County moving finances to BB&T

By Jeff Linville -

DOBSON — Surry County will be shifting its finances to BB&T in the near future after a vote this week.

A month ago Sarah Bowen, county finance officer, told the county Board of Commissioners that the government center had to act because Capital Bank was closing its only branch in Dobson and the branch next to the EMS headquarters in Mount Airy.

Without those two branches for deposits and check cashing, county employees and those receiving checks from the county would be inconvenienced, Bowen explained.

If the Dobson county employees were to try to use a different Capital Bank branch, it would require a half-hour drive to Elkin or to downtown Mount Airy, she said. That’s an hour drive round-trip.

Having an armored truck pick up deposits would cost the county between $6,000 to $26,000 a year, depending on the distance the truck would be traveling and other factors, she told the board.

Bowen said five or six different people are involved with making deposits, such as someone from the sheriff’s office, EMS, tax department, finance office.

Commissioner Larry Johnson said that his church has two people ride together to make deposits. Should the county have two people together, he wondered.

If this is a concern about theft, Bowen said, the person who prepares the deposit slip is not the same as the person who makes the delivery. And the driver doesn’t have a key to the locked bag. If he is talking about strictly from a safety standpoint, Bowen said she could see his point.

In looking for a replacement Bowen said she and assistant finance officer Benjamin Pratt reached out to seven local banks. Five sent proposals, two declined and Capital Bank sent over its own list of what services it has been offering.

Of the six that responded, two have a location inside Dobson (Wells Fargo and First Citizens), one is on the outskirts at I-77 (BB&T) and two don’t have a branch in the town at all (Capital, PNC and First Community).

Bowen said BB&T offered the best interest rate of all six at 1.05 percent. Of the three with Dobson branches, BB&T also had the lowest proposed monthly fee at $2,403.44 to Wells Fargo’s $3,273.50 and First Citizens’ $5,091.61.

Commissioner Van Tucker said that BB&T does have a branch in each municipality, so it is as convenient as any bank in the county. Then he made a motion to approve the bank — contingent on the assistant county manager getting some questions straightened out on how the changeover might impact payroll.

By Jeff Linville

Reach Jeff at 415-4692.

Reach Jeff at 415-4692.