No new property taxes are planned for the proposed Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget presented to the Chowan County Board of Commissioners at its meeting Monday.
County Manager Kevin Howard said the proposed general fund budget is $16,360,259 for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts on July 1 and ends on June 30, 2022.
Of the proposed budget, 38% or $6,298,831 will be for public safety. Education — Edenton-Chowan Schools, College of the Albemarle and Shepard-Pruden Memorial Library — accounts of 27%, or $4,358,197, of the general fund budget.
Government, which includes the Board of Elections, Register of Deeds and the Tax and Administrative offices, account for 18%, or $2,884,887, of the general fund expenditures.
Human Resources — Edenton-Chowan Recreation Department, Agriculture, Senior Center, Health and Mental Health — expenses total 15% of the general fund, or $2,512,761.
Other services account for 2%, or $305,583, of the general fund budget.
Budget workshops will be held May 19 and May 28 to fine-tune the budget. They are expected to last from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Howard said.
Also, the budget will be on the county’s website and adjusted as the workshops progress, said County Clerk Susanne Stallings.
In other matters, the board approved the animal control ordinance amendment. Commissioners tabled the amendment earlier in the year to seek clarification on the definition of animals.
Louann Fisher, who is the department head of animal control, noted that the other changes focus on how the county will deal with vicious dogs.
The amendment creates an Animal Control Board, which will hear appeals regarding dogs that are deemed dangerous or potentially dangerous. The county will seek volunteers to serve on the board in the near future.
Fisher and Tri-County Animal Shelter Director Katelyn Robertson made their annual department reports. Both noted that their work decreased in 2020 compared to previous years.
Barbara Yates, president of Animal Welfare of the Albemarle Region Every day, sent an email to the commissioners saying she is pleased with the respect and care shown by the staff at the animal shelter.
Robertson noted that in 2019, the shelter took in 879 cats. Out of those cats, 127 were set to other rescue organizations, 98 were adopted, 11 were returned to their owner, 51 died of natural causes and 578 were euthanized.
Robertson noted that the majority of the euthanized cats were feral or had an illness.
In 2020, the shelter took in 737 cats – 369, Chowan County; 60, Gates County; 307, Perquimans County; and 1, other. Of those cats, 76 were adopted, 128 were rescued, 18 were returned to owner, 26 died of natural causes and 479 were euthanized.
In 2019, the shelter took in 507 dogs. Of those dogs, 154 were adopted, 155 were taken by other rescue organizations, 81 were returned to owner, five died at the shelter of natural causes and 119 were euthanized.
In 2020, the shelter took in 432 dogs – 188, Chowan County; 55, Gates County; and 189, Perquimans County. Of those dogs, 105 were adopted, 161 were taken by other rescue organizations, 87 were returned to their owner, 1 died of natural causes and 69 were euthanized.
Fisher noted that Animal Control picked up a total of 347 animals in 2020 – 254 in the county, 93 in Edenton. The department responded to 300 complaints and a total of 22 bites.
She noted that the total animals picked up was about 12% lower than 2019, while complaints were down 29% from 2019.
Fisher noted that the weather and COVID pandemic played a large part in the totals decreasing.
In other matters, the board approved allowing the water department to restart service to a customer who owes more than $13,000. Once it is determined that a leak has been fixed, county will work out a payment arrangement in which the customer will pay about $200 a month for five years, including any current costs. So if the customer’s bill in June is $150, they will have to pay the $150, plus the $200, for a total of $350.
Director David Tawes said that his staff alerted the homeowner to a possible water leak, which was not repaired properly. During the pandemic, the county was not able to cut water off due to Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order that did not allow utilities to be cut off due to non-payment. So the bill just kept building until the department was able to restart its cut-off policy in August, Tawes said.
He said his department is looking at its policies to see how to better address such issues.
Also regarding the water department, commissioners approved an amendment to the water shortage use plan.
In other matters, Commissioners approved a proclamation declaring May as Older Americans Month.
They also approved a resolution recognizing retired major Malachi Parson Jr. The graduate of D.F. Walker High School served as the first Black Presidential Support Pilot for Marine Helicopter Squadron One from June 1981 until July 1983, responsible for flying the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.
The resolution “acknowledges with gratitude Chowan County native, Major Malachi Parson, Jr. for his historic service to our Nation.”
After unanimously approving the resolution, the commissioners held a round of applause for Parson.
In other matters, the board:
- Approved a 3-year lease agreement for Historic Hicks Field with the Edenton Steamers.
- Approved a bid from Edenton Construction to replace the roof at the soccer field concessions building. The standing seam metal roof will cost $11,300, plus $82 per sheet of rotted plywood. The Commissioners budgeted $15,000 for the project.
- Approved several budget amendments.