2018-01-11 / Front Page

BOC discusses campground closings; examines SDS agreement with city

The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners held a work ses­sion last week, where no vote was taken, to discuss a number of perti­nent items, some of which will be taken to a vote at its next meeting, scheduled for Thursday (tonight), January 11, beginning at 6 p.m. at the courthouse.

Discussion was given to the pos­sibility of closing three of Lincoln County’s campgrounds, including Clay Hill, Broad River, and Hester’s Ferry, ultimately due to a lack of monetary intake.

While this is something the com­mission tentatively expects in the coming months, there is still hope that an alternative will be found in order to keep the campgrounds open.

The three campgrounds have been left open throughout the summer and winter months, however Chairman Walker Norman reported that there were very few campers during this elongated time.

The Chairman elaborated, ex­plaining that these three areas are losing the county money at this point in time, and that it is also damaging intake from the Cherokee Recre­ation Area as well.

“We have an ongoing cost of water samples, and telephone and light bills, and all that sort of thing, but the reality of it is that we’re los­ing all of the money that Cherokee makes in trying to keep these three open,” Norman said.

If the closures occur, the camp­grounds would be returned to the Corps of Engineers, with the as­sumption that the entity would shut them down.

Alternatively, Norman highlighted that the Cherokee area does generate money, and that another plan of ac­tion could be taken in future.

“Eddie Fletcher Park is the turn around. The park was closed last year, but we want to try and take this money that we’re generating and spend it back into Cherokee and Eddie Fletcher Park,” Norman said. “Eddie Fletcher Park is where most Lincoln Countians go anyway. The biggest complaint we have there is that they don’t have restroom facili­ties, they have outhouses.”

Looking well into the future, Nor­man explained that there could be the possibility of building a restroom facility, along with making other improvements to both recreational areas, which would, of course, have to be met with board approval.

In other business, members of the board discussed certain issues pertaining to an intergovernmental agreement between the Lincoln County and the City of Lincolnton.

County officials expressed that they believe there have been mis­interpretations of the joint Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) on the part of the city, and are now seeking a resolution to issue at hand.

According to Public Works Direc­tor Roby Seymour, the SDS, brought about by House Bill 489 in 1997, requires municipalities and cities to come up with a plan to provide overlapping services in areas where both city and county provide the same service – this encompasses water, sewer, trash pickup, housing, economic development, and more.

The current SDS was first agreed upon by both entities in 1999, and filed again with the Department of Community Affairs in 2007. It must be renewed every ten years, accord­ing to Seymour, explaining that terms to avoid overlapping services are discussed alongside the latest renewal. The next renewal will take place in February of this year.

“What this deals with is competi­tion and dispute with existing cus­tomers, where county and city have parallel lines on the same street,” Seymour added.

The SDS also includes maps of boundary lines for service deliv­ery areas, and where water and sewer lines run for both the city and county.

In an effort to address the issues pertaining to the current SDS, Chair­man Norman has proposed meeting with Mayor Henry Brown, city at­torney Barry Fleming, and county attorney Ben Jackson to resolve the conflict.

Should an agreement not be met, the county is prepared to seek out the help of an official mediator in order to come to a conclusion of the allegations.

Furthermore, the commission discussed issues regarding the wa­ter agreement between the city and county as well.

Additionally, Norman brought at­tention to the courthouse roof, which is in need of repair or replacement.

“The courthouse roof is not leak­ing today – that’s the good news – but remember that it’s 25- or 26- years-old, so it’s going to be due again soon. We’ve patched it, but sooner or later those rubber patches are going to go,” he said.

While there are other structural and interior problems in the build­ing, Norman believes that before any of those repairs are made the roof should be repaired first, so that any new work that’s completed isn’t wasted should more leaks spout through the roof in future.

The cost is estimated to range around $150,000.

Members also discussed an update to a drug and alcohol policy, along with the appointment of a new Senior Center and Transit Director, both of which should be taken to a vote at tonight’s meeting.

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