway-Commercial) for the purpose of operating a swimming pool business.
â¢ Cody Bowers, Code Enforcement Officer, presented information at a public nuisance hearing regarding a property located at 465 Jimmy Duncan Lane. Bowers said he received the first junk vehicle complaint in April 2021 and a second complaint in July about unlabeled and abandoned vehicles in the backyard. Notices were sent to the landowner on July 9 and August 10, and a notice of public hearing was sent on November 16. David Elder, the landowner, was present at the meeting. He said he ran an auto repair shop and drove customers’ vehicles to his home until they paid for the repairs. He said there were three vehicles on his property that were not driving. After discussion, the Commissioners decided to continue the item until their January meeting so that more information could be gathered.
â¢ Bowers also presented information at a public nuisance hearing regarding a property located at 260 7th Street SW. Bowers said he received a complaint in August about junk vehicle, garbage, etc. on the property. Notices were sent to the owner of the property on August 2 and September 7. He said the inspection service recommends a reduction. Commissioners issued an abatement order to begin after 20 days to give owners time to clean up the property.
â¢ During the public comment period, Taylorsville Mayor George Holleman expressed his gratitude to the Commissioners and County Director Rick French for the construction of the new Alexander County Courthouse Park. âWhat you have done will make a difference to many people for years to come. I can’t say enough about how much this means to downtown Taylorsville, âHolleman said. Councilor Jack Simms also thanked the Alexander County Park and Service Center and the associated barn quilt wall on the east side of the building.
â¢ The Commissioners approved a proclamation declaring December 1-31, 2021 âChristmas in Bethlehemâ.
â¢ The Commissioners approved the meeting schedule for 2022. The board will meet on the following dates: January 10, February 7, March 7, April 4, April 18, May 2, May 16, June 6, June 20, July 18, August 1, September 12, October 3, November 7, and December 5.
â¢ Commissioners approved the 2022 vacation schedule. County holidays include: New Years Day – December 31, 2021, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday – January 17, Good Friday – April 15 , Remembrance Day – May 30, Independence Day – July 4, Labor Day – September 5, Veterans Day – November 11, Thanksgiving – November 24-25 and Christmas – November 23, 26 and December 27.
â¢ County Director Rick French introduced 10 amendments to the Budget Orders, which were unanimously approved.
The Alexander County Council of Commissioners typically meets on the first Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in Room 103 of the CVCC Alexander Center for Education. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday January 10 at 6:00 p.m. Regular meetings are recorded and can be viewed on the county government channel at Spectrum 192 or the county YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/alexandercountync. Meeting agendas, minutes, videos and more are available on the county website at www.alexandercountync.gov/commissioners.