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Commissioners honor ‘birthday girl’

JACKSON – Northampton County Clerk Kay Flythe blushed a bit when the realization that she had been chosen as “Employee of the Quarter” washed over her.

Flythe was presented with a plaque in recognition of her service to the county by the Board of the Northampton County Commissioners at their regular meeting on Monday afternoon.

Vice Chairman Commissioner Robert Carter (D-4th), who lead the meeting filling in for an absent Chairwoman Virginia Spruill (D-2nd), described Flythe’s work, including coordinating many events and meetings as well as working with other departments and the public.

“If she could not directly help the individual then she always knew someone that could,” said Vice Chairman Carter.

Ironically Flythe’s birthday was the same day.

Carter asked those in attendance to help him sing “Happy Birthday” to Flythe.

In other business, the commissioners approved the County Manager’s recommendations for budget formulation and planning guidance for the county’s general fund budget for the next year.

In the recommendation capital outlay for Northampton County Schools (NCS) would be cut by $67,118. The decrease is due to the county collecting fewer taxes in 2006 than 2005.

As of now, 37.3 cents of each tax ad valorem dollar goes towards education.

For the county government, Jenkins recommended that the mileage reimbursement rate stay at 43 cents, critical capital outlay only and a 2.5 percent cost of living increase.

Jenkins also put two considerations on the table to be discussed at the commissioners’ retreat planned for Friday, Feb. 23.

The considerations include approved position re-classifications and justified and approved new staff positions.

The commissioners approved a resolution project listing from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

Anthony Roper of NCDOT presented a secondary road report to the board for approval. The list includes projects on Jethro Harris Road, Phillip Hill Road from NC 35 to US 158, Cornwallis Road and Severn Road.

During the public hearing held for the secondary road program, Norman Glessner asked why NC 158 was priority over NC 186.

Glessner said he had driven NC 186 to the meeting and came to the conclusion that NC 158 gets less traffic than NC 186.

“We don’t have enough money to look at all the roads across the county,” Roper said.

He added that the conditions of the roads are taken into account as well.

The commissioners also approved a resolution for a merger of the Roanoke-Chowan Mental Health with the Board of Neuse Center, Board of Pitt County Mental Health Center, Pitt County Mental Health Center and the Board of Beaufort County Commissioners who have considered joining the regional effort.

This merger would create a regional local management entity for mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse service. The regional effort would cover nine counties including Bertie, Gates, Hertford, Northampton, Craven, Jones, Pamlico, Pitt and Beaufort.

Roanoke-Chowan Mental Health Director Joy Futrell presented the resolution for the merger.

Futrell said under the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ care cost model local mental health entities must have a base population of 200,000 and/or six counties in order to achieve local cost efficiencies.

Commissioner Fannie Greene (D-5th) asked if having to serve nine counties verses four counties would have any effect on providers.

“If anything it would help,” said Futrell.

A bid from Johnson Personnel Consulting, Inc. for a county employee pay study was approved.

In 2002, a county pay study was approved to be conducted once every five years.

The study will focus on comparable salaries with comparisons made to surrounding counties, salaries in the state’s eastern region as well as the state and the private sector.

In the Jan. 3 meeting, Jenkins estimated the cost of the pay study would be $12,000 to $15,000, which would have had to come from the fund balance.

But since the bid from Johnson Personnel Consulting, Inc is priced at $5,300, Jenkins said it would not need to come from the fund balance.

The Northampton County Chamber of Commerce provided a budget for the revival of farm festival.

Dick Collier of the chamber of commerce explained to the commissioners that the chamber is currently seeking sponsors to finance the festival so revenue amounts were not available at the time.

“I think that it’s something good for the county,” said Collier. “We’re expecting three big sponsors.”

Commissioner Carter said that since the commissioners did not have a full board at the time they could not make a monetary decision.

Carter asked Collier if the chamber committee could provide monthly reports to the commissioners so they can see what revenue is pending.

Two public hearings are set for the next commissioners meeting on March 5. One hearing will cover a request to change a road name and is set at 11 a.m. Another is set for the same day at 10:30 a.m. for flood damage prevention ordinance.