Village of Penland

Proposed 2007-2008 Budget

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Mitchell County Commissioners
Minutes, Special Session
June 13, 2007


The Mitchell County Board of Commissioners met in special session on June 13, 2007 at 8:00 a.m. in the Commissioner’s Conference Room, Administration Building, Bakersville, NC. Those present for the meeting were Phil Byrd, Chairman; Lisa Sparks, Vice-Chairman; Mike Hensley, Member; Patrick Phillips, Member; Phil Castro, Interim County Manager and Kathy Young, Clerk to the Board. Commissioner Jim Saylor was absent from the meeting. Also present were Hal Harrison, County Attorney; Mavis Parsley, Finance Officer; and Donny Wisor, Reporter with the Mitchell News-Journal.

  1. CALL TO ORDER – Chairman Byrd called the meeting to order at 8:00 a.m.

  2. INVOCATION – Commissioner Hensley gave the invocation.

  3. VILLAGE OF PENLAND – County Attorney Harrison provided each member of the law suit documents filed in the State of North Carolina ex rel. Roy Cooper, Attorney General v Peeless Real Estate Services, Inc. Village of Penland, LLC, MFSL Landholdings, LLC, Communities of Penland, LLC, COP Land Holdings, LLC, PG Capital Holdings, LLC, West Side Development, LLC, Anthony Porter, Frank Amelung, Richard Amelung, j. Kevin Foster, Neil O’Rourke, Michael Yeomans, and A. Greg Anderson, Wake County Superior Court; File No. 07 CVS 9906. He informed the Board that Chairman Byrd had requested him to prepare a statement for the public and news media regarding this lawsuit.

    Chairman Byrd read the following statement to the Board:

    Throughout the existence of the Communities of Penland project, the Mitchell County Board of Commissioners has had limited contact and involvement with the developers of that property. In 2005, the developers filed an application with the County Commissioner for the creation of the sanitary district. A public hearing on that application was scheduled on 10 October 2005. At that time, it was determined that the application was incomplete, and did not contain all the appropriate documentation required for the County Commission to take further action. Thereafter, the developer withdrew that application, and the same never resubmitted. The communities of Penland were delinquent on payment of their 2006 ad valorem taxes. Taxes for previous years had been regularly made. When payment was not made in the April of 2007, the Mitchell County Tax Collector advertised all of the properties in this development as required by statute. Shortly thereafter, the Mitchell County Tax Collector was able to locate a bank account in the name of the Peerless Real Estate Services, Inc. It was determined that bank account had sufficient monies was which to satisfy the delinquent tax liens owing to Mitchell County for the year 2006. The tax collector utilizing the appropriate provision of G.S. 105 garnished that account, and was able to obtain monies for payment of the 2006 taxes. All other contact between Mitchell County and the developer was through the office of the Mitchell County Registers of Deeds where hundreds of land transfers were filed by the developer to investors and purchasers. The Mitchell County Board of Commissioners have no other information relevant to the above-captioned action, or any of the allegations contained therein.

    Commissioner Sparks moved to adopt the statement prepared by County Attorney Harrison. Commissioner Hensley seconded the statement and it carried unanimously.


    Don Baucom said he had made statements in relationship to the Communities of Penland and what it was going to do to the community. He stated that Mitchell County was unprepared for unscrupulous land development that might be going on. The Board needed to step forward and make some sort of regulation, such as a Subdivision Ordinance to prohibit this from happening again. He said they had raped Mitchell County.

    Mignon Durham stated she had been doing some research and documentation and it took public citizens energy and initiative to collect this kind of data, just to say we didn’t help them along the way. Is pretty insulting to the citizens of this county. It is clear from Bear Ridge on that we have people in the community who had no concern for the future of this county. To have these signs and to turn a blind eye to it. Is not the way we can do business anymore. Ms. Durham has been in contact with Harriett Worley from the North Carolina Department of Justice. Her contact number is 919-716-6014. She stated it was now time for us to wake up and accept our responsibility if we care about Mitchell County.

    Scott Kline stated that our elected officials have done nothing except turn their heads on this development. Nothing was ever done by the County to stop them. Now is the time. It is awake up call. We need to pass an ordinance. We need to look at the systems in the county and correct all that is wrong.

    Jan Godwin stated she was a local realtor licensed by the State of North Carolina and we abide by a code of ethics. This can be a big reflection on the realtors business and the future of land sales in Mitchell County. She stated she had asked the newspaper to be very kind to the real estate community, this not the normal way of doing business in Mitchell County. Mitchell County is the last frontier of the North Carolina Mountains. She encouraged the Commissioners to look at adopting a subdivision ordinance.

    Marvin Nunley stated he believes Mitchell County needs a subdivision ordinance. He said that he stated 3 years ago that Penland was a scam. Mitchell County has set itself up for a lawsuit because nothing was done to stop it. The Commissioners should protect the citizens and the county.

    David Woody stated that this was a terrific blow to Mitchell County. I remember setting in the Commissioners’ meeting when the gentlemen came from the Village of Penland and he stated wanted to withdraw the letter for the Sanitary District at this time and I want to represent it to a more favorable board. Why would the board coming in later we make a decision to give them a Sanitary District? Why do they think things are going to be better if you change people on the board? People have not gotten paid because of the Village of Penland. People are suffering because of no payment. The people who are involved, I would like to see them punished to the fullest extent of the law. The citizens of Mitchell County are suffering from this and they will for many years. The Board needs to pass some sort resolution saying we are not going to be had again.

    Chairman Byrd stated there was $18,000 budgeted in next years budget for a land planning study.

  5. Proposed Budget for FY 2007-2008 – Interim County Manager Castro discussed the following changes made to the budget summary for 2007-2008 (a copy of the budget summary is hereby attached and becomes a part of the minutes).

    Increased the allowance for uncollected taxes (additional $240, 000 for the Village of Penland)

    Decreased the Mitchell-Yancey Partnership for Children’s Grant to $16,390

    Included the cost for the closure of a C & D Cell at the landfill ($100,000)

    The above changes increased the fund balance appropriation from $1,356,946 to $1,696,946 for the upcoming budget year.

    Finance Officer Parsley said that she still has one issue she needs resolved before next week. This Board approved the schools to get $50,000 moved from capital outlay to operational and they want it in next years budget. But because of a letter that Hal Harrison wrote advising us that he did not think we could do that. On June 1st, she had to go ahead and pay them the $1,050,000 because it was in our budget and was appropriated and she did not have a clear legal leg to stand on. The auditors were on vacation, so in order to be in compliance with the budget she went ahead and paid them the money. She has spoken with the auditors and Danny Young has spoken to his legal counsel. The schools counsel is to get in touch with County Attorney Hise.

    Clerk to the Board Young stated that County Attorney Harrison had received a letter regarding this issue. She stated County Attorney Harrison had misunderstood what had taken place. Clerk to the Board Young provided County Attorney Harrison with copies of the minutes for verification. She said he agreed that to the process.

    Finance Officer Parsley stated she would need to do a budget amendment to move the $50,000 from capital expense to a special operating account.

  6. ADJOURNMENT – Commissioner Hensley moved to adjourn the meeting. Commissioner Sparks seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

    The meeting adjourned at 9:11 a.m.


Phil Byrd, Chairman

Lisa Sparks, Vice-Chairman

Mike Hensley, Member

Patrick Phillips, Member

Jim Saylor, Member


Kathy Young, Clerk to the Board