County Mayor’s Notes – September 17th, 2018
It has been two weeks since I began serving you as your Cumberland County Mayor. The weeks have been busy and filled with many highlights. In week one I held department meetings, had discussions with Horizon Initiative members, and had the privilege of administering the Oath of Office to Stace Karge as she was out of town for the larger ceremony. There was a 911 Memorial service at the County Fire Department at 7:46 on September 11. I have met with several state officials as well. One of the highlights was the announcement concerning the Stonepeak expansion that will create 160 new jobs over the next few years. Stonepeak has invested approximately $70 million to create a line with the capability of producing tile up to 120×60 inches in size.
Partnerships are important for economic development. That is why I supported entering in to the Community Economic and Community Development Cooperative Agreement. This agreement means that Cumberland County has a one stop location for handling both local and external business and industry inquires.
I take the success of Cumberland County personally. Over the last few years, your county government has worked to develop the tools needed to help attract new jobs. We have a study of the various industrial sites that shows what we need to do to improve and market the sites in the county. That is one of the reasons the county is partnering with the City and the State on the construction of the industrial pad at the Interchange Park. We are also working to strengthen and improve our workforce after a detailed analysis was conducted. A targeted industry analysis was developed that shows us which industries have a strong future and which we should target to bring to Cumberland County.
We have also been reaching out to current business and industry to see what they need and how we can help them to expand and grow. Mayor Carey did this before me and I intend to continue going forward. All of these elements mean that the expansion announcement was not an accident. We will continue to work to bring in more jobs so that more Cumberland County families can find work and remain right here on the Plateau.
Finally, I want to mention the recent shooting at the county bus garage on Genesis Road. I want to express my deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of the victims involved. The response of the Board of Education (BOE) employees, the BOE Administration on the scene, the emergency response teams and various law enforcement agencies, and Cumberland Medical Center was superb. We are lucky to have such dedicated workers in and around Cumberland County that step up in our time of need. You are appreciated.
The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners held the first meeting of the new term on Monday, September 17, 2018. The meeting was mostly organizational in nature.
Before the meeting began, Sheriff Casey Cox recognized three of his officers: Investigator Jason Elmore, Investigator John Wirey, and Deputy Dustin Hensley. The three were recognized for their efforts in combating the drug problem here in Cumberland County and in particular a case where 14 defendants were arrested and prosecuted in federal court resulting in the seizure of 4.6 pounds of methamphetamine, .5 oz of cocaine, six firearms and almost $5,000 in cash.
I was elected to be the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Rebecca Stone was elected as Chairman Pro tempore, and Nancy Hyder was elected Commission Parliamentarian.
Insurance in leu of a bond was approved for all county wide elected officials except for the Trustee. An official statutory bond is required for the Trustee. The vote to approve was unanimous.
The following resolutions were approved:
RESOLUTION 09-2018-1-To appoint Commissioners Nancy Hyder, Charles Seiber, Jack Davis and John Patterson as members on the Financial Management/Purchasing Committee for one (1) year terms to expire August 31, 2019
RESOLUTION 09-2018-2-To appoint Deborah Holbrook, Rick Williams, Josh Stone, Jill Davis and Valerie Cox as members to the Ethics Committee for one (1) year terms to expire September 30, 2019
RESOLUTION 09-2018-3-To appoint David Gibson and Michael Speich as members on the Wildlife and Fisheries’ Committee for four (4) year terms to expire August 31, 2022
RESOLUTION 09-2018-4-To reappoint Terry Lowe to the Residential Building Codes Board of Appeals for a four (4) year term to expire August 31, 2022
RESOLUTION 09-2018-5-To appoint Michael Speich and Wendell Wilson as members to the Cumberland County Railroad Authority for two (2) year terms to expire August 31, 2020
RESOLUTION 09-2018-6-To appoint Rebecca Stone, Larry Warner, Barbara Parsons, Jule Bryson. Judy Graham Swallows and Joyce Rorabaugh (ex-officio member) to the Public Records Commission for four (4) year terms to expire August 31, 2022
All resolutions were unanimously approved with those that were nominated abstaining from the vote.
Financial details are just beginning to come in for revenues. The report for sales tax for September won’t be available until the 20th, but the August collections came in at approximately $838,000 against a budgeted amount of $819,000. Ambulance collections are down due in large part to a licensing issue with our third-party billing company. The August and September totals are down approximately $214,000 from projections. This should clear up over the next month or two. The Hotel/Motel taxes are also lower than projected at only $94,000 for the first month. These numbers are a bit cyclical in nature and should improve.
Finally, County Attorney Boston has submitted his letter of resignation and requests his name be omitted for consideration of re-appointment. He has agreed to stay on through the month of September while I search for a new County Attorney to recommend to the Board of Commissioners.
Traditionally in September of even numbered years, the County Commission elects the County Attorney for the following two years. This appointment will more than likely need to be made during a special called meeting in September or possibly October.
Please join me in thanking Attorney Boston for his years of service to Cumberland County. He has served with multiple Mayors and Commissioners over the years and I know we are all appreciative of his service.
Thank you for allowing me the honor of serving as your County Mayor. It is a privilege.
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Cumberland County Mayor