Greene County approves budget

Greene County Commissioners signed a resolution acknowledging June as Elder Abuse Awareness Month. Shown are Preson Craddock, adult services supervisor, Bennie Heath, Greene County Board of Commissioners chairman, and Amanda Smith, Greene Department of Social Services director.

SNOW HILL — Greene County residents can expect higher fees for sewer and solid waste services following the approval of the 2021-22 fiscal year budget at the June 7 Board of Commissioners meeting.

The budget also includes a 3% cost-of-living increase for Greene County employees.

The rate changes include a 5% increase for sewer services. In-county residents will pay $6 more per household in solid waste fees and non-county residents will pay $3 more.

The higher solid waste fee is needed to meet increased demands and purchase an additional compactor at the Brown Town Convenience site, or Site 1, officials said.

The budget includes a $7,500 appropriation for three fire departments — $2,500 each — who qualify for the county’s first-responder program. The program is a performance incentive for fire departments that respond to emergency and assistance calls.

Currently, Shine Fire & EMS is the only department participating in the program. Money was allocated for two more departments to join, said Greene County Manager Kyle DeHaven.

If more departments decide to participate, more funds could be allotted at a later time, he said.

The budget removes an EMS volunteer incentive due to a low response rate. Fewer than 10 percent of dispatch calls handled by EMS volunteers.

A new building for the public works department is also in the budget. Currently, the public water building houses the landfill and water and sewer departments. The building is running out of space for both departments.

Three additional police vehicles for the Greene County Sheriff’s Office are budgeted, as well as a Ford F150 to be used for the county’s paramedic-level service.

The budget was passed with all in favor. Commissioner Derek Burress requested postponing the vote until commissioners could speak with members of the county’s fire departments, who had expressed concerns about funding.

Chairman Bennie Heath said commissioners needed to vote on the budget, adding changes can be made after it is passed, if needed.

“It’s not cast in concrete,” Heath said. “It’s a working document. If anything arises we always address those issues.”

In other action, the board:

  • Recognized June as Elder Abuse Awareness Month.
  • Discussed an incentive for employees to participate in a blood drive being held on June 30. Organizers suggested incentives as a way to boost participation.

Dehave said employees are able to give blood without having to take time off from work. Commissioners felt this was enough of an incentive for employees.

  • Commissioner Susan Blizzard urged residents to take a community health assessment needs survey. The survey can be found on the Greene County government website and will be used to identify needs and services countywide.
  • Blizzard also expressed concerns over a decision to appoint Michael Rhodes to the Greene County Board of Health despite the recommendation from the board to appoint someone else.

“I felt the Health Board recommendation for reappointment was not honored and ignored. The motion placed Mr. Rhodes, who is an excellent candidate ,in an uncomfortable position and showed lack of respect for decisions passed by the Board of Health,” Blizzard said.

“Decisions of Greene County commissioners has been consistent at being inconsistent. Changing policies to fit the agenda, silencing citizens, should not be tolerated by anyone we as commissioners must be respectful to all citizens of Greene County and not make decision on a personal agenda.”

Rhodes was selected because of his experience in the health care arena, Heath said.

“The candidate we selected had 36 years in the health department arena. I though he was the best qualified candidate,” Heath said.

Contact Donna Marie Williams at dwilliams@ncweeklies.com.