Surry County Commissioners ok $30,000 tax refund

By Terri Flagg -

DOBSON — One local taxpayer will receive a hefty refund from the county due to an incorrect assessment of his home.

The Surry County Board of Commissioners approved the $28,665.98 refund Monday night.

The property at 410 Crossingham Road is owned by H. Lindsay Holcomb Jr., trustee for The H. Lindsay Holcomb Trust.

According to correspondence to the board from County Tax Administrator Michael Hartgrove, the dwelling on the property had been “erroneously assessed” using a code that has been “historically reserved for extremely large and immaculate dwellings,” which was also described in the memo as “estate-type housing.”

The code effectively doubled the replacement cost per new square foot, Hartgrove stated.

Holcomb requested a refund when the error was discovered and corrected.

The Surry County Board of Equalization and Review (BOER) reviewed the matter in November, ruling that the dwelling had been over-assessed and that its adjusted value was proper.

The BOER also ordered the incorrectly applied code deactivated and to be used only with administrative approval.

The matter had appeared in the consent agenda before the board Monday but was taken off prior to the meeting because the amount of the refund had been miscalculated.

Hartgrove submitted a memo to the board with the correct amount, and the refund was approved as part of the general agenda.

A number of items were approved Monday under the consent agenda.

Jail, courthouse assessments

The board approved a request to contract with two firms for facility assessments on the jail and sheriff’s office and the Historic Courthouse.

For a $38,500 fee, Moseley Architects will perform a “phase one” assessment of the jail and sheriff’s office to include: “analyzing data and projecting growth trends, conducting space and programming needs, developing conceptual design options, developing estimated construction and capital budgets for each option, and preparing a final report,” said Don Mitchell, facilities manager, in a memo.

Tony Chilton, architect at Brite Engineering Consultants, Inc., will investigate the historic courthouse to determine if converting the second floor to a meeting room for the Board of Commissioners and offices for the county administration will be a viable project.

That assessment will “not exceed” $10,000.

Mitchell noted that “sufficient funds have been set aside” to cover the total cost of both services.

Courthouse repairs

A change order for work on the Historic Courthouse was approved to repair a crack in the granite landing along the north building line and two granite steps.

The need for the repair was identified during recent demolition of the north entrance, according to correspondence from Don Mitchell, facilities director.

The change order request submitted by David Hill Builders, Inc., included a quote of $561.12.

Yes to food trucks

The board approved a motion to allow mobile food units to come on site of county property during employee lunch hours, dependent on the approval of the county manager.

A solicitation ordinance adopted by the board in 1996 prohibited the sale of goods or services by profit corporations or individuals on county-owned property, but employees had requested that food trucks be allowed.

In addition to review by the county manager, the units would be permitted by environmental health.

State grants

A budget amendment shifting the revenue source for the middle school resource officer was approved. The amendment reduced the county’s allocation of funds from $208,243 to $37,043 and increased the grant portion from $0 to $171,200.

The budget did not initially include the state grant money because “there was an expectation that it might not be there,” County Manager Chris Knopf said. “As it turned out, it was.”

Minority business

Other county business included a resolution establishing a goal of 10 percent for participation by minority businesses in government projects costing $300,000 or more.

The resolution, which is retroactive to January 2002, was changed in order to be consistent with the percentage goal required by state statute.

A previous resolution adopted by the board in 2004 (which was also retroactive to 2002) set the goal at 5 percent.

“This was just an effort to stay consistent,” Knopf said. “The projects we have had in the past have met that 10 percent threshold.”

Other matters approved via the consent agenda included:

• A new copier for the Surry County Health & Nutrition Center, to be purchased with existing funds from their current budget. The total cost for a replacement totals $22,000, which includes a 60-month service contract, installation, delivery and staff training. The cost reflects a discounted government rate.

• A budget amendment which allocates from the general fund contingency to cover the $3,721 septic work on Toast Road and $9,900 to cover the cost of integrating PayGOV software to process transactions.

• The “assistant emergency medical services director” position was reclassified. Effective Jan. 1, 2017, the position “assistant emergency medical services director of training and administration,” will be added at a classification grade one spot lower than the assistant EMS director position, which will be eliminated.

By Terri Flagg

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

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